Archive for the ‘NFL Draft’ Category
After three days and 253 picks, the 2012 NFL Draft is finally complete.
As expected, Andrew Luck was the first overall pick and he will be leading the Indianapolis Colts in their post-Peyton Manning era.
This year’s Mr. Irrelevant was quarterback Chandler Harnish and he was selected by the Colts with the 253rd pick.
The Chargers struck gold in the round 1 when South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram surprisingly fell all the way to number 18 and the team didn’t waste much time in selecting the former Gamecock.
But how did the rest of the Chargers Draft turn out? Here’s a quick recap.
Round 1: Pick 18
Melvin Ingram- Outside Linebacker- South Carolina
Pick Analysis: The Chargers couldn’t be happier with this pick as they landed the best pass rusher in the Draft without having to trade up.
What will he bring to the team: He brings speed and toughness coming off the edge and should help improve the team’s sack totals for 2012.
Verdict: Ingram was a fantastic pick by the Chargers and I’m expecting big things from him in his Rookie season.
Round 2: Pick 49
Kendall Reyes- Defensive Tackle/Defensive End- UConn
Pick analysis: The defensive-line now appears to be set with the addition of Reyes and he will become a solid contributor to the Chargers’ run defense.
What will he bring to the team: He brings a mean streak and adds plenty of power to the d-line.
Verdict: Reyes will likely play as a defensive end in the Chargers 3-4 front and play alongside last year’s first round pick in Corey Liuget.
Round 3: Pick 78
Brandon Taylor -Safety- LSU
Pick Analysis: The Chargers needed to take a safety at some point in the draft and decided to reach a little for Taylor in Round 3.
What will he bring to the team: He brings a physical presence to the secondary and will be asked to help out in run support.
Verdict: Taylor will likely challenge Atari Bigby for a starting spot at strong safety to play alongside Eric Weddle.
Round 4: Pick 110
Ladarius Green- Tight End- Louisiana-Lafayette
Pick Analysis: A surprising move to add another tight end to the mix but Green could become the eventual successor to Antonio Gates.
What will he bring to the team: He brings some much needed speed to the tight end position and at 6′ 6″ and 238 lbs, he could be a valuable red-zone target for Philip Rivers.
Verdict: Green is still a work in progress but if he can get the right coaching and learns from a future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates, he could turn out to be a 4th round steal.
Round 5: Pick 149
Johnnie Troutman- Guard- Penn State
Pick Analysis: After going defense for the first three picks, the team went for offense again with this pick and added another body to block for quarterback Philip Rivers.
What will he bring to the team: He brings some much needed toughness and strength to the interior line and will add depth at guard.
Verdict: Troutman faces a battle at Training Camp to make the cut but he should earn a spot on the final roster as a backup for starting guards Tyronne Green and Louis Vasquez.
Round 7: Pick 226
David Molk- Center- Michigan
Pick Analysis: Offensive line is improved again with this pick as the Chargers draft a Michigan offensive lineman for the second straight year.
What will he bring to the team: He brings experience and strength as evident by his impressive career at Michigan and his 41 bench press reps at the combine.
Verdict: Molk could turn out to be a 7th round steal and the former Rimington Trophy Winner will challenge Colin Baxter to serve as Nick Hardwick’s backup.
Round 7: Pick 250
Edwin Baker- Running Back- Michigan State
Pick Analysis: With their final pick, the team decided to take a running back to provide backup for starter Ryan Mathews.
What will he bring to the team: He brings a decent combination of speed and strength and will challenge Curtis Brinkley for carries.
Verdict: Baker will have to have a solid training camp/preseason if he is going to make the final roster and faces an uphill task.
So that’s my recap of the San Diego Chargers Draft. Let’s hope these Rookies can help the team return to the Playoffs this season.
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With Round 1 out of the way, it’s time to look ahead to the second day of the draft with Rounds 2-3.
The Chargers selected Melvin Ingram with the 18th overall pick and are likely to look towards improving the defense again with their couple next picks.
Offensively, the only needs that the team should be looking to improve on are finding a new backup running back and adding depth to the offensive line.
In Rounds 2-3, the Chargers hold the 49th and 78th overall picks respectively. I shall be looking at the best players still available that may be of interest to the Chargers.
But who should the team be targeting? Let’s find out.
Position: Guard/Offensive Tackle
College: Iowa State
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 333 lbs
Big Board Ranking: 34th Overall
Osemele is a talented prospect but he will need a lot of coaching in the NFL. Although he has the right size and power needed to succeed as an offensive lineman, he sometimes struggles in his technique and will have to learn to improve sooner rather than later.
A dominant run blocker, He would be worth taking in the second round if he’s still available at 49 overall. With the retirement of Kris Dielman, the Chargers could use another guard. Osemele would push Tyronne Green for a starting spot at left guard.
Position: Offensive Tackle
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 312 lbs
Big Board Ranking: 36th Overall
Martin will be coveted by many teams early in Round 2 and so the Chargers may have to stay put and hope to get lucky just like they did with Ingram in Round 1. He was a surprise omission from the first round even though he rated as the Draft’s third best tackle behind Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff.
Martin is a solid pass protector and also a powerful and aggressive run blocker. Questions have been raised over his ability to play at left tackle in the NFL but he is more than capable of making the switch to right tackle if need be. He would compete with Jeromey Clary at right tackle.
College: North Alabama
Height: 5′ 10″
Weight: 193 lbs
Big Board Ranking: 61st Overall
With Janoris Jenkins, it’s tough to find a place to start. Take away all the off-field issues and there’s no doubting his ability as a football player.
The Chargers are looking to add another cornerback to the mix with veteran Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason as the established starters. Many teams are reportedly interested in taking Jenkins in Round 2 but that doesn’t mean he is sure to hear his name called. A.J. Smith isn’t usually willing to take a risk on a player like this but that won’t stop him from taking a look if he slips all the way to Round 3.
College: Boise State:
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 225 lbs
Big Board Ranking: 67th Overall
Iloka has been a solid contributor to the Boise State defense throughout his four years with the school. He is usually stout against the run but can sometimes struggle in coverage.
With Eric Weddle as the only established safety on the roster, the Chargers may be looking to bring in a player to create some competition in the secondary. After missing out on safeties Mark Barron and Harrison Smith, Iloka is the best rated player available.
Position: Running Back
Height: 5′ 8″
Weight: 194 lbs
Big Board Ranking: 76th Overall
James is likely to be highly coveted for teams looking to find a new change of pace back. An elusive runner who can also be valuable to the passing game, James would be the ideal candidate to serve as backup to starter Ryan Mathews.
Mathews is yet to complete a full season with the team and hasn’t yet shaken off his injury prone tag. With Tolbert gone to the Carolina Panthers, the Chargers are still looking for a new backup running back. If James is still available by the time the Chargers are on the clock in Round 3, look for the team to take a chance on this talented playmaker from Oregon.
So those are my possible targets for the Chargers in Rounds 2-3.
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“With the 18th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the San Diego Chargers select…Melvin Ingram, Linebacker, South Carolina.”
That was the announcement that was made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last night at Radio City Music Hall.
Like most Chargers fans, I couldn’t be more excited about this pick.
The team’s two biggest needs going into the first round were finding a pass rusher or safety. With Mark Barron off the board, the Chargers selected the best pass rusher available and that just so happened to be my number 1 ranked pass rusher in the entire Draft.
But what will he bring to the team? Let’s find out.
Pass Rush: Ingram’s biggest strength is his ability to rush the passer. He’s had an impressive 19 sacks during his last two seasons with South Carolina and was also named a first team all-american last year.
Versatility: For his Rookie season at least, it’s his versatility that will help out the Chargers the most. Along with being a third down pass rusher, Ingram can also be used on special teams and don’t be surprised to see him line up in a few fake punt formations this season.
Size: The biggest question mark about Ingram is his size. At 6 ft 1 and 264 lbs, some scouts have questioned his ability to play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense but I’m confident that he should be able to make the switch.
Transition to Linebacker: He is coming from a system in college where he was playing as a 4-3 defensive end and will now be asked to make the transition to 3-4 outside linebacker. For some players, the transition can be rather easy, (see Aldon Smith) for others not so much (see Larry English).
What will his role be?
Defense: Ingram will likely be used as the team’s premier pass rusher during his Rookie season. Although he isn’t likely to see as much playing time as Shaun Phillips or Jarret Johnson, don’t be surprised to see him have 10 sacks this season.
Special Teams: Last season against Georgia, Ingram returned a 68 yard fake punt for a touchdown. Simply put, this sounds like the type of player that the Chargers could use on special teams.
Overview: The Chargers selected what many scouts considered to be the best pass rusher in the Draft and didn’t have to trade up to do so. My early verdict couldn’t possibly be much better.
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It’s that time of year again in the NFL.
The 2012 Draft begins on Thursday night with NFL fans everywhere anxious too see which prospects their team picks.
For the Chargers, the emphasis is expected to be on defense and finding a pass rusher will surely be a priority.
The team doesn’t have many needs on offense, but could do with bringing in a running back to backup Ryan Mathews.
Just who will the Chargers draft? Let’s find out.
Pick 18- Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama.
Overview: If Courtney Upshaw is available when the Chargers are on the clock at 18, I just can’t see the team passing on him. Upshaw is one of the top pass rushers in this year’s Draft and would be perfectly suited to play as an outside linebacker in the Chargers 3-4 defense.
Upshaw shows great agility in his reactions and often overpowers blockers the the line of scrimmage. He sometimes struggles when pursuing speedy ball carriers across the field and shouldn’t spend much time in coverage in the NFL.
With Phillips and Johnson tasked with stopping the run, Upshaw could be used with Antwan Barnes as a third down pass rusher.
Role on the Team: Upshaw will play often in the linebacker rotation and make a solid contribution to the defense.
Pick 49- Harrison Smith, Safety, Notre Dame.
Overview: After Steve Gregory left in free agency to sign with the New England Patriots, the Chargers added safety Atari Bigby as his replacement. The problem with Bigby is his age and he has been injury prone in the past.
Harrison Smith is the second best safety in the Draft behind Mark Barron and would be a great player to pair with Eric Weddle at safety. A four year starter at Notre Dame, Smith is a Troy Polamalu type player who is equally impressive in stopping the run as he is in coverage.
He is projected to be an early second-round pick so the Chargers may be taking a risk if they wait until pick 49 to pick him.
Role on the Team: Smith will compete with Atari Bigby to start at strong safety.
Pick 78- LaMichael James, Running Back, Oregon.
Overview: Just like Smith, the Chargers may be forced to move up if they want to select James. James is a dynamic runner who has explosive speed and is also a weapon is the passing game.
The Chargers are still looking to bring in a running back to backup starter Ryan Mathews, with Mike Tolbert gone to the Carolina Panthers and newly signed Le’ron McClain expected to be used more as a fullback. James could be used a dual threat similar to the way that the team used Darren Sproles.
He is projected to be a late second-round to early-third round pick and would be a great weapon to add to the offense.
Role on the Team: James will be used as a chance of pace back and see plenty of playing time on passing downs.
Pick 110- Nate Potter, Offensive Tackle, Boise State.
Overview: Potter has been a solid player for Boise State throughout his entire career whilst protecting Kellen Moore’s blindside. Chargers’ current right tackle Jeromey Clary is average at best and the team may look to bring in a player to compete with him for the starting role.
Potter has drawn many comparisons to New England Patriots first-round pick from last year Nate Solder as both are tall and talented but sometimes lacking in technique. He excels as a run blocker and will almost definitely make the switch to right tackle in the NFL.
If Potter is still available in round 4, he could turn out to be a steal for the Chargers.
Role on the Team: Potter will compete with Jeromey Clary to start at right tackle.
Pick 149- Vontaze Burfict, Middle Linebacker, Arizona State.
Overview: Once considered to be a potential top ten pick, Burfict has now fallen out of contention to be picked in the first round altogether. He has drawn several ‘red flags’ from teams who see his attitude problem as to big of a risk and he even managed to land on my list of the most overrated prospects in the Draft. (see https://mrnfl.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/2012-nfl-draft-top-5-most-overrated-prospects/).
He is considered to be a lazy player who has an attitude problem and sometimes looks slow on tape. However, despite all these issues, he is still a talented player.
If he is falls all the way to the fifth round, it may be worth taking a risk of Burfict to add to the middle linebacking pair of Takeo Spikes and Donald Butler.
Role on the Team: Burfict will get playing time mostly as a backup during his Rookie season.
Pick 183- Cliff Harris, Cornerback, Oregon.
Overview: The Chargers could use another cornerback to add some depth to the secondary and Cliff Harris gets my vote. Like Burfict, Harris is a talented but troubled player who is likely to be picked in the latter rounds due to his off-the-field issues.
Harris had a fantastic 2010 and finished the year with five interceptions and four punt return touchdowns. He followed that up with a disappointing 2011 season and played in just six games following a series of run-ins with police.
Harris would join emerging players Marcus Gilchrist and Shareece Wright in the Chargers secondary.
Role on the Team: Harris will push for playing time at cornerback and will also be used on special teams.
Pick 226- Antoine McClain, Guard, Clemson.
Overview: McClain has been a solid contributor to the Clemson offensive line and started the last seasons at left guard. As most Charger fans will now, the team lost veteran guard Kris Dielman after his was forced to retire due to injury.
McClain didn’t have the best of Combines and scouts were left disappointed in his lack of speed (he ran a 5.4 in the 40 yard dash) and strength (19 reps in the bench press). Even with these lackluster numbers, on tape, he’s still a decent run blocker who is expected to be a seventh round pick.
McClain would be solid player to bring in to compete with Tyronne Green and Louis Vasquez respectively.
Role on the Team: McClain will compete at both left/right guard and don’t be surprised if he makes the final roster.
Pick 250- Eddie Pleasant, Safety, Oregon.
Overview: With their final pick in the Draft, the Chargers will look to add some depth to the secondary. Pleasant will join fellow safety second-round pick Harrison Smith on the roster.
Pleasant was a consistent contributor during his time at Oregon. A reliable tackler, he is solid in the run game but can be sometimes vulnerable in coverage.
With the Chargers already having several safeties, Pleasant will face a battle in preseason to make the final roster.
Role on the Team: Pleasent will compete with Darrell Stuckey and DeAndre McDaniel for a roster spot.
So that’s my mock draft for the San Diego Chargers. Let’s hope that Norv Turner, A.J. and co. will take notes for Thursday night.
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There are now just three days to go until the 2012 NFL Draft begins at Radio City Music Hall with all 32 NFL teams busy putting the final touches to their draft boards.
After a lengthy Draft process from Senior Bowl to Combine, to Pro Days to the game film, it’s now all or nothing for scouts.
As the Draft moves closer, several rumors are flying around on the web, with a number of trades being discussed.
The first two players expected to be picked are Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III but after that, there could be a few surprises.
Tune in this Thursday night to watch the Draft unfold but for now, here is my final Mock Draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts- Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Stanford.
Pick analysis: Colts won’t spend too much time debating between Luck and RG3. Luck is clear choice.
2. Washington Redskins (Trade with St.Louis Rams) – Robert Griffin, Quarterback, Baylor.
Pick analysis: Redskins have an easy decision here. RG3 will have a Cam Newton type impact.
3. Minnesota Vikings- Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle, USC.
Pick analysis: Vikings bring in Kalil to protect Ponder. He has All-Pro potential and will start from day one.
4. Cleveland Browns- Trent Richardson, Running Back, Alabama.
Pick analysis: Browns need playmakers on offense. After much debate, they go for Richardson over Blackmon.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU.
Pick analysis: Buccaneers bring in Claiborne. He will be the eventual replacement for Ronde Barber.
6. St.Louis Rams (Trade with Washington Redskins) – Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State.
Pick analysis: Rams must select Blackmon to help out Bradford. He will turn out to be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars- Melvin Ingram, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, South Carolina.
Pick analysis: Jaguars decide to pass on Michael Floyd. Ingram could have an Aldon Smith type impact.
8. Miami Dolphins- Nick Perry, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, USC.
Pick analysis: Dolphins decide not to pass on Michael Floyd. Perry will have a huge Rookie season.
9. Carolina Panthers- Dontari Poe, Defensve Tackle, Memphis.
Pick analysis: Panthers must add some depth on their defensive line. They go with Poe over Brockers.
10. Buffalo Bills- Luke Kuechly, Middle Linebacker, Boston College.
Pick analysis: Bills need a left tackle. However, Kuechly is a safer pick than Reiff and should be a solid pro.
11. Kansas City Chiefs- Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa.
Pick analysis: Chiefs are still waiting for Branden Albert to develop. Reiff will compete to start at left tackle.
12. Seattle Seahawks- David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford.
Pick analysis: Seahawks won’t take a risk on Brockers. DeCastro will help protect Matt Flynn.
13. Arizona Cardinals- Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame.
Pick analysis: Cardinals add another receiver to the offense. Floyd will have early success alongside Fitzgerald.
14. Dallas Cowboys- Mark Barron, Safety, Alabama.
Pick analysis: Cowboys defense was disappointing last season. Barron is a great addition to the secondary.
15. Philadelphia Eagles- Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU.
Pick analysis: Eagles clearly need help on their defensive line. Brockers is a risk, but could a potential star.
16. New York Jets- Quinton Coples, Defensive End, North Carolina.
Pick analysis: Jets have several needs on defense. Like Brockers, Coples is a boom/bust type prospect.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (Trade with Oakland Raiders) – Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Baylor.
Pick analysis: Bengals bring in another first round receiver. He will start immediately alongside A.J. Green.
18. San Diego Chargers- Courtney Upshaw, Outside Linebacker, Alabama.
Pick analysis: Chargers won’t pass on Upshaw if he’s available. He should contribute early on as a Rookie.
19. Chicago Bears- Devon Still, Defensive Tackle, Penn State.
Pick analysis: Bears defense could use some added youth. Still will bring toughness to their defensive line.
20. Tennessee Titans- Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback, North Alabama.
Pick analysis: Titans lost Cortland Finnegan to the Rams. Jenkins could be a key player for the Titans.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama.
Pick analysis: Bengals defense is looking good for next season. Kirkpatrick could move to safety in the NFL.
22. Cleveland Browns (Trade with Atlanta Falcons) – Zach Brown, Outside Linebacker North Carolina.
Pick analysis: Browns already got a playmaker in Richardson. Brown will bring some speed to their defense.
23. Detroit Lions- Dont’a Hightower, Middle Linebacker, Alabama.
Pick analysis: Lions lack depth in their linebacking corp. Hightower will fit in well alongside Stephen Tulloch.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers- Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle, Stanford.
Pick analysis: Steelers offensive line adds another tackle in Martin. He could play at both left/right tackle.
25. Denver Broncos- Jerel Worthy, Defensive Tackle, Michigan State.
Pick analysis: Broncos will be be looking at defense with this pick. Worthy could turn out to be a steal.
26. Houston Texans- Coby Fleener, Tight End, Stanford.
Pick analysis: Texans offense could use an added target. Fleener will challenge Owen Daniels for reps.
27. New England Patriots (Trade with New Orleans Saints) – Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Illinois.
Pick analysis: Patriots defense is still lacking in pass rushers. Mercilus is a versatile player to add to the team.
28. Green Bay Packers- Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Misissppi State.
Pick analysis: Packers would definitely take Cox if he fell. He could play at defensive end/nose tackle.
29. Baltimore Ravens- Kelechi Osemele, Guard/ Offensive Tackle, Iowa State.
Pick analysis: Ravens offensive line lost Ben Grubbs to the New Orleans Saints. Osemele could start at guard.
30. San Francisco 49ers- Jared Crick, Defensive End, Nebraska.
Pick analysis: 49ers already have a superb defense. Crick is a physical player very similar to Justin Smith.
31. New England Patriots- Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, South Carolina.
Pick analysis: Patriots already found their pass rusher. Gilmore could see early playing time.
32. New York Giants- Lamar Miller, Running Back, Miami.
Pick analysis: Giants need a running back to replace Jacobs. Miller gets a slight edge over Doug Martin.
So that’s my fourth and final Mock Draft.
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Thanks for reading.
Last week I looked at prospects in the upcoming Draft were overrated, (see https://mrnfl.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/2012-nfl-draft-top-5-most-overrated-prospects/ ) now it’s time to do the opposite and look at which prospects are underrated.
Unlike overrated prospects who get far too much attention, underrated prospects struggle to get the attention that they truly deserve. Some players don’t get enough attention because they played at a smaller college or some even get underrated if they fail to put up flashy numbers at the Combine.
Take last year’s Draft for example. Many eyebrows were raised when the San Francisco 49ers Drafted Aldon Smith with the seventh overall pick but he went on to shock everyone with an amazing Rookie season and finished the year with 14 sacks.
Aldon Smith didn’t get the same attention as his Missouri teammate Blaine Gabbert did, but he did have a far better Rookie season. Smith is just one example of a great player who was underrated leading up to the Draft.
Which prospects are flying under the radar this year? Here are just a few prospects who may get overlooked in the Draft.
5. Brandon Weeden- Quarterback- Oklahoma State
Why he’s underrated: The reason why Weeden is underrated is simple: It’s because he’s 28 years old. There is no doubt that his age has hurt his draft stock but that doesn’t mean he can’t go on to become a successful player in the NFL.
It took me a while to realize it but once you ignore his age and put on his college film, Weeden is a really good quarterback. There aren’t many throws that he cannot make and he is certainly more NFL ready that his fellow quarterback prospect Ryan Tannehill.
If he can land with the right team and get a chance to play early on, I can see him surprising quite a few people in the NFL.
4. Nate Potter- Offensive Tackle- Boise State
Why he’s underrated: As I already highlighted in draft my targets for the San Diego Chargers, I’m a big fan of Nate Potter. He hasn’t received as much attention as other offensive tackles in this class and perhaps it’s because he played in the Mountain West Conference.
Potter isn’t ideally suited to play at left tackle in the NFL, but he could still be a solid right tackle for years to come. Once the top 5 tackles are of the board, expect to hear Potter’s name called soon after.
Potter will be a steal for any team if he falls all the way to the fourth round.
3. Jaye Howard- Defensive Tackle- Florida
Why he’s underrated: Yet another one of my draft targets for the San Diego Chargers makes it onto my list of underrated prospects. The main reason that Howard is underrated is because of the fact that he played on a disappointing Florida Gators team for the past two seasons.
Despite the fact that Howard had a solid career, nobody is really considering him to be among the best defensive tackles in this class. Howard isn’t the most athletic athlete to ever play at the defensive tackle position but that doesn’t mean that he can’t go on to have a bright future ahead of him.
Expect to see him succeed in the NFL if he’s given an opportunity to start due to his tremendous toughness and physical strength.
2. Kelechi Osemele- Guard- Iowa State
Why he’s underrated: Not many scouts can confidently say that they were aware of Osemele at the beginning of last season, but they’re certainly aware of him now. The 6 ft 6 inch 333 lbs monster from Iowa State has been climbing up draft boards recently and has a great chance of hearing his name called in the first round.
Osemele is a versatile offensive lineman who played at both guard and tackle during his time in college. Despite being projected more as a guard, he may be asked to play at tackle in the NFL depending on which team he is picked by.
Don’t be surprised to see a team take a chance on Osemele and pick him late in Round 1.
1. Mark Barron- Safety- Alabama
Why he’s underrated: I believe that Alabama safety Mark Barron is the most underrated player in this year’s Draft. Barron isn’t underrated because he went to a small college, he’s actually underrated for the complete opposite reason.
He played on an Alabama defense that could have a possible four first round picks in this year’s Draft. In my opinion, Barron is the best player from that defense and the hard hitting safety should hear his name called early in the first round.
Don’t be surprised if a team like the Dallas Cowboys takes a chance on him at number 14.
So those are my top 5 most underrated prospects.
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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 https://mrnfl.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/san-diego-chargers-trading-up-in-the-draft-5-possible-players-to-move-up-for/), 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.
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
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
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
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 18– Players to Avoid
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.
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Thanks for reading.