Valuing the Chargers’ 2014 Draft


Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In this exciting time of the NFL draft, every team is a Super Bowl contender and every fan worth his salt spins his team’s moves as brilliant. Being a diehard fan makes you stupid. But as they say, “Ignorance is bliss!”

It’s fun to pull for your team and if you don’t look at the glass as half full then you’re plain and simply a pessimist. No fun in that.

So let’s have fun…

The Chargers’ first pick is a typical Tom Telesco player. Jason Verrett is a FOOTBALL PLAYER. That’s in ALL CAPS because although all these guys are “football players” certain guys rise above measurables and just have the heart and brain of a player. Although not a Telesco pick, another FOOTBALL PLAYER is a guy named Eric Weddle. At 5’11”, he is not a prototypical player body and stat-wise, but there isn’t an intelligent person around who wouldn’t want Weddle to anchor their defense. The only issue with Verrett is his diminutive 5’9” height. Most pundits say that if he were an inch or 2 taller, he’d be the number one corner in the draft. His vertical leap at 39” more than makes up for his lack in height. And, as coaches are wont to say, “You can’t teach speed.” With a 4.3 40, Verrett has speed. Really, do you want a 6”3” corner who’s a day late and a dollar short getting to the play? This is a great pick at 25.

For the second year in a row, we trade up in the second round to get a linebacker. Clearly, a player the Chargers had targeted, Jeremiah Attaochu is a good size, good motor, good work ethic player who fits the Bolts’ scheme perfectly. He is a player that I had hoped would fall to us in the second round. In fact, my prediction with friends was that we would trade our first pick and get Attaochu as our first player, high in the second round. This is actually my favorite pick of the draft.

Round three brought us Chris Watt from the golden dome of Notre Dame. Whenever you can get a player from a front line program, it has to be considered a plus. Watt can play both guard positions, but has also worked at center, a facet of his game that seems particularly important considering the stage of Nick Hardwick’s career. Watt is a player that the Charger brass identified as a key in the third round and they seemed glad when he lasted until then. That the Bolts had targeted him is good enough for me.

After skipping round 4 in the trade up to get Attaochu, the Chargers finally addressed our nose tackle roster issue by selecting Ryan Carrethers. In a rather lengthy discussion with friends about the nose tackle position (and my aversion to picking Louis Nix in the first round), I argued that we need a big bodied space eater in the middle, not a quick, agile player. We need a cement post in the middle; a guy that can neutralize double teams and get penetration when not doubled. Frankly, watching Carrethers tape, he looked better for what we need than Nix. It’s not that I think he’s a better player than Nix, just a better fit for our defense. Carrethers was projected higher, so getting him in round five seems like a solid move.

Rounds six and seven are a virtual crap shoot anyway, so the addition of Marion Grice and Tevin Reese as possible help on offense and special teams appear to be a gamble worth taking. Grice is an all-purpose back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and Reese is a quick wide out who can return kicks and was a stud in the Underwear Olympics scoring at or near the top in the vertical jump, cones, and broad jump, so it’s clear he’s an athlete.

Overall, I give the Chargers a Q because it’s a letter and the assigning of letters at this point seems extremely random to me and I kind of like the letter Q because of its quirkiness. And I kind of like the Chargers’ draft too.