2012 NFL Draft: 5 Game-Changing Picks Chargers Must Make

Matt JohnsonCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Game-Changing Picks Chargers Must Make

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    After the San Diego Chargers failed to capture the lowly AFC West for the second consecutive year, it is time to stop believing they are an annual threat to with the AFC.

    They have just not proven consistent enough to be successful. Nobody seems to be able to predict this team from one week to the next.

    How can a team possibly play lights-out football against a quality side such as the Baltimore Ravens, and then lay a massive egg the following week in a must-win game against the Detroit Lions? There is simply no excuse to struggle through a six-game losing streak in a division as weak as theirs.

    Looking ahead to this year’s draft, San Diego must address many areas of their team. Defense, offense and special teams must all be improved.

    The AFC West is showing no signs of being any better next season, so this division remains up for grabs to the team that can put together an above-average season of football.

    Here are five important picks that the Chargers must make this April in order to re-establish themselves as the AFC favourites they used to call themselves:

Cordy Glenn, Guard (Georgia)

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    Glenn, the 6’5” 348-pound offensive tackle from Georgia, would be a fantastic addition to a Chargers team that must do a better job of protecting Philip Rivers next season.

    He is very athletic for his size and is reliable in a variety of pass-blocking and run-blocking schemes. One on one, Glenn has great success against opposing pass rushers.

    Some of his downfalls include his balance and sometimes his technique. However, projected as a potential first-rounder, Glenn should garner some interest from the Chargers.

    We have all seen Rivers perform like the Pro Bowler he can be, but far too often this past season, he was under too much pressure and was not given enough time in the pocket to make plays downfield. 

    Due to his natural physical ability, he will be someone that the Chargers can use and develop into a solid guard.

Zach Brown, LB (North Carolina)

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    Zach Brown has been compared to the likes of Von Miller, a great compliment to any prospect in this year’s draft.

    He has an impressive first step to the ball, and his ability to close down runners and read the play is an imperative quality for any linebacker to possess.

    His speed also translates in to effective horizontal movement, and he has proven his ability to pursue and tackle running backs who can hit the sidelines.

    The Chargers struggled this past year against the run, ranking 20th in the league. There were many games when the opposing running back would get in a rhythm, and the Chargers’ defense was simply not able to shut him down.

    Drafting a speedy player like Brown would bolster the linebacking corps of the Chargers, and will provide them with a much-needed defensive spark.

Melvin Ingram, DE (South Carolina)

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    Another important defensive prospect for San Diego to consider, Melvin Ingram made waves for the Gamecocks with his impressive play on the line.

    He also has the ability to shift to a linebacker, addressing another concern that the Chargers desperately need to consider.

    One of the criticisms of Ingram is his tendency to go for the explosive hit, rather than the safe tackle.

    However, if he is to work with the Chargers’ defensive coaches, it will not be long before he adapts a "tackle-first" mentality.

    His presence on the line will both help stop the run and get to the quarterback. San Diego will certainly make great use of a player such as Ingram.

Alshon Jeffery, WR (South Carolina)

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    Chargers fans are somewhat uncertain about the Vincent Jackson dilemma. If he stays in Southern California, he will continue to be Rivers’ biggest deep threat; however, the road with Jackson has been very bumpy, especially his relationship with AJ Smith.

    At 6’4” and 229 pounds, Alshon Jeffery may be a sound draft pick to begin filling Jackson’s shoes. He is a very physical receiver with great vertical; someone who is willing to challenge a DB in the air.

    Possessing a big catch radius, Jeffrey suits Rivers’ frequent bombs downfield, and is able to catch the ball at its highest point. The Chargers seem to enjoy a very physical type of receiver, and Jeffery fits the bill.

    He is not the quickest wideout, but he makes his trade using his body to get position on cornerbacks and providing a big target to throw to.

    The Chargers should certainly consider drafting Alshon Jeffrey in the second or third round.

Michael Floyd, WR (Notre Dame)

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    Michael Floyd does not have the physical presence of Alshon Jeffrey or Vincent Jackson, but he can add an element to the San Diego offense that they are crucially missing.

    Floyd is great at running underneath routes and can easily get off the line of scrimmage. Philip Rivers threw way too many deep interceptions last season, so Floyd will provide a great short option on slants and crossing routes.

    Antonio Gates, while still reliable, does not have the same speed he once did, and has fallen victim to a string of toe injuries which have put him on the sidelines.

    Michael Floyd will be able to provide many of those short underneath routes which can sustain drives and get Rivers in a groove.

    With the Chargers needing to improve their offensive production next season, Michael Floyd will provide an element to the offense that Rivers will be able to utilize.