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2012 NFL Draft: A Breakdown of the Possible Options for the Chargers in Round One

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Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith

The NFL Draft is now just a week away and the Chargers draft strategy appears to be set on improving the defense.

As I highlighted in my last post (see, there are a number of players that the Chargers can move up for.

A.J. Smith has a history of making moves during the Draft so don’t be surprised to see that happen.

There are also plenty of other options available to the team, such as moving down in the Draft to pick up more picks.

But what else can the Chargers do in Round 1? Let’s find out.

Move Up

Mark Barron

Overview: Out of all the possible prospects the Chargers could move up for, Barron makes the most sense. One of the veteran leaders on the Alabama defense, Barron had a superb senior year and was a Consensus All-American.

The team probably don’t have enough to offer to move up for Riley Reiff or David DeCastro. In terms of pass rushers, Nick Perry may also interest the team with Melvin Ingram expected to be a top ten pick.

Barron isn’t likely to fall past the New York Jets at number 16 and so the Chargers will have to move up two spots to select Barron.

Possible Pick: Mark Barron

Move Down

Harrison Smith

Overview: If the Chargers fail to land a trade to move up for Mark Barron, why not try trading down. Moving down in the Draft may make sense if the team can pick up an extra second round pick.

Harrison Smith is projected to be an early second-round pick and would be a solid addition to the defense. At 6 ft 2 in and 213 lbs, he has the ideal size to play safety in the NFL.

Hypothetically, the Chargers could move down to select Smith, and then use the extra pick on a prospect like running back LaMichael James or North Carolina’s Zach Brown.

Possible Pick: Harrison Smith

Stay at 18- If Available

Courtney Upshaw

Overview: With Melvin Ingram and Nick Perry both expected to be off the board by the time this pick comes around, that leaves Courtney Upshaw as the best available pass rusher. Some teams have questioned his explosiveness after running a pretty average 40 time at Alabama’s pro day (4.79), but his 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons silences those critics.

He was a key contributor on the Alabama defense that dominated college football last season and was named as the Defensive MVP in the BCS Championship Game. At 6 ft 2 in and 272 lbs, Upshaw could be a dominant force at outside linebacker for the Chargers.

Projected starting linebackers Shaun Phillips and Jarret Johnson are both over 30 and so Upshaw would bring some youth to the pass rush.

Possible Pick: Courtney Upshaw

Stay at 18- Plan B

Whitney Mercilus

Overview: If Upshaw is off the board when the Chargers pick at 18, there is a problem. The only other pass rushers that would be available with first round potential would be Whitney Mercilus and Chandler Jones.

Both are projected to be late first-round picks, but both aren’t likely to have the same impact in stopping the run as Upshaw would. If the team is still set on selecting a pass rusher in Round 1, these two are likely to be the best available.

If I had to choose between the two, Mercilus seems like the safer pick.

Possible Pick: Whitney Mercilus

Stay at 18Players to Avoid

Michael Brockers

Overview: Finally, we get to the players that the Chargers should look to avoid. Brockers falls into that category.

Once projected to be a top ten pick, his draft stock has fallen lately and he is now expected to be available at 18. Although some fans would like to see the Chargers add another body to the defensive line, I would strongly advise the team to avoid taking Brockers.

With the re-signing of defensive end Luis Castillo, the Chargers defensive line appears to be set and so Brockers isn’t needed.

Possible Pick: Michael Brockers

So that’s my breakdown of  the possible options for the Chargers first-round pick. Check back next week as I reveal my fourth and final mock draft along with my special edition Chargers Mock Draft.

Follow me on twitter for further updates.

Thanks for reading.

Written by podgeoh92

April 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm

One Response

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  1. Thanks for the article. Very nice reading. AJ hates to trade back early. I’d add Mercilus as a guy to avoid as if AJ wants to keep his job he has to avoid taking guys with a one year body of work! If SD drafts any of the 1st round Alabama players it should be considered a huge success. They all have been taught well and come from a winning program. I think trading up for DeCastro is a smart move as well. This guy could be a fixture at OG for a decade, and SD has not addressed OL properly over the long haul.

    It’s AJ Smith, so expect a curve ball. But I say its’ 65-35 he does trade UP.

    Thanks again, and check out my blog articles on the NFL draft.



    April 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

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