Morning Links: Rivers, Weddle face off

Good morning. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and safety Eric Weddle were selected on opposing teams in this year’s Pro Bowl, which is being headed by Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice.

Weddle was selected with the first pick in the 17th round by Sanders, while Rivers was selected by Rice with the second pick in the 23rd round.

“I’d love to wreck shop together,” Weddle told Chargers.com. “But if not, it would be fun too, to go against him.”

You can watch Weddle and Rivers miked up for practice here and here.

In this ESPN Insider piece, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. hands out new grades for the 2013 draft. And the grades for the San Diego Chargers went up from Kiper’s post-draft grade from a B-plus to an A-minus. Kiper: “Don’t say I didn’t tell you about my offensive rookie of the year pick. My grades noted: ‘Keenan Allen wasn’t a huge need, but he’s got the tape of a first-rounder, so expect impact from him. He’s got a lot of ability and is a couple years younger than many of the other top wideouts in this draft.’ A ton of catches later, he’s a total steal for the Chargers. Fluker was really up-and-down and simply has to improve as a pass-blocker, but he certainly gave them reps. I thought Te'o was a steal at No. 38 overall, and while he was far more tentative than I expected, he should go into next season with the starting job and the hope of improving. Sixth-rounder Tourek Williams also got a lot of time. We’ll see if Fluker and Te’o take the next step, but Allen is already there. Good draft so far.”

ESPN’s Ian O’Connor offers an interesting story on Vince Lombardi’s humble beginnings as a football coach at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, N.J.

In this ESPN Insider piece, NFL Insider Mike Sando ranks San Diego as the least likely of this season’s playoff teams to return to the postseason in 2014. Sando: “One of these teams has to rank 12th, and it's the Chargers. I'm not down on them in the least. They found out Rivers is still in his prime, and Ryan Mathews can be a tone-setting runner. What the Chargers really need is for the defense to hold up its end more consistently. The D started to do so late in the season. San Diego's defense cost the team 8.3 expected points per game through Week 12. Only Atlanta and Minnesota were worse by that measure over that span. The Chargers' D added nearly one expected point per game from that point forward, counting the playoffs. San Diego went 5-2 over that stretch, becoming the second team since 2002 to reach the playoffs after starting 5-7. This team is headed in the right direction.”

ESPN Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco offers some more interesting observations from the last padded Senior Bowl practice.

In this ESPN Insider piece, draft analysts from Scouts Inc. evaluate two quarterbacks from smaller Division I programs in Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. They also list a couple good football players who could get lost in the workout process because they likely will not put up great combine numbers, like Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton.

In his countdown of San Diego’s top performers in 2013, Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego ranks punter Mike Scifres No. 21.

John Gennaro of Bolts from the Blue evaluates the performance of the Chargers’ coaching staff in the 2013 season.

Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM Radio talk with San Diego interim mayor Todd Gloria about the development of a Chargers new stadium proposal in this audio link.