The San Diego Chargers have turned into a real head-scratcher of a team over the past couple of seasons. This is a good football organization that loses too many bad games. In a division as weak as the AFC West, finishing the 2011 season with an 8-8 record and missing the playoffs for a second year running is just not good enough.
Coach Norv Turner and General manager A.J Smith will be back (either rightly or wrongly depending on your viewpoint) for another attempt at trying to take the Bolts deep into the play offs. With a few well-chosen draft picks it's possible to see the Chargers even making it all the way to the 2013 Superbowl in New Orleans.
Andrew Luck is obviously the stand out pick in this year's draft but San Diego doesn't need another QB right now. Rivers does need help on both sides of the ball though and here are six picks that will have the Chargers in the Big Easy.
NICK PERRY, USC
Before Shawne Merriman got banned for drinking the wrong type of protein shake, the Changers had the most explosive Linebacker in football. Merriman later injured his knee, turned the lights out on his dancing and finally got traded, but before all that he was sacking QB's for fun.
Nick Perry likes to attack the QB as well. He is a fast outside linebacker and one of the best pass rushers in the draft. He reads the game well, knows how to get around the block and can be the kind of sack machine that will get the Bolts fans out of their seats.
Melvin Ingram - South Carolina v Tennessee
It might seem a bit greedy wanting to take two Defensive Ends in one draft but the idea of Perry and Ingram playing on the edges of a 4-3 defense is pretty darn exciting and pretty darn intimidating for all opposing quarterbacks who would face them.
If the Chargers wanted to play four at the front, they would have to change from the 3-4 defense they play now. This would take some restructuring but the Chargers need something to happen as they give up way too many points. Some Sundays it seems like the opposition QB has all afternoon to sit in the pocket and look for someone upfield to make a big play. Ingram is strong and powerful out of the blocks and would be a big presence on the Chargers front-line.
Both Perry and Ingram will probably be gone by the time the Chargers get to take their pick but if either one of them hasn't been snapped up then the Bolts should jump all over them.
LaMichael James - Oregon
The Chargers had a good one-two at the running back position last season with Ryan Matthews carrying the ball for over 1,000 yards and Mike Tolbert averaging 4.0 yards a carry.
However, a tandem similar to the one the Chargers operated in the days of LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles, would be welcomed back by Bolts fans with open arms. Matthews would get the main carries while the 5 ft 9 in. James would support him and work special teams, before he is sold to another team and scores touchdowns by the bucketful for them.
Mike Tolbert could revert back to the full back position and pick up the short yardage.
The speedy James, who is Oregon's leading all-time rusher, might not go until the second or third round. The Chargers would be wise to consider him as James could offer real offensive value.
Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State v Notre Dame
Micheal Floyd is an outstanding prospect, in his last two seasons with the Fighting Irish he scored 20 touch downs and covered over 2,000 yards.
The Chargers are fairly deep in the WR position with Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd and Patrick Crayton but all that could change by March.
Maybe one of the good things about Norv Turner and A.J Smith returning is that they know the real worth of San Diego's best wide-out Vincent Jackson. Hopefully any money issues will get resolved quickly and the Chargers will sign him up before he gets the chance to enter free agency.
If Jackson stays, then drafting up Floyd would be more of a luxury pick than a necessity. If Jackson is offered silly money and he goes, then having Floyd and Floyd in the WR slots sounds good.
Another defensive position that the Chargers need to fill is the cornerback slot. Quentin Jammer has been a great servant to the team since being drafted as the fifth overall pick back in 2002 but he will be 33-years-old when the new season starts.
With so many great wide receivers in the NFL it is hard to imagine Jammer being able to compete against them all for too much longer. Dennard would be an ideal replacement for Jammer.
The outstanding Corn Huskers senior may not be the biggest CB out there but he is fast, athletic, reads the game well and stays glued to the receiver.
Dennard is likely to go in the first round before the Chargers get a chance to take him. Even if he is available, a better idea might be to wait until the second round and choose another CB, someone like Chase Minnifield from Virginia would be a good option.
If the Chargers are set on taking a defensive player as their first round pick, then it really has to be a DE or OBL. If the Bolts do go with Dennard, then expect him to play from the start of the 2013 season and Jammer to be traded away.
The punter position is usually overlooked by fans of the draft but their are some outstanding prospects this year and with the kicking role becoming more and more important in the game, Brian Stahovich would be worth taking a good look at.
Mike Scifres has been the Chargers punter since 2003 and averages 44.8 yards per punt. He has been a mainstay during his eight years with the team, but a good young replacement, if that is what the Chargers are seeking, in the later rounds would be Stahovich.
Stahovich averaged 43.8 yards a kick during his time with SDSU in the competitive Mountain West Conference. He hails from Solano Beach, California which is just up the road from Qualcomm Stadium and the Bolts fans always love to see a local boy representing the team.
The San Diego Chargers only need to make a couple of smart picks in the draft to help them get back into the playoffs. While a defensive end seems the most pressing need, any of the six choices listed would be a great addition to a team looking to get back into contention for the 2013 Superbowl.