Good morning. With the Senior Bowl practices heating up this week and the 2013 season over for all but two NFL teams, now is a good time to begin turning our attention to the upcoming draft for the San Diego Chargers.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy have seven picks heading into this year’s draft, including the No. 25 overall selection. It’s the first time the Chargers have selected this low in the draft since 2008, when San Diego selected cornerback Antoine Cason with the No. 27 overall pick.
I’ve identified cornerback, edge pass rusher and interior offensive line as San Diego’s primary needs.
Here’s a look at the players selected at No. 25 the past 10 years.
2013 – Minnesota, CB Xavier Rhodes
2012 – New England, LB Dont'a Hightower
2011 – Seattle, OL James Carpenter
2010 – Denver, QB Tim Tebow
2009 – Miami, CB Vontae Davis
2008 – Dallas, CB Mike Jenkins
2007 – Carolina, LB Jon Beason
2006 – Pittsburgh, WR Santonio Holmes
2005 – Washington, QB Jason Campbell
2004 – Green Bay, CB Ahmad Carroll
That’s a pretty good list. Except for Tebow and Carroll, the rest of the players are still in the league. Here’s a look at who some mock drafts are predicting the Chargers will select in this year’s draft.
Kiper’s take: “Roby isn’t yet a complete package at cornerback, but he has top-end speed and quickness, with fluid hips that allow him to turn and run with any kind of receiver. Where he needs to improve is in his ball skills and in not grabbing too much, which will cause him to draw too many flags at the NFL level. But with refinement he can be really good. San Diego was leaky in the secondary all season and could use a talent upgrade.”
McShay’s take: “The Chargers’ top need is a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, so if Buffalo’s Khalil Mack drops to this spot, he’s the slam-dunk pick. But with him off the board in this scenario, there really isn’t another 3-4 OLB who belongs in the first round. San Diego also needs O-line help, but I think Gilbert could be the pick here. He came back hungry this season after a subpar 2012 campaign, and proved to be one of the top cornerbacks in college football. He is a playmaker who is good both in coverage and versus the run, and he has very good size for the position.”
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: LaMarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
Jeremiah on Chargers draft needs: “The Chargers' offensive line played much better in 2013, but they could still use an upgrade along the interior. They have spent a lot of picks on pass rushers over the last decade, but they're still in the market for a difference-maker on the outside.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Bradley Robey, CB, Ohio State
Brooks’ take: “Roby would bring much-needed athleticism and playmaking ability to a Chargers’ secondary that struggled in pass coverage in 2013.”
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Rang’s take: “The Chargers' run to the playoffs was all the more impressive when one considers that the team ranked last in the AFC (and 29th overall) in pass defense. Gilbert is a spectacular athlete with terrific hand-eye coordination and return skills, making him a threat on defense and as a kick returner.”