The Post Season is here and just after the 2014 NFL Combine, the NFL Draft looms. So what will the San Diego Chargers do with this new draft? Last year, rookie General Manger Tom Telesco struck gold with his first draft in San Diego. The Chargers first three draft picks of 2013 were all solid contributors and starters. Grading last year’s draft is still premature, but the Chargers made it to the playoffs and had a playoff win (with additional help with a new coaching staff, new free agent additions, good fortune, new offensive philosophy and definitely play calling).
Predicting who the Chargers will draft is always a guesstimate. It is not an art, and it’s definitely not a science. It is mirage wrapped in mystery, mixed with the unknown: it’s Mirag-unknow-stery!
But we can guess (and guessing makes mock-drafts fun), so let’s try to predict the General Manager: Mr. Telesco
Telesco’s mentor was Bill Polian, a leader and master at building an NFL franchise through the NFL Draft. Polian has been extremely effective at constructing an NFL team, and keeping that team successful for extended times. Polian has his draft philosophy on how to grade player and if we can look at Polian’s previous drafts, we then can estimate Telesco’s drafting style of players and positional importance. Polian was a little predictable, just ask most Colts fan (similar to AJ Smith, ask Chargers fans). Polian has a thick history of drafting offensive lineman and defensive backs in the first round; two positions the Chargers are currently in desperate need of.
Rounds 1 to 7:
1.) Morgan Moses, LT, Virginia – Finally, San Diego drafts a first round left tackle, who the Chargers have missed since Marcus McNeil. Moses is massively huge man with above average dexterity. He has a very similar body type to DJ Fluker, but he is quicker and San Diego will have two giant anchors on the offensive line to protect Phillip Rivers and road grade in the run game for the next decade. One man improves the run game and the pass game. (Other possibilities: NT, Louis Nix III could possibly slide in the first round, and if he is available, Telesco might have a tough decision to make. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State would be a great addition, but with his amazing performance at the combine, he might have elevated himself to a top 15 pick and the number one cornerback)
2.) Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech – San Diego desperately needs more depth and talent at cornerback, and might be their biggest area of need. Fuller has the height, speed and strength to be a star CB in the NFL, but it will all be decided on how Fuller can respond to NFL coaching, maintaining assignments and his health. Fuller is a bit of a wildcard as he likes to freelance to find a big play, which can get him out of proper position. Fuller has first round talent, but a midseason injury could have him slide to the second round. This year’s CB rookie draft class is loaded, so finding a quality CB in the second round is a good possibility (Other possibilities: OLB, Trent Murphy, Stanford is another possibility as pass rushers are always needed on every team / OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA is a great interior lineman selection, if OT is not selected in the 1st round)
3.) Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina – Here comes the burner wide receiver and return specialist. Ellington ran a 4.35 forty. Not tall (at 5’ 9”) but not small (197 lbs.). He adds team speed the Chargers desperately need. A good hands catcher, Ellington looks to be a very good offensive and special teams prospect. His performance at the combine may have pushed him from the 5th round to the 3rd round overnight with his sub 4 forty. (Other possibilities: Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State may lack size to play SS, but he may be a perfect complement to play alongside Eric Weddle. Brooks can hit, has good range and speed, with some coverage ability; a good well rounded safety. Brooks is not not just a FS or just a SS, he can do both / DE, Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina – D-Line Depth is desperately needed in San Diego and Quarles was lost in the Clowney shadow, yet led the Gamecocks with sacks)
4.) Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee – NT is an open wound in the Chargers 3=4 front. If this position is not tended with Louis Nix III in the first round, it must be addressed somewhere in this draft (Other Possibilities: WR, Josh Huff, Oregon can be a deep threat and a possible replacement to Eddie Royal, and can also be a return specialist / WR, Mike Davis, Texas – with the rash of injuries at WR and the possible retirement of Malcolm Floyd, WR depth is mandatory)
5.) Brent Urban, DE, Virginia – good strength and hustle with prototype height and weight for 3-4 DE. Solid project player and good depth (Other possibilities: NT, Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech as a backup nose tackle depth, a big body with potential)
6.) Devon Kennard, ILB, USC – if Donald Butler leaves in free agency, Kennard could be a late round gem. Good inside linebackers can be found in later rounds and Kennard could be that solid player and leader that could help the Chargers quickly.
7.) Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford – Gaffney has been projected as a 7th round selection, or even undrafted rookie free agent, but at the combine, his stock increase with his 4.47 forty. He should slide to the Chargers and might be would be a decent backup to Ryan Matthews, with little investment.