The Best Rookie Storylines at San Diego Chargers Minicamp
It was actually a very quiet draft by A.J. Smith standards, but the Chargers still drafted some players who can make some noise very early in their careers. San Diego is getting together for their three-day minicamp this week, giving us the best view of their 2012 rookie class.
What should we be watching for as the news comes out of sunny Southern California?
How Will the Team Use First-Rounder Melvin Ingram?
The Chargers were thrilled to have Ingram fall to them, in part because of his versatility. In addition to being able to line up at outside linebacker in their 3-4 defensive scheme, Ingram can line up as a defensive tackle in passing situations, and he's not a liability in coverage.
San Diego signed Jarret Johnson to play opposite Shaun Phillips, and Antwan Barnes is a great situational pass-rusher, so that may be the best way to get Ingram on the field early in his rookie season.
Pay close attention to reports about how the team deploys him in sub-packages during the minicamp.
Will Extra Weight Slow Down Fourth-Rounder Ladarius Green?
Green was drafted to be the heir to Antonio Gates, even though his size/speed combination is somewhat reminiscent of a poor man's Vincent Jackson.
Green is trying to gain some weight to become a better blocker, according to Scott Bair of the North County Times. It will be interesting to see if he is as explosive as he was when he torched San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl.
If Green shows that he is picking up the offense and making plays in the minicamp, he could be an excellent X-factor for the Chargers on offense this season.
Can Third-Rounder Brandon Taylor Push Atari Bigby to Start at Strong Safety?
The Chargers' one big move during the draft came when they traded up in the third round to select Taylor.
General manager A.J. Smith revealed to CBS Sports' Clark Judge that the team intended to "go on the attack" to land him as soon as the third round began. It took a while, but they did get their guy.
Taylor still has to overcome Atari Bigby, who ran with the starters during OTAs. If the team is mixing Taylor in more often with the starters during the minicamp, it could be a sign that they will give him every chance to beat out Bigby in training camp and the preseason.
Will Edwin Baker Do Enough to Make the Team?
When the Chargers selected Baker near the very end of the draft, it looked like he had a shot to make the final 53-man roster if the Chargers decided to carry a third tailback or if he could outperform Curtis Brinkley in training camp and the preseason.
Now that the team has added Ronnie Brown to the mix, Baker may have to lower his aim to landing a practice-squad spot. The number of minicamp reps Baker gets and which unit(s) he gets them with will tell a lot about where the Chargers are in his evaluation.
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