2012 NFL Draft: A Breakdown of the Possible Options for the Chargers in Round 1
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.
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Out of all the possible prospects the Chargers could move up for, Alabama safety Mark Barron makes the most sense. One of the veteran leaders on the Crimson Tide defense, Barron had a superb senior year and was a consensus All-American.
The team probably doesn'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-10 pick.
Barron isn’t likely to fall past the New York Jets at No. 16, so the Chargers will have to move up two spots to select Barron.
Possible Pick: Mark Barron
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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 6'2" and 213 lbs, he has ideal size to play safety in the NFL.
Hypothetically, the Chargers could move 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
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With Melvin Ingram and Nick Perry both expected to be off the board already, 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 answers the questions about his speed.
He was a key contributor on the Alabama defense that dominated college football last season, and he was named as the BCS Defensive MVP. At 6'2" 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, so Upshaw would bring some youth to the pass rush.
Possible Pick: Courtney Upshaw
Stay at 18, Plan B
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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
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Finally, we get to the players that the Chargers should look to avoid. LSU's Michael Brockers falls into that category.
Once projected to be a top-10 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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