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Mathews' pick was a master stroke

Any more questions about A.J. Smith?

The guy is a draft mastermind. San Diego just recharged its Super Bowl hopes on the wings of Charlie Whitehurst.

Yes, Smith knows his way around draft room.

The Chargers shook up the draft Thursday night by skyrocketing up the board to take Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews.

The Chargers clearly think Mathews is a special player. This is a very deep running back class and the Chargers were not interested in either hoping Mathews – a big, physical pounder – would fall to No.28 or hoping a second-round pick would be the primary back.

No, Smith zoned in on Mathews early and pulled the trigger.

It all started with a brilliant trade of Whitehurst. The Chargers sent the No. 3 quarterback -- who never tossed an NFL pass -- to Seattle. The two teams switched second-round picks. The Chargers went from No. 60 to No. 40. They also got a third-round pick from Seattle in the deal.

Somewhere in the Mission Valley area, there is a ski mask hidden. Smith fleeced Seattle.

It all set up the Mathews’ pick.

Basically, the Chargers got Mathews for the No. 28 pick. Now, Mathews is in charge of bringing life to San Diego’s run game.

Can he make people forget about LaDainain Tomlinson? Likely not, but he should be better than Tomlinson –- who was cut in February –- was in the last two years. The Chargers had the 31st ranked run offense last season. It caught up to San Diego in the playoffs when it was upset by the Jets in the divisional playoffs.

The Chargers’ are a pass-fast offense and they will always be with Philip Rivers quarterbacking and Norv Turner coaching. But the Chargers need some running-back help if they are going to make the next speed and go to the Super Bowl.

Now, it has a potentially elite running back.

Expect Matthews to be a perfect fit with Darren Sproles. Mathews is the grinder, who will get 20-25 carries a game. Sproles will be able to stay fresh and makes the big, explosive plays.

The Chargers’ offense is now balanced and the team is ready to make the next step.

It’s all because of Smith’s shrewd move.