Morning Links: Chargers' draft needs

CINCINNATI -- Good morning. In this ESPN Insider piece, draft analyst Kevin Weidl examines the draft needs of teams in the AFC West. Weidl identifies cornerback, offensive guard and outside linebacker as San Diego’s primary needs heading into the 2014 draft.

Here’s what Weidl has to say about the cornerback position.

“There is a glaring need to add youth and playmaking talent at the cornerback position. The Chargers held the 29th-ranked pass defense, allowing nearly 260 yards per game while also ranking near the bottom of the league in interceptions with 11 (T-26). CBs Richard Marshall and Shareece Wright combined for just one interception in the regular season, and Marshall is set to be a free agent after the season.”

Weidl suggests Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert and Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard as possibilities in the first round. Florida’s Marcus Roberson and Ohio State’s Bradley Roby could be Day 2 options.

ESPN.com Broncos beat reporter Jeff Legwold writes that injuries have contributed to an inconsistent performance by Denver’s defense this season. Cornerback Champ Bailey is expected to return from a foot injury and play against San Diego on Sunday.

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated writes that he’s seen a changed Philip Rivers this season, showing more patience in the pocket and playing in the moment.

Jason La Canfora is lone NFL analyst for CBSSports.com to pick the Chargers over the Broncos.

Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio talks with ESPN NFL Insider and former NFL scout Louis Riddick, who says the Chargers will defeat the Broncos. Listen to the audio here.

Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus places Keenan Allen and D.J. Fluker on his All-Rookie team.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego writes that Eric Weddle’s crazy talk of the Chargers having a chance to make the Super Bowl before the season started back in April doesn’t seem so crazy now.

Weddle was miked up for the Bengals game. Check out the video.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com provides an early scouting report on the San Diego-Denver matchup.

ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson reports that some retired players may opt out of August’s concussion settlement between the NFL and the player’s union and take their chances as an individual in court once they read the fine lines of the agreement, which includes players receiving lump sums of $375,000 for life-altering health conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life. Settlement documents also include the suggestion of $112 million in attorney fees, which is separate from the $765 million settlement agreed to for retired NFL players.