As the Chargers season continues to disintegrate one has to wonder what has gone terribly wrong. You can point the finger in many directions, but lets take a look at the draft and what the Chargers have failed to do that winning teams are doing.
the game is won in the trenches
There are some age-old adages in the NFL that have stood the test of time – Defense wins championships, the game is won in the trenches, we need to establish the run game. Are these really true? These sayings all point to one thing in my head and that is strong line play.
Its one thing to say it, but its quite another to put your money where your mouth is. Are successful teams doing these things to win?
Let’s look at the 5 teams with the best records in the league and see what they have done in the first 4 rounds of the draft over the last 3 years.
Patriots (8-0)2015 – 6 picks, 5 lineman selected2014 – 5 picks, 3 lineman selected2013 – 5 picks, 0 lineman selectedTotals – 16 picks, 8 lineman (50%)
Bengals (8-0)2015 – 6 picks, 3 lineman selected2014 – 4 picks, 2 lineman selected2013 – 5 picks, 1 lineman selectedTotals – 15 picks, 6 lineman (40%)
Panthers (8-0)2015 – 3 picks, 1 lineman selected2014 – 4 picks, 2 lineman selected2013 – 3 picks, 3 lineman selectedTotals – 10 picks, 6 lineman (60%)
Broncos (7-1)2015 – 4 picks, 3 lineman selected2014 – 3 picks, 1 lineman selected2013 – 3 picks, 1 lineman selectedTotals – 10 picks, 5 lineman (50%)
Cardinals (6-2)2015 – 4 picks, 3 lineman selected2014 – 5 picks, 1 lineman selected2013 – 5 picks, 3 lineman selectedTotals – 14 picks, 7 lineman (50%)
Notice a trend. In the first 4 rounds of the draft the top 5 teams in the league spend about 50% of their picks on linemen. And none of them have drafted less than 5 lineman over the last 3 years.
Bring in Tom Telesco and the Chargers. Over the last three years the Chargers have drafted 2 line man in the first 4 rounds of the draft. Yep, only 2. And one of those was a reach (Chris Watt). The Chargers also each year have traded away their 4th round pick, leaving them with only 9 picks in the first 4 rounds of the draft over the past 3 years. The Chargers spent 22% of their remaining picks on lineman. Well below the 50% that winning teams were drafting. If you throw in the picks the Chargers traded away it results in 16% of the picks being lineman. That is a long ways from 50%.
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So if you want to be at the top of the league draft lineman.
If you don’t, you end up 2-7.