Offensive line is an issue. Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin should be available at that pick and would be a solid player to bring in. However, Martin isn’t anywhere near as good as the top tackle in the draft, Matt Kalil, nor is he as good as the No. 2-ranked tackle, Riley Reiff.
The Chargers are also in need of a pass rusher, and there are plenty of first-round prospects available this year. However, it’s difficult to predict how high players like Melvin Ingram, Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, etc. will go, and so the team may be faced with a difficult situation of taking a risk on a risk/reward type player like Whitney Mercilus or Chandler Jones.
However, there is another option: move up. The last time the Chargers decided to make a big trade during the draft was in 2010, when the team moved up to the 12th overall pick to select running back Ryan Mathews. Trading up is always risky, but here are a few prospects this year who may turn out to be worth the risk.
Ingram is considered by most scouts to be the premier pass rusher in this year’s draft. He is a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who excels at rushing the passer.
Ingram was a consensus All-American last season after an impressive year for South Carolina in which he had 10 sacks. At 6-foot-1 and 264 lbs, he is perfectly suited to play as an outside linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 defense.
Ingram’s most likely landing spot is with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who pick at No. 7, and he could also land with by the Miami Dolphins, who pick at No. 8. He would be a superb talent to bring in to help rush the passer.
Reiff is the second-best tackle in this year’s class and will be heavily sought after come Draft Day. With Matt Kalil likely to be picked by the Minnesota Vikings with the third overall pick, Reiff could join him as a top 10 pick with the Buffalo Bills reported to be interested in securing his services.
Some scouts have questioned Reiff’s ability to be a left tackle in the NFL. If he fails to succeed at left tackle, expect him to move to the right side, similar to Green Bay Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga.
If Reiff is still available with the 10th overall pick, all likely signs point to the Bills selecting him to replace the recently departed Demetrius Bell.
Perry is another athletic pass rusher who the Chargers should be looking at. A versatile player who could play both defensive end and outside linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 defense, Perry would bring some much-needed speed to the pass rush.
Perry isn’t accustomed to playing linebacker in coverage and so would be used almost exclusively as a pass rusher. I see a lot of similarities to his fellow USC alum Clay Matthews.
The Dolphins are reported to be interested and he shouldn’t fall past the Cardinals at 13. He could put up 10+ sacks as a Rookie.
DeCastro is a powerful guard who is a dominant pass/run blocker. Comparisons have already been made to Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson.
Along with fellow Stanford offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, he will be a high first round pick. His power is his biggest strength and he is surprisingly agile for such a big offensive lineman.
Projected Pick: No. 6 by the St.Louis Rams - No. 12 by the Seattle Seahawks
In my opinion, Mark Barron is one of the most underrated prospects in this year's Draft. He will be the first safety off the board and is drawing interest from both the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.
He is an excellent tackler who is well capable of making plays in the running game at the line of scrimmage. He also possesses great coverage skills and was a key contributor to the Alabama defense that won the BCS Championship last season.
Barron should be picked just a few spots before the Chargers pick at 18. He would be the ideal player to partner with Pro Bowler Eric Weddle in the secondary.
So those are my possible candidates that the Chargers may be looking to move up for.
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