Finally… we are just days away from the start of the NFL draft. Weeks- no months- of anticipation, speculation, and prognostication will all boil down to the first 32 picks this Thursday night starting at 5pm.
In this, our final edition of Be The GM for 2012, we look to a mock draft from NFL insider Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. Banks is well connected in league circles, and his mock draft, in my opinion, is about as best a prediction as I’ve seen. This week we will use Bank’s first-round scenario to help us determine who will be available for the Chargers at number-18 in the first round. After you read through the first 17 picks, be sure to Be The GM and make your pick for the Chargers in the comments section below.
1. Colts: Andrew Luck/QB
2. Redskins: Robert Griffin/QB (trade)
3. Vikings: Matt Khalil/OT
4. Browns: Trent Richardson/RB
5. Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne/CB
6. Rams: Justin Blackmon/WR (trade)
7. Jaguars: Fletcher Cox/DT
8. Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill/QB
9. Panthers: Stephon Gilmore/CB
10. Bills: Michael Floyd/WR
11. Chiefs: Luke Kuechly/ILB
12. Seahawks: Melvin Ingram/DE/OLB
13. Cardinals: Riley Reiff/OT
14. Cowboys: Mark Barron/S
15. Eagles: Quinton Coples/DE
16. Jets: Courtney Upshaw/DE/OLB
17. Bengals: David DeCastro/OG
18. Chargers: ???
There are not a lot of surprises in Bank’s draft, and there are lot of players commonly linked to the Chargers already taken before the Chargers get their turn on the clock. Gone are safety Barron and OLB Upshaw, two players linked to the Chargers in many mock draft scenarios. Also gone are potential offensive upgrades in WR Floyd and OG DeCastro.
The players available for the Chargers at number-18 still leave the team with a number of fine options. The top players available for the Chargers in this scenario include:
An argument can be made that the Chargers greatest need is to improve the offensive line; it's an argument I had been making for years. If that’s your thinking this year, then Cordy Glenn would be a great option to pencil in at guard or tackle for the next decade.
My choice, as it has been since the end of the regular season, is to improve the defense however we can. Based on the Chargers free agent pick-ups this offseason, I don’t see how they could do anything but aim for the highest rated defensive play-maker on their board in the first round.
With Barron gone, I'm going all in on an outside linebacker if I'm the GM. Mercilus and Perry seem to be players who got a lot of hype early in the offseason. More recently, players like Jones, Branch, and McClellin have been making their own push into the first-round discussion. When you stack those five players up next each other, it's hard to prove that one is head and shoulders above the rest. Give me any one of them and I'm probably going to be happy. They're all better picks then the reaches we have gotten from AJ in recent years.
That being said, if I'm making the pick I will debate Mercilus or Branch down to the last minute before I finally select Mercilus.
That's my pick- what's yours? Using the mock draft scenario listed above, Be The GM and make your selection in the comments section below.
Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75
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