Buyer Beware: Courtney Upshaw
Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE
I know, I know, he was a beast at ‘Bama; but, I have made it clear in both comments and a couple of articles that I am not fond of the idea of our Chargers drafting Upshaw with the 18th pick. The term “Buyer beware” is more than appropriate. I am a stay-at-home dad and have watched the Senior Bowl multiple times from start to finish. The Senior Bowl is very different than any other college football game in that its rosters are made up of “elite” seniors at each position. I know that you shouldn’t judge a player off of one game. He lacked explosion and was completely man-handled by Mike Adams, tackle from Ohio State. Most rushers coming off the edge in that game lost their battle with Adams. ( I still don’t want Adams with the 18th pick either.)
The Nick Saban led defense not only had a great scheme, it was also made up of an overwhelming amount of future NFL starters. This just adds to my issue with having Courtney drafted by the Bolts. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Donta Hightower are all higher on my list as far as who should be chosen at 18. I’m not even dreaming of taking DeQuan Menzie at 18, but I am starting to warm up to the idea of either him or Brandon Taylor ( SSs out of Bama and LSU respectively) with our second round pick to fill the SS void. After seeing Harrison Smith on NFL Network, we are most likely not getting him without making a drastic move in this draft. It might possibly take acquiring another first round pick to get Smith. This is a very poor SS class, overall. I do have to admit, though, that my sleeper in the second round is George Iloka out of Boise State. Big, tall, fast, and very versatile. Iloka played FS, SS, and CB at Boise St. He had a great practice week at the Senior Bowl. Tell me he is a FS and I’ll remind you about this being a passing league. The difference between a FS and SS is very minimal now-a-days. May I also remind you how valued a TE, or two, is on the offensive side of the ball. A.J. likes guys who can line up in multiple spots and contribute in a multitude of schemes.
In addition to my other points, for him to come in at 279 lbs knowing that he was about to have a pro day is extremely alarming. Although it is no where near as serious, I liken that to a player failing a drug test knowing he is going to the combine. No excuse for either of those things to happen! Both the combine and pro day are two of the biggest interviews a potential NFL prospect will ever have in their life, period. Gametape should always be the number one deciding factor; I know. But reports say that he was also “underwhelming” during his one-on-one interviews, as well. He is only 6’2″. For him to weigh 279 lbs at that height you really have to wonder what position he would play. Don’t compare him to Melvin Ingram. Ingram is a top-ten pick. Lacking quick feet and explosion does not lend itself to being a formidable force at OLB, given his size. Same goes for defensive end.
I still believe that my pick of Nick Perry would be much more beneficial to our cause in the first. If not Perry, I hope that it would be Mercilus in that slot. It is my belief that a pass-rusher MUST be picked at 18. I would MUCH rather have A.J. surprise us with another member of the Crimson Tide’s linebacker corp than choosing the Tide’s #41.
Donta Hightower is 6’4″ 260 lbs. I am starting to think that he might be the guy that could make the most impact on our defense. He has the knowledge and abiltiy to play a couple of LBer positions. The guy can move and has the ability to both rush the passer and drop back in coverage. He is an A.J. guy, due to his versatility and playmaking ability.
Courtney Upshaw was a stud at Alabama. In my opinion, he will be a solid player in the NFL. But we need someone who can come in and immediately make a HUGE impact on this defense right away. I don’t see Upshaw as that guy. I know what Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune (and various other media outlets) are saying about the Chargers really liking Upshaw. Who am I to doubt them? I’m just a person, like all of you, who has always loved the Chargers and want them to win a Superbowl now. By the way, Rivers and Spikes seem to think it will happen this year. Put your money on them. Sure sounds like a safe bet to me.
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