San Diego Chargers Mock Draft 2013: Who Are the Experts Projecting to San Diego?

Marcelo VillaCorrespondent IIFebruary 11, 2013

San Diego Chargers Mock Draft 2013: Who Are the Experts Projecting to San Diego?

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    The draft experts all agree on one thing this year: the San Diego Chargers are in serious need of a homerun with their first round pick in 2013. Who the experts are projecting that player to be, however, is something that they can't agree on.

    Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay aren't the only draft gurus that are busy this time of the year, so why not take the opportunity to see what the other experts are saying that San Diego will do come draft day?

    After looking at 10 of the top sports sites on the web, here is a breakdown of who the experts are projecting to go to San Diego in the first round of their latest mock drafts.

Bleacher Report

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    The Analyst: Matt Miller

    The Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

    Miller's Take: Bleacher Report's NFL draft lead writer has Oklahoma's Lane Johnson being selected in Round 1 by the Chargers in his latest mock draft

    "Johnson has played all over the map, but what you like about him is his athletic ability and speed. Lane could stand to gain a little weight, but I was immediately impressed with his quickness off the ball and his technique when asked to anchor on the edge."

    My Take: Miller is one of the few analysts who believe that Central Michigan standout OT Eric Fisher won't be available at pick No. 11, and I'm beginning to think that this is a realistic prediction. The next best tackle available may be Johnson, and though doesn't have a wealth of experience at the position, he makes up for it with raw talent.

NFL.com

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    The Analyst: Daniel Jeremiah

    The Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

    Jeremiah's Take: NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has the most up-to-date mock draft among his NFL.com peers—published Feb. 8 to be exact. Like Matt Miller, Jeremiah has also caught on to the fact that Eric Fisher's availability at No. 11 is highly unlikely, which is why he has Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson landing with the Bolts.

    "I haven't been shy in expressing my feelings about Johnson's ability. He is just scratching the surface of how good he can become. The former junior college quarterback dominated at the Senior Bowl and would be an enormous upgrade at left tackle for the Chargers."

    My Take: I haven't heard too many negative thoughts on Johnson as of late, and his draft stock is rising after the Senior Bowl, so this would be a solid pick.

CBS Sports

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    The Analysts: Rob Rang and Dane Brugler

    The Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

    Rang's/Brugler's Take: The great minds at CBS Sports think alike at pick No. 11, as both Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have OT Eric Fisher going to the Chargers in their mocks.

    "After a terrific effort at the Senior Bowl, San Diego would be fortunate to have Fisher still on the board. Often compared to former Chippewa Joe Staley, taken in the first round by San Francisco back in 2007 and the team's starting left tackle ever since, Fisher boasts even greater upside due to his better strength and toughness." - Rob Rang

    "The Chargers have questions at both tackle spots and while they hope Jared Gaither is part of the solution, his durability remains to be a concern. Fisher cemented his top-15 status at the Senior Bowl and it wouldn't be surprising to see him go much higher than this." - Dane Brugler

    My Take: Don't get me wrong, I think Fisher is a perfect fit for the Chargers but the chances of him being there at No. 11 are slim.

USA Today

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    The Analyst: Tony Pauline

    The Pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

    Pauline's Take: This pick isn't as far out of left field as many might think. Sure, the offensive line is in shambles, but cornerback is going to be a need as well for San Diego. Pauline's mock actually has Eric Fisher being selected at pick No. 7 by the Arizona Cardinals, forcing San Diego to pick up Milliner.

    "Starting cornerback Quentin Jammer is 33, and his game has deteriorated. Milliner brings much-needed youth and talent to the position."

    My Take: Chargers' starting corner Antoine Cason was one of two unrestricted free agents that the Chargers have reached out to so far this offseason, according to U-T San Diego's Kevin Acee—and Quentin Jammer was not the other one. It's possible the Chargers will find their next starting corner in a player as talented as Milliner.

San Diego Union-Tribune

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    The Analyst: Eddie Brown

    The Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

    Brown's Take: The San Diego Union-Tribune's mock is a little outdated considering it was last updated at the beginning of January, but Brown's pick still makes sense. He did, however, strongly dislike the pairing of the Chargers and either Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson.

    "If the Chargers can’t land a tackle, Warmack is the next best thing. I know some Chargers fans are thinking Fisher would be a better fit if he's here. He wouldn't and neither would Oklahoma's Lane Johnson."

    My Take: I do like Warmack as a fit with San Diego because of his strength as a run-blocker, but I still think that the team should take Fisher or Johnson if they're still available. I agree with Brown when he explains that Fisher and Johnson benefited from top prospects Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan returning to school, but that doesn't reduce their draft stock in terms of what they can bring to a team.

Sports Illustrated

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    The Analyst: Don Banks

    The Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

    Banks' Take: Banks is weary to the fact that Lotulelei may not be available at the No. 11 slot, but he views Eric Fisher as a suitable alternative in his mock.

    "This might wind up far too low a slot for the talented Lotulelei, who is both versatile and athletic. As the first round's second 10 unfolds, the Chargers should be in good position to help themselves with either a defensive lineman like Lotulelei or a much-needed offensive tackle like Central Michigan's Eric Fisher."

    My Take: I'm sold on Lotulelei as a top-five pick, so I would be shocked to see him slip this far. The Utah product would be a perfect addition to an already stout front-seven, but the offensive line is a bigger problem for San Diego than the D-line.

Fox Sports

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    The Analyst: Peter Schrager

    The Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

    Schrager's Take: No surprise here. Schrager looks at Fisher as the solution to San Diego's prayers in his mock, just as many other analysts do.

    "The Chargers have a new head coach, new offense and a new mindset coming into 2013. Giving Philip Rivers a reliable, big body to block for him on either the left or the right side of his offensive line is a wise move."

    My Take: There are no complaints on my end with this pick. If Fisher is here, I would see it as a blessing from the draft gods. In the event that this actually happens, the team needs to take the guy and make it his job to keep Philip Rivers upright in 2013.

Rotoworld

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    The Analyst: Josh Norris

    The Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

    Norris' Take: The Eric Fisher bandwagon continues. Norris, however, thinks that it may be a stretch to see Fisher fall to San Diego in his mock.

    "The Chippewa finds contact through his hands with great extension and control. An immediate starter on the left side, Fisher might be worth trading up for."

    My Take: Norris raises an interesting scenario for the Chargers. Why not trade up? Is Fisher worth going all in for? Personally, I wouldn't pull the trigger on a trade to move up, but I'm not Tom Telesco.

Sporting News

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    The Analyst: Vinnie Iyer

    The Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

    Iyer's Take: Here is yet another fan of the Central Michigan stud at No. 11. Vinnie Iyer is set on Fisher for the Bolts in his mock.

    "If the Chargers plan to do a lot more with Philip Rivers and the running game under the new combination of coach Mike McCoy and coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, they need a rock at left tackle. Fisher would be a no-brainer here."

    My Take: Like Iyer put it, taking Fisher is a no-brainer if he's still left on the board. Ryan Mathews is going to need some to room to run and Philip Rivers is going to need some time to throw.

ESPN

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    The Analyst: Bill Williamson

    The Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

    Williamson's Take: I know what you're thinking: Bill Williamson? Where's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay?

    The truth is: unless you're an ESPN Insider—a paid subscription service—you won't get to see who Kiper and McShay have the Chargers grabbing at No. 11. Fortunately, Bolts From The Bluean SB Nation community—revealed that Kiper has San Diego selecting North Carolina OG Johnathan Cooper and McShay has Johnson in their latest mock drafts.

    Williamson isn't a renowned draft expert but he does cover the Chargers all year long for ESPN, and he certainly knows what they need in a draft pick. That player is the versatile OT from Oklahoma. Williamson updates his mock draft after previously going with Alabama's Dee Milliner. 

    "Left tackle is the Chargers’ greatest need. There isn’t a ton of top level left tackle talent this year. Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher also had a great week at the Senior Bowl, but he may be off the board when the Chargers pick. Johnson could be a fine consolation prize."

    My Take: I can't argue with Williamson here. Johnson can come in and start the first game of the season, and he's the best option available for the Chargers if Eric Fisher isn't there.