Good afternoon, Bolt Fam!
The draft is over… the noodles are in the pot… and they are boiling! By now, we have all had time to get over the excitement, our emotional reactions, and even read up a bit on the players we have selected. Get your kicks in now, because aside from a few more free agency signings, we’re in for a long & boring stretch of training camp updates, and filler articles… hahaha (unless you are super excited about the top 100 players list, where our players will either not appear, or be ranked much lower than they deserve to be).
I am going to start out by saying that New Orlean’s draft picks were much closer to what I thought San Diego would do (I feel the same way about the Saints, as Jerry Seinfeld feels about Newman). I will be completely honest, and say that I didn’t get one single pick right. In fact, I only hinted that I “wouldn’t be mad” if they drafted Manti Te’O. That’s as close of a sniff as I got at being correct. Clearly, I should continue forward with my policy of not trying to do a mock draft.. I am absolutely no good at it. Having said that, was ANYBODY really that close? I don’t remember seeing any mock drafts that had these picks nailed down. If so, please post, so I can follow this person in the future.
So, let’s get down to brass tax. I have been checking around the web this morning, trying to sift through the endless assessments of the Manti Te’O trade up, and there are mixed reviews on Tom Telesco’s first draft. Some are praising the man as a genius for getting 1st round talent with the first three picks. Some are absolutely livid, are saying that he completely ignored major needs, and left far better talent on the table. Some are saying he did good with some picks, and are scratching their heads on others. Draft success is measured by how many players turn into starters, players that can productively contribute, and hopefully turn into Pro-Bowlers.
Round #1: DJ Fluker (OT -Alabama) - Obviously, Jeromey Clary was a player that most fans (including myself) can’t wait to see hitting the turn-style out of Charger Park. Mainly, because he has essentially been a turn-style at right tackle himself. Fluker will most likely start, and Clary will either be shown the door, or will be moved to guard.. some are even entertaining the idea of moving him to the left side. I have seen quite a few people maintain that there was not a big enough need to draft a right tackle, and a nose tackle, or safety should have been taken at 11. Others have supported the pick, saying that he was from a great program in college, was the only starting tackle left on the board, and will at LEAST protect Philip River’s front side.. even if we couldn’t get the blind side protection we desperately needed. One thing is for sure, this guy is going to fill two needs.. protecting Rivers, and creating running lanes for Ryan Mathews. Expect him to be our pro-bowl right tackle for years to come.
Round #2: Manti Te’O (LB – Notre Dame) - There was almost no doubt that the Chargers needed an inside linebacker to fill the void next to Donald Butler. There wasn’t even a potentially good player-in-waiting, like we have with Taylor at safety. Not many people thought that having Mouton start would have been the answer. Te’O was a great player at Notre Dame, and once you get past the catfishing mess, he appears to take football very seriously, and has the desire to be a leader of the defense in San Diego… which is good news. However, there are concerns about his ability to play three downs, his ability to translate to the 3-4 defense, and his awful play at the National Championship game raised eyebrows. Most people feel like this was a great value pick. But, there are some that feel he could be a bust, and wasn’t worth giving up an extra pick, in a year when we needed every pick we had (if not more). The vast majority of Charger fans seem to feel like it was a good selection, and have hopes that he can remind us of the dominating days of the best Charger linebacker of all time.
Round #3: Keenan Allen (Wide Receiver – California) - Much like right tackle, wide receiver wasn’t a perceived need of the team, either. We weren’t really short on competition for the wide receiver spot. However, among the known talent of Floyd, Alexander, and Brown… only Alexander is even close to being a number one receiver, at this point. But, having a #1 receiver with bad knees isn’t a sure thing, especially when none of the other receivers don’t seem to be able to be that guy. So, when Keenan Allen was still there when we picked, it was almost too irresistible to pass up. There has been a longing for a playmaker at wide receiver since Vincent Jackson left for Tampa Bay. Keenan should have been drafted in the first round, but fell due to a poor showing at the combine, after recovering from a knee injury. Tom Telesco doesn’t seem worried about this, whatsoever. I agree with that. Even though I was not initially in favor of drafting a wide receiver, this was probably my favorite pick. Other than some griping about needing to fill more important holes on the roster, I think people are happy to have him as a Charger, and will be for a long time.
Round #5: Steve Williams (CB – California) - Coming out of the 2012 season, we let both of our starting cornerbacks walk. If you are like me, you really weren’t too broken up about it. Tom Telesco signed Derek Cox in free agency to take Jammer’s spot, and we still had two somewhat promising prospects in Shareece Wright, and Marcus Gilchrist. Wright, although showing signs of being promising early, spent the 2012 season on the IR list, and Gilchrist played nickel behind Cason & Jammer. One of these two will most likely take the second starting role. However, there was still a need to bring in more depth in at the position. In the 5th round, Tom Telesco signed cornerback Steve Williams…. a speedy & athletic corner who can bait quarterbacks into throwing at him, and is great at breaking up passes. The main concern is his size. At 5′ 9″, he isn’t exactly the prototypical cornerback that most of us were hoping could compete for a starting spot opposite Cox. He CAN play outside, and he had an amazing vertical leap at the combine. This could compensate for his smaller size against big receivers. There have been complaints about this signing, as well, because there were more complete CB’s like Poyer, and McGee still on the board. Regardless of this, Williams will add much needed depth and will probably be used as a nickel corner. Gilchrist is our current nickelback. I’m not trying to read TOO deep into the signing, but could this mean that TT thinks Gilchrist will be the starting corner? If so, what would happen to Wright? And, if not, what would happen to Gilchrist? Or, do you think Williams will be the 4th guy? This could also mean that Telesco is just buying insurance, as Cox & Wright have injury histories. Regardless, this will be an interesting battle to watch, heading into training camp.
Round #6: Tourek Williams (DE/OLB – Florida International) – So, Tom Telesco must like the number two. We got two Cal Bears, we got two Mormons, and we got two Williams in this draft. Also, we got Antwan Barnes 2.0. It would be fairly presumptuous to say that Williams is the second coming of Antwan Barnes, but, the guy was on the heels of the records that Barnes set at Florida International. If you can’t keep Barnes, then why not get his younger, presumably equally talented, replacement? Williams is a situational pass rusher that will add depth to an anemic OLB crew. Johnson, Ingram, and English will be starting ahead of him on the depth chart, but having some fresh talent (that can also play defensive end) was just what the doctor ordered. Williams is 6′ 3″, and weighs in at 260 pounds. In his senior year, he had 46 tackles (14.5 for loss), 6.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He was selected to the All-Sun Belt Conference first-team the last three years. He has quick speed around the edge, but doesn’t use his hands well, and has short arms.. So, Melvin won’t be the only T-Rex OLB on the roster. He will have to make the switch to 3-4, like Manti Te’O, unless Bolt Beat writer James Fedewa is indeed correct about us switching to the 4-3. Not trying to re-hash that conversation, but it crossed my mind while reading up on the young man. Hopefully, he can give our secondary the same boost that he gave John Cyprien, who’s outstanding play made him one of the most coveted safeties in this years draft.
Round #7: Brad Sorensen (QB – Southern Utah) - The first thing I, and most people, probably thought when this selection was made… was “Huh”? A lot of us were looking to go Nose Tackle… maybe running back.. even take an extreme project of a left tackle. But, no….. Tom Telesco decided to draft a backup QB. There really aren’t any “Bad Picks” in the seventh round, because who knows if a player can make the roster, or even the practice squad. However, with all the holes we have on the team, this one was most definitely the biggest head-scratcher.. even more-so than drafting a right tackle at #11. As I read up on the kid, something immediately jumped off of the page at me. Read this, and tell me who this reminds you of.
“Sorenson gets the ball gets downfield in a hurry when it comes out of his hand, even though he doesn’t appear to exert a lot of energy when he throws. He can get the ball on a line to a receiver running a deep out, and he isn’t afraid to throw to receivers in tight coverage downfield and give them a chance to make a play. Sorensen will throw the ball into small windows, and he can make a stick throw when he wants to. Sorensen moves well enough for a big enough, including in the pocket. He can sense pressure but doesn’t get rattled by it. He scans and processes the field quickly and resets his feet as he goes through his progressions. Sorensen’s mechanics are odd. His deep ball is often underthrown, and he depends on his receivers to make plays for him a lot. Sorensen appears to aim rather than trust his arm and throwing motion, and often his passes require large adjustments from his receivers. He’s also not a great athlete and won’t threaten defenses with his mobility. On the field, he seems to be a leader, willing at times to put the team on his shoulders.”
Are they talking about Philip Rivers, or Brad Sorenson here?!!!! Not that everything pertains to PR, or that he is even CLOSE to PR’s greatness.. and yeah, Rivers is a little rattled lately, after being dropped a thousand times.. but, I was having deja vu reading this. I have never been a big fan of clipbaord, and cringed when they let Volek go, and brought Whitehurst back! If this kid can win the backup role, and learn behind Rivers, he might be a more reasonable option than Whitehurst, should (heaven forbid) Rivers go down. Not to mention, there was a LOT of people who were on the “draft a back-up QB, just in case Rivers goes down” boat. This guy is clearly not competing for PR’s job, but if he went in, it doesn’t sound like the game plan would have to change much.. if at all. Obviously, we will have to see how pre-season pans out. But, if this guy exceeds expectations, I would drop Whitehurst like a bad habit! If we were going to draft a backup QB, this was the most non-threatening guy for Philip… but, MAINLY for the fans.. who would have gone mental if it was Geno, Nassib, or Barkley. Yet he could make the most sense from a gameplan adjustment standpoint.
Undrafted FA: Kwame Geathers (DT – Georgia) - I figured I would throw Geathers in here, as we traded away our 4th for MT51, and we had a big need for a nose tackle. It appears that Cam Thomas got a pretty big vote of confidence from Tom Telesco (or Pagano) when we waited until UDFA to get some depth at nose tackle. Geathers can definitely compete for a starting role, but Cam will probably start… for now. I got a little bit irritated when we picked a backup QB in the 7th, and there was still nobody behind Thomas. Then, we signed Geathers. He would most likely have been the seventh round pick, in the first place Well played Tom Telesco, well played. Of course, I would have liked to have seen one picked earlier, but this doesn’t make me completely unhappy. Geathers, much like Fluker, is a beast of a man! He comes in at 6′ 5″, and 342 pounds. He is a space eater in the middle of the line, and can even take on two blockers, freeing up Liuget & Reyes to work their magic! He may not be as seasoned as Franklin, but he is HUGE, and will give us much needed depth at the position. He was the most NFL ready NT in UDFA, and will hopefully help spell Cam Thomas, and shore up the front three of this defense. I wouldn’t look for him to be racking up sacks, but he should be solid against the run.
So, there you have it. My assessment of the Chargers 2013 draft. Once again, it was a little long, but that’s how I roll. Please feel free to agree, or disagree, or post factoids about the players that some of us are unaware of. It seems that every article I post, there is always somebody who posts something awesome that I never thought about, so I encourage you to voice your thoughts. Just keep it above the belt, and remember that we are all Charger Fans at the end of the day.
So, which player signing was your favorite? Perhaps you think another player in UDFA will be the newest Antonio Gates? Vote below!