TheGregOne leaves the mock drafts to the professionals. I don’t watch enough college football to know much about any other than the big name players or stars playing in the conference I reside in. Being in Phoenix, its all about the PAC-10 or PAC-12 as it will come to be known. However, I do know what the Chargers need to be looking for in the upcoming draft and I do have a thin list of names I would like to hear called in which the mention of any of them would make me jump out of my chair and do the Michael Jackson in front of the TV. HEEE HEEE!
In order of preference:
1. Wide receivers Julio Jones or A.J. Green. Doesn’t matter which one, both guys are speed burners with great hands. The debate rages on over which is 1 and which is 1a. Both fit in the Chargers template of long, tall wideouts. Jones is 6’3 and Green is 6’4. They provide a valuable insurance policy if Vincent Jackson does get traded or injured and NFL ready or not, in the Chargers already loaded offense they have time to mature and become the stars we expect them to be. What better place to land than with the best deep ball passer in the NFL? What are the chances one of them will still be there at #18? Slim, however one is bound to fall. The teams that could be looking at receivers such as Cincinnati, Carolina, Buffalo and Cleveland all have much more pressing matters to attend to such as addressing their quarterback situations. Defense is going to be the order of the day outside of the quarterbacks and AJ Smith showed last year he is not afraid to move up to get the guy he wants. If one of these guys are available around pick 13-15 don’t be surprised if he trades up.
2. Offensive tackle Nate Solder. What’s not to love? Solder is 6’8, 319. He is the fastest offensive lineman in the draft running a 5.05 40-yard dash. That’s not that big a deal considering offensive linemen rarely finish ten yards from where they start, but it attests to his athleticism. I’d wager there are some 6’8 NBA players who can’t run that fast. We all saw the pocket collapse on Rivers in key moments last season. Protecting Rivers blind side is supposed to be Marcus McNeil’s job and keeping Rivers jersey clean is the name of the game. If Rivers goes down, so does the season. If anything, adding Solder forces McNeil to step his game up or be relegated to backup.
3. Defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson, Cameron Jordan or Ryan Kerrigan. The Chargers already have the number one defense in the NFL and they did that by employing an ultra-aggressive rotating platoon of players. Shaun Phillips needs help rushing the quarterback. A bookend defensive end who can provide heat from the opposite side of the line will take away a lot of the double teams and keep the sacks coming. These guys are the cream of the crop. They are big, athletic tackling machines who fit into the platoon quite nicely. Larry English, get your mind right or these guys will jump ahead of you.
4. Defensive Back Brandon Harris. The secondary was already solidified by adding Bob Sanders before the CBA expired but a team can never have too many shutdown cornerbacks. Harris was the Db no QB wanted to challenge at Miami. He’s a little undersized at 5’9 1/2 but has a nice 34 1/2 inch vertical. Will he lose on jump balls against taller receivers? Sure. His instincts, speed (4.46 in the 40) and ability to defense passes make him worth the risk. Besides, Miami has a proven track record for churning out top notch defensive backs and no doubt he will arrive with that ‘The U’ swagger all Miami players arrive with. A little extra swagger from your DB is always welcome.
These players would provide instant impact on a team that is already first in offense and defense. There will be decisions to be made with free agents and trade offers to be made (target number one, Nnamdi Asomugha). These are the areas that need to be addressed. After the 18th pick, I really want to see Casey Matthews selected. Why? Three words, pedigree, pedigree, pedigree. Bruce Matthews was as solid an offensive lineman as they came and Clay Matthews has shown he is just as capable on the defensive side of the ball. Casey Matthews looks like he would be another Brian Urlacher type. Matthews moves great sideline to sideline, is always around the ball and knows what its like playing on a team that scores in a hurry, not leaving much time to rest on the sidelines. Most importantly, pedigree!
Agree or disagree? Who’s name do you want to hear April 28th?