Feb 25, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Christian defensive back Jason Verrett runs the 40 yard dash during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The San Diego Chargers will get a good football player at pick 25. Some have proposed that they trade up to get a Justin Gilbert or Khalil Mack. Great players for sure (and more than one Charger fan would leap for joy should either fall to 25), but since this is one of the deepest drafts of all time, it seems obvious that they should and will keep all of their picks. With the way Tom Telesco and staff have shown they can draft, it seems that keeping picks, present and future, is the wisest course of action.
Since predicting the top part of the draft is a wild proposition, trying to figure out who will be there when the Chargers draft is an exercise in futility. But does that mean we don’t try? Hardly.
By now, the Charger needs have been well discussed: corner back and rush linebacker stand out, but we could use a franchise left tackle, depth on the both lines, a wide receiver or two, and even a stud safety. Frankly, every team in the NFL can use a stud at any position and would probably draft such a player if he fell inexplicably.
So that leaves us with analyzing likely scenarios and what would be the best course of action. We’ll set aside the stud falling scenario because it’s just not prudent to make such predictions. No one thought that Melvin Ingram would be there for the Chargers two years ago, but that just made the selection easy. That leaves us with looking at the overall draft and determining what positions will be strongest later in the draft to help drive our first selection.
One logical train of thought says that corner back is deep in this draft. Stud rush linebackers do not grow on trees. If Dee Ford or Kony Ealy make it to 25, and several mocks suggest that they might, the Chargers first round choice is rather simple.
Option two would be to take a cornerback, but there is no need to reach for second round talent. It is not likely that Justin Gilbert will be there, and this list is not long. Darqueze Dennard and Jason Verrett are two that top the list with a “perhaps” reserved for Bradley Roby and Marcus Roberson. No other corner is worthy of the 25th pick. Lamarcus Joyner is another possibility, but his size puts him right in line with last year’s selection of Steve Williams and does not seem like the best avenue to pursue.
Going with a third option would be to find a starter for the offensive line. Again, no reaching. Zack Martin tops the list of players who “may be available at 25,” but even hoping he makes it to 25 might be wishful thinking. If any of the following were available, the Chargers could do far worse than drafting them: Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio, or Morgan Moses (the latter being more of a last resort option). Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews will be gone.
A fourth option is looking at the defensive line. There are some very interesting choices here. Timmy Jernigan, Louis Nix III, Ra’Shede Hageman, Aaron Donald, and Stephon Tuitt all are promising options. The first two would be strong considerations regardless of who fell to 25. The remaining three would be good pick-ups if the rest of our options didn’t fare well.
Coming in at option 5 would be a safety. Two stand out: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. Both players would solidify our secondary and would free up Eric Weddle a bit. Jahleel Addai has shown great promise and playmaking ability, so safety is not a top priority, but either of these players would make the Chargers better. Another very interesting choice is Deone Bucannon. Although most likely a second round pick, he has tremendous upside.
Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Odell Beckham (3) reacts and celebrates after they scored a touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Option six would be a wideout with some size or some exceptional speed (or both). Marquise Lee Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr., and Kelvin Benjamin are all intriguing. It would probably be better for the Chargers to get a receiver later in the draft (another deep position), but any of these guys would look good opposite Keenan Allen.
As with all of the guessing, it is easy to argue that several of these players at all positions will be gone by 25. But regardless of what actually does happen, one of the players mentioned above has to fall to the Chargers. Omitting several players who most likely will be gone leaves the Chargers with a solid first round pick. Telesco is not likely to make the mistake of reaching, the only real mistake he can make, because he seems to understand how to draft. He certainly has a tough act to follow on the heels of last year’s success, but here’s to hoping lightning strikes twice.