Morning Links: Draft needs

SAN DIEGO -- Good morning. ESPN draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay take a closer look at each team’s draft needs at the midpoint of this season. I identified outside linebacker as one of the San Diego Chargers’ top needs heading into the 2014 draft, although you could certainly put defensive backs and offensive linemen up high on that list. Kiper listed UCLA’s Anthony Barr, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack and Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard as the top projected edge rushers in next year’s draft.

“Right now, the Chargers would be drafting in the middle of the first round, and at that point they might hope for a pass-rushing force like Vic Beasley to fall to them. The Clemson junior is a former running back who brings the athleticism you'd typically associate with that position to a pass-rushing role. Beasley has 10 sacks in his first nine games this season and is going to get better as he diversifies his pass-rushing portfolio. If Beasley is gone inside the top 10, there's a chance that Mack could fall to the Chargers. Mack is a very good pass-rusher but also can pursue, get off blocks and tackle in space.”

ESPN’s Dan Graziano keeps Philip Rivers at No. 5 on his weekly MVP watch.

ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold discusses how Denver’s linebackers will match up with Chargers running back Danny Woodhead.

ESPN’s John Clayton suggest the NFL add more injured reserve designations and increase the game-day active roster to 50 or 51 players to help teams better deal with injury issues like the rash of offensive line injuries the Chargers have suffered.

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell takes a look back at his Top 50 NFL Trade Value Rankings that he wrote before the season started, and says that Rivers deserves to be added to next year’s list for his play this season. Barnwell: “Somehow, behind an offensive line that has been missing starters every week, and with a group of rookies and sophomores at wideout, Rivers is completing 72.2 percent of his passes and averaging 8.4 yards per attempt. It's going to be a crime when Alex Smith or Brady goes to the Pro Bowl ahead of Rivers. He even had another kid! What a fun player to watch, and given his play this year, what a valuable asset the Chargers have.”

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has Oregon’s Marcus Mariota ranked as his top college quarterback. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M is No. 2, followed by Florida State’s Jameis Winston.

In his weekly column at Sports Illustrated, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman tells us how he would run the league if he were NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell. Not surprisingly, players would become more of a league priority.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego says if the Chargers are not going to use running back Ryan Mathews in critical situations like at the goal line, then they should not bring him back in free agency next year.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com says Sunday’s contest between San Diego and Denver will showcase two elite quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.

Writers from Bolts From The Blue debate the Chargers midseason offensive and defensive MVPs.