Chargers 2012 Draft: Be The GM, Part III

If you are a draft geek like me, you have probably read a million mock drafts that have the Chargers drafting defense in the first round, with most putting their money on outside linebacker as the Charger's position of choice. It wouldn't be a stretch to see AJ Smith go in a different direction based on surprises before the 18th pick, and based on his own predilection for surprises himself, but I think outside linebacker is the most obvious choice for the Chargers in the first round.

Assuming that the Chargers go OLB in the first round (selecting a player like Courtney Upshaw or, more likely, Whitney Mercilus), the eyes of the Chargers faithful will turn to the 2nd round and pick number 49 overall.

With a shiny new OLB to rotate in on passing downs, there are still some obvious needs on the roster, with defense remaining the top priority in my opinion. But having needs on defense doesn't mean the best player available will fit those needs. Projecting the best player available at #49 first depends on figuring out who was selected in the preceding 48 picks.

To give us some perspective leading up to the Chargers' second round selection, we turn again to and draft analyst Charlie Campbell. Campbell has the Chargers selecting Mercilus in the first round, a common selection among experts who recognize the Bolts' need at outside linebacker and the probable absence of other talented pass rushers like Courtney Upshaw and Quinton Coples when pick #18 rolls around. It's also worth noting that Campbell has S Mark Barron available for the Chargers in the first round, eventually being selected three picks later by the Bengals.

In Campbell's draft scenario, with Barron off the board in the first round, the Chargers still have a huge hole at strong safety going into the second round and you have to assume AJ is praying one Harrison Smith drops to him at #49. And according to Campbell, the Chargers may very well be out of luck as he has Smith going to the Patriots at #48. This may very well be the worst case scenario for the Chargers in the 2nd round unless you aren't sold on Smith as the 2nd coming of Rodney Harrison.

But whether you love him or hate him, the 2nd-ranked safety in the draft has already been selected in this scenario, as were other second round possibilities like DE/OLB's Andre Branch and Zach Brown, TE Coby Fleener, and T Mike Adams.

Who does that leave for the Chargers? Campbell has the Chargers selecting G Kevin Zeitler, and it would be hard to complain about a run blocking stud like Zeitler joining your team.

Other possibilities include DE/DT Jerel Worthy (who might fit better as a defensive end in the 3-4 but could grow into the NT position), TE Dwayne Allen, or T Zebrie Sanders. And don't be surprised if AJ shocks the world and grabs another RB to share carries with Ryan Mathews; maybe someone like Lamar Miller or David Wilson.

My pick based on this scenario might be CB Josh Robinson. You can't have enough good cornerbacks, and Robinson has the speed to become a disruptive force in the secondary. It would be hard to pass up a talent like Zeitler, but my focus in this draft is on improving the defense. Robinson may be the guy to help strengthen the Bolts group of defensive backs.

That's my pick; what's yours? Check out Charlie Campbell's mock draft at, see which players are available for the Chargers in the second round, and then Be The GM for the Chargers second round pick in the comments section below.

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April 6, 2012

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Orca47 said... Apr 6, 2012, 4:21:00 PM

I think / know..Bolts need both OLB and SS...must have both..AJ could consider trading back several picks for moving up in the 2nd round..assuring they get their target SS ..Harrison Smith...moving back say to 22nd in the 1st..prob. still get Mercilus...may have to give up a lower round pick

Jeff Williams said... Apr 6, 2012, 10:13:00 PM

I think that's a good option, but it doesn't have a very AJ ring to it.

Anthony M. Blake said... Apr 7, 2012, 10:13:00 AM

 Agreed. I actually like the idea of Mercilus at 18 and then Zeitler at 49 if Smith is in fact off the board. I personally have Zeitler ranked higher than Smith on my board and the Bolts have glaring needs at both positions. Either player along with a 1st round pass rusher would be a big win.

Triplook said... Apr 7, 2012, 10:32:00 AM

mercilus has a one year wonder feel to him if fletcher cox is available we should grab him

Triplook said... Apr 8, 2012, 5:35:00 PM

anybody know much about devon still or jerel worthy or even hightower in the first round???

iknowthesethings said... Apr 8, 2012, 9:05:00 PM

we dont need a DT, we need a SS. AJ will trade up in teh second round like he did for weddle

IronMountain said... Apr 9, 2012, 1:24:00 PM

Chargers have other CB they like already on the team, pass rush stinks, no defensive back can cover with the amount of time WR's have to get open, and QB's to find the open guy.   If the Chargers don't get either a pass rushing OLB or De with the first pick, I will be disappointed.

Pop said... Apr 9, 2012, 3:49:00 PM

Need SS, if barron is there then AJ should take him and look at olb in the second round

Fbhansen said... Apr 9, 2012, 4:03:00 PM
Finally something that makes sense!

As far as draft pics I'd go with either a Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois or Mark Barron SS Alabama if either falls to them in the first round. But knowing AJ it'll be a Wide Receiver because that's all he seems to be looking to bring in these days. Whatever happened to the we need to win now talk? Now we are talking about having the draft help fill the holes in the defense??? Guess the article above makes a lot of sense.

Pete Spinning said... Apr 9, 2012, 11:16:00 PM

We should get the best pass rusher or strong safety. No matter what it takes. We need one, or both. Mainly pass rusher.We traded up for running back.. why not pass rusher?

Leandretaitano said... Apr 11, 2012, 10:01:00 AM

Love the ideas of Mercilus, Perry, Upshaw or Barron at #18... I'd be happy with either one of them. Regardless of how high ranked an OL is... history proves that you don't need to use a #1 draft choice on OL. Last I checked, Joe Thomas and Jake Long haven't exactly been to the playoffs lately. The 90's Cowboys had not ONE OL selected in the 1st round. Same theory goes for WR in the 1st rd. See Ariz, Houston, Detroit... all home watching the Super Bowl like the Chargers.

All that said... we have to go defense with the first two picks. Pass rush first and then SS. Hell, Troy P and Ed Reed could be our safeties, but it wouldn't make a difference if QB's can make a club sandwich back there.  DEFENSE DEFENSE DEFENSE...  

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