So here it is, my first (but not last) mock draft on Rock the Bolt.
For this piece, I´ll assume General Manager won´t draft down, which means we only have seven rounds and seven picks to upgrade the San Diego Chargers roster.
In order to put ourselves in a more comfortable position in the upcoming draft, I suggested to acquire some affordable free agents. So, before we get into this mock draft, let´s take a quick look at which positions I´ve already added depth and/or starters via free agency (click here for details):
- Strong Safety
- Wide Receiver / Kick Returner
- Right Tackle (/ Guard)
- Inside Linebacker
- Defensive Tackle (/ Defensive End)
Update April, 3rd: The Chargers signed defensive end Jarius Wynn to a one-year deal.
Alright, now let´s get started.
ROUND 1 – Pick 11
Chance Warmack. OG, Alabama: Okay, before you all come at me, let me tell you this: The Arizona Cardinals will pick Lane Johnson at No. 7 and Jonathan Cooper will land in Tennesse, as he (obviously) is better suited for a zone blocking scheme (although they signed free agent Andy Levitre, the Titans are still in need of an upgrade at guard). So this means we´ll end up with Chance Warmack. Wow, we´re screwed! I´m just kidding, Warmack is a beast and one of the best overall prospects to enter this year’s draft. Back at Alabama, Warmack played left guard in a man-blocking scheme and was on the field for ALL games of the last three seasons. He only allowed three sacks in 315 passing situations and only got penalized two times last season. This is a GREAT first pick for the Chargers!
ROUND 2 – Pick 45
Kyle Long, OT/OG, Oregon: Well, I know our General Manager already stated that he´ll pick the best player available regardless of position. So this means, e.g. if cornerback Johnthan Banks or defensive tackle Jesse Williams is available with the 45th overall pick, he´ll probably have to go after those prospects. But to be honest, with Big Lazy gone, I wouldn´t have the guts to pass on a second tier offensive tackle here and hope for a solid pick in the third round. The way I see it, Kyle Long is the best left tackle prospect behind the “big three” (D.J. Flucker is solely a right tackle) and he´ll be picked in the second round; I´m pretty sure of that. Long is very strong and extremely fast. He was excellent at opening running lanes and protecting his quarterback in 2012. He´s a versatile offensive lineman; he can play guard just as good as left tackle.
ROUND 3 – Pick 76
Corey Lemonier, OLB, Auburn: I think picking Lemonier here is a solid option. We lost Antwan Barnes and are very likely to lose Shaun Phillips, and thus could use some help at the outside linebacker position. Leaving Melvin Ingram, Larry English, and Jarret Johnson alone as capable starters can´t be the plan Tom Telesco is going for. He had a disappointing second half of 2012 as he was playing through an ankle injury (basically the whole team did not perform well after the first few games). This might be the reason why he still could be available in the third round for the Chargers. He is a speed-rusher and recorded 47 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles in 2011. In 2012, Lemonier totaled 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick.
ROUND 4 – Pick 110
Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama: By re-signing Demorrio Williams, I already added depth at inside linebacker, but this position (amongst many others) is also desperately in need of an upgrade. And Nico Johnson is a solid pickup in the fourth round. He may struggle in pass defense but he is a good run-stuffing linebacker (well, sounds familiar). He won´t be a future Pro-Bowler but with his good size and athleticism, maybe he could make us forget about Takeo Spikes. Kiko Alonso – inside linebacker out of Oregon – would be the preferred prospect here, but I highly doubt that he´ll be available with the 13th pick in the fourth round.
ROUND 5 – Pick 145
Will Davis, CB, Utah State: Well, actually I wanted to get a nose tackle here. But when thinking about the injury-proneness of our starting corners of 2013 – Derek Cox and Shareece Wright (at least in my opinion) – I just have to pick up a decent defensive back in the fifth round. And if Davis is available here, then Telesco just has to make this selection. He had an impressive senior season, showed great athleticism, and knows how to use his size and speed. He couldn´t impress in the Senior Bowl and that trend continued in this year´s NFL Combine. But again, his last season was great and that´s why he could be a great value pick here.
ROUND 6 – Pick 179
Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin: This is a very late pick to address the defensive line. But we have so many holes in the roster with so many injury-prone players; it´s just impossible to fix the team in one draft. But as I already added depth at defensive tackle in free agency, I decided to address the linebacker and cornerback positions with a higher pick. But if Montori Hughes is available here, then the gamble paid off. He has the talent, size, and speed to be a second-day selection – if it weren’t for off-the-field problems (he was dismissed from the team in summer 2011). But he had great performances in the Senior Bowl and at the NFL Combine. This surely would be great sixth round pick.
ROUND 7 – Pick 221
Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame: Altough we need more depth at defensive line – especially with Vaughn Martin gone – drafting some help for the running game could be a wise decision too. And as I couldn´t find any solid 3-4 defensive end that late, I chose to add depth at running back. We already acquired Danny Woodhead, but head coach Mike McCoy will probably use him like Bill Belichik did in New England; i.e. we´re mainly gonna see him catching passes out of the backfield and pass blocking for the quarterback. But what if China doll Ryan Mathews goes down, just like he did so many times in past years? Not too sure if Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown can handle the rushing game on their own. And due to his history of (season-ending) knee injuries, Fozzy Whittaker can´t be trusted either. Edwin Baker spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad and hasn´t seen any on-field action last year, although the ground game was a mess and couldn´t have been any worse at times. Cierre Wood had been suspended for the opening two games last season for violating team rules and this could hurt his draft value and thus could be available that late in the draft. But he still was able to run for 742 yards and four touchdowns in 2012 while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. In 2011, he totaled 1,102 yards and nine rushing touchdowns, averaging five yards per carry. He showed great speed and also good strength on short yardage runs, but he isn´t a great pass blocker – and he doesn´t have to be; we got Woodhead and Brown to take on this job.
So this was my seven round mock draft. Again, with only seven picks, it is damn tough to address all the holes the Chargers currently got on their roster. I also added depth via free agency, but Tom Telesco surely would have to look out for decent undrafted rookies too.
I will come up with another mock draft where Tom Telesco decides to trade down and collect some extra picks.
So stay tuned! Thank you!