When the Chargers pick at #18 in the 2012 NFL Draft there will be a few players off the board that they would have loved to see in blue and gold, that’s why they should target the Seattle Seahawks and their twelfth pick for a draft day trade. We know if AJ wants a certain guy he is willing to make the deal necessary to get that said player, (See Ryan Matthews and Eric Weddle) and this year could be more of the same. There is a significant drop off in talent between the top two pass rush specialists and the rest of the field, and with a couple of other teams in the hunt for the next DeMarcus Ware the Bolts would have to move in to the top twelve to acquire one of these prospects. The Seahawks and Pete Caroll have shown that they can be had for a price that works in the other teams favor and AJ Smith has shown that he doesn’t mind being on that receiving end (see Charlie Whitehurst). So if the twelfth pick could be had for a reasonable cost, say a first round swap plus our second and fourth round picks should the chargers pull the trigger and move up to select one of these two players? What say you?
Melvin Ingram DE South Carolina
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 264 lbs.
Strengths: Elite pass rush potential. Has the the rare combination of size, speed, and skills to make him an immediate success at the next level. Has a variety of moves to get to the QB, and shows that if his first burst isn’t successful his second will be. Doesn’t stop, high motor throughout the entire play and simply dominates opposing tight ends.
Weaknesses: Still must prove that he can handle NFL running backs in the flat if he’s to play OLB, and will have to keep improving his run defense to be considerd elite. Had issues being slow of the snap but his althleticism bailed him out at the college level.
NOTE: I really like Ingram, he’s tough and nasty as they come. He’s already had an interview with the Chargers at the Senior Bowl so AJ has had a look at his play and had a chance to get a bearing on his character. This guys got the perfect build for a OLB in the 3-4 defensive scheme and has been compared to Dwight Freeney when it comes to initial burst and the spin move right around tackles and tight ends. The Chargers would be set with Sean Phillips and Ingram coming off the edges on passing downs and Jarrett Johnson could mentor the rookie on his run defense.
Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 284
Strengths: Explosion off the ball, knocks linemen back with speed and strength. Has very long arms which give him leverage over his opponent and excellent balance at the point of attack. Quick feet and good burst for his size, has an elite bull rush.
Weaknesses: Seemed to disappear for a number of plays at a time, usually against elite college linemen. Was part of the NCAA investigation into players attending draft day functions so character may be a concern. Oversized to play OLB, which might limit him to 4-3 defenses.
NOTE: Coples is a monster when he shows up and could be used in the same fashion that Wade Phillips uses Mario Williams in the Texans 3-4 scheme. This is a really tough call for me because he would heave to learn the position from scratch. Realistically though, you give this guy a three foot running start there’s no way anyone going to stop him one on one. He would not only demand double teams but in turn open up holes for other linebackers. It would be a risky pick but could pay dividends in the end.
With these being the top rated pass rushers in the draft, do you think the Chargers should make a play and trade up with Seattle or maybe another team within the 9-12 range? It would be a move that let the fans know they are committed to putting a dominant defense on the field, even though it would be considered a high price to pay. Let me know your thoughts Charger fans, we’ll continue our mock draft with round two this week so stay tuned.
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Topics: 2012 NFL Draft, A.J. Smith, Charlie Whitehurst, Demarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney, Eric Weddle, Houston Texans, Mario Williams, Melvin Ingram, North Carolina, Pete Carrol, Quinton Coples, Ryan Mathews, Seattle Seahawks, South Carolina