Is an offensive tackle like Lane Johnson the only option for San Diego in the first round?
If the San Diego Chargers want to make a trip to East Rutherford, N.J.—the site of next year’s Super Bowl—then the team is in need of offensive line help.
Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is one guy that the team could go after in the upcoming NFL draft. He showed during Senior Bowl week that he could handle defenders from BCS schools, not just players from the Mid-American Conference. Fisher’s dominance of top-notch rushers like Texas’ Alex Okafor solidified his status as a high first-round talent. His performance probably also propelled him out of reach for the Chargers, who are sitting with the No. 11 overall pick in .
With the top two offensive tackles likely gone, should San Diego pick the third-best offensive tackle in Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson? Or should they go in a completely different direction and address other team needs?
The following slideshow features a seven-round 2013 mock draft for the San Diego Chargers.
It is so tempting to go with Lane Johnson here, but the San Diego secondary needs help, too. Xavier Rhodes, who is one of the top cornerbacks in this draft class, is worth consideration, but picking the top safety helps the entire defense.
Vaccaro was the leader of the Longhorn defensive secondary, and he led Texas in tackles this year with 92. He has ideal size (6'1", 218 pounds) for either safety spot, and he even possesses the ability to play as the nickel cornerback on slot receivers as well.
Vaccaro is an aggressive but solid tackler, and he is able to offer run support or lay the big hit on receivers.
Pairing Vaccaro with Eric Weddle immediately gives the Chargers an impressive backend to the defense.
Jordan Poyer would compete for a starting spot immediately
Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Even without their two starting cornerbacks potentially heading into the free agency market, the Chargers would still be wise to look for upgrades at the position.
Poyer is quickly rising up the draft boards thanks to an outstanding showing during Senior Bowl week.
During Senior Bowl practices, Poyer demonstrated that he could jam receivers or play off-coverage. At 6'0", he has the height to challenge the league’s tallest receivers, and he showed a knack for finding the ball and breaking up passes at Oregon State.
Poyer would challenge for a starting spot immediately and could help bolster a weak pass defense in San Diego.
Charger fans would love to see anyone but Jeromey Clary on the line.
Finally, an offensive lineman.
Chargers fans might be grumbling about the lack of a top-notch left tackles in this mock draft, but instead of reaching for one who is not considered a top-15 value (like Johnson), San Diego gets a former-first round talent with the No. 76 overall selection.
Williams has the size (6'7", 315 pounds) to be a left tackle, but he specializes in run blocking, which makes him a much better fit at right tackle. Chargers fans would not be upset if current right tackle Jeromey Clary was benched, and Williams would have the ability to push for the starting spot immediately.
Williams was considered a potential first-round tackle before the 2012 season started, but a shoulder injury forced him to sit out the final four games for the Tar Heels. And despite the shortened season, ACC coaches named Williams as an honorable mention All-Conference selection.
David Quessenberry showed scouts he belongs in the NFL during his practices in the Senior Bowl
He is a little raw and inconsistent, but Quessenberry flashed moments of brilliance during Senior Bowl week, especially in the one-on-one drills.
The former Spartan played everywhere along the line, except center, during the All-Star practices and, at times, looked like the best lineman on the field. He was aggressive and finished his blocks well.
Qussenberry played left tackle at San Jose State, and despite ideal height (6'6"), he is very light for an offensive lineman (290 pounds). Yet he is nasty and he hustles, which are qualities that the San Diego offensive line—and the team in general—truly lacked last season.
He looked better at guard than at tackle during Senior Bowl week, and if he moves inside to a guard position, Charger fans could see the second-coming of Kris Dielman.
Beauharnais may have been overshawdowed by his teammate, but opposing teams knew where he was on the field.
Takeo Spikes is 36 years old, and the Chargers need to get someone to play next to Donald Butler at linebacker.
While Khaseem Greene garnered all of the praise (including the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year Award this season), his Rutgers teammate Steve Beauharnais played just as well. He is great against the run (16 tackles for loss) and is good in pass coverage (three interceptions).
He is tough and reliable, having played in every game during his four years at Rutgers, and has good technique. He is a little undersized (6'2", 230 pounds), but he hustles and gets the most out of his athletic ability.
Beauharnais played as the strong side inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense for four years at Rutgers, so the learning curve for the same position in the Chargers 3-4 defensive scheme should be minimal.
Adrian Bushell (21) made the most out of his second chance while at Louisville.
Adrian Bushell has the talent to be a top-end cornerback, and it was his off-the-field issues that derailed his career at Florida State.
Bushell admitted that he had a bad attitude and skipped study sessions, showed up late to classes and mouthed off to coaches. He played two seasons at FSU before heading to a Texas community college to get his act together. He then eventually landed at Louisville.
At Louisville, Bushell earned 2012 All-Big East First Team honors with 61 tackles, 13 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and one interception. He also earned his degree, showing that, sometimes, it pays off to give someone a second chance.
Robbie Rouse had enough moves for his size to become the all-time Fresno State rushing leader.
The Chargers have not had a dynamic, change-of-pace back since Darren Sproles left for New Orleans two years ago. With the 5'6" Rouse, the Chargers get that Sproles-sized change-of-pace runner that they have so sorely missed.
Despite his diminutive size, Rouse was the featured running back at Fresno State and finished as the Bulldogs career rushing leader with 4,625 yards. Former Bulldog and current Charger Ryan Mathews rushed for 3,280 yards while at Fresno State.
Rouse is small and shifty, but he is also durable. He needs to work on his blitz-recognition and pass protection, but he could help in a San Diego running attack that has gone downhill in the past few years.