San Diego Chargers 2013 Mock Draft: Predictions After First Week of Free Agency
San Diego Chargers GM Tom Telesco has played it safe in free agency, nabbing young players at bargain prices.
Telesco has stated before that he isn't too fond of making big moves in free agency just yet, opting to build his team through the draft instead.
As draft week quickly approaches, some needs have remained the same, while other positions have suddenly grown quite thin. San Diego lost two starters to other teams in free agency while releasing several others to increase cap space.
The team's mock draft has changed somewhat from the beginning of the offseason, so here is an updated look after the first week of free agency.
Round 1 (Pick 11)
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Pick: Lane Johnson (OT), Oklahoma
The massive 6'9", 330-pound Dunlap started 12 games at left tackle for the Eagles in 2012—the most in his five-year career. Dunlap isn't an instant starter from day one, but he will definitely challenge to play either side of the line.
Rinehart is a sixth-year pro who played just seven games last season after suffering an ankle injury that placed him on the injured reserve list. The 27-year-old is reunited with his former position coach from Buffalo in Joe D'Allesandris. Rinehart's chances of landing a starting role are much greater with the departure of Louis Vasquez to Denver.
Round 1 Analysis: In Round 1, the needs remain the same for the Chargers. Even though Jared Gaither (OT) and Jeromey Clary (OT) still hold roster spots with the team, San Diego is in desperate need of an upgrade at both positions.
Offensive guard is also a dire situation. With Vasquez gone and Tyronne Green (OG) still unsigned, the Chargers have no current starters left on the roster to man the inside of the O-line.
Oklahoma's Lane Johnson has been penciled in at No. 11 on numerous mock drafts, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a guard prospect taken here—Alabama's Chance Warmack or North Carolina's Johnathan Cooper.
Round 2 (Pick 45)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Pick: Xavier Rhodes (CB), Florida State
FA Activity: San Diego signed former Jacksonville Jaguars CB Derek Cox to a four-year contract and claimed ex-New Orleans Saints CB Johnny Patrick.
Cox started 12 games last season and led the team with four interceptions. The 26-year-old has averaged four picks in three of his four seasons with the Jags.
Cox will likely land one of the starting slots with Antoine Cason taking off to Arizona and Quentin Jammer unlikely to return with a new deal.
Round 2 Analysis: In Round 2, the Chargers should really address a secondary that will lose both its starting cornerbacks. Cox is a very nice pickup and I like the idea of Shareece Wright getting an opportunity to win a starting job, but there's still a need for another cover guy.
Xavier Rhodes is a tall corner with good cover skills capable of defending bigger receivers. If the Chargers don't go after a corner in Round 2, I'd expect them to continue adding depth to the line.
Round 3 (Pick 76)
USA TODAY Sports
The Pick: Kevin Reddick (ILB), North Carolina
FA Activity: After the release of veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes, the Chargers failed to bring in a replacement. As it stands right now, Jonas Mouton is looking like a possibility to compete for the spot alongside Donald Butler (ILB).
Round 3 Analysis: Spikes was a huge part of the team's defense, especially as a run-stuffer. His production will be sorely missed, but San Diego has to find a suitable replacement quickly.
Kevin Reddick fits nicely in San Diego's 3-4 scheme, but he also has the athleticism to move outside as a pass-rusher if need be.
Round 4 (Pick 107)
USA TODAY Sports
The Pick: Bennie Logan (DT), LSU
FA Activity: San Diego released Antonio Garay to free up more cap space, and the team still hasn't made a deal with Aubrayo Franklin.
Round 4 Analysis: With no true starter on the roster as a lock for the D-tackle spot, I see the Chargers picking up help in the middle rounds for a space-eating D-lineman.
Bennie Logan has the size to plug the middle, plus the quickness and athleticism to make something happen in the backfield. There's also a little connection between the Chargers and LSU's No. 18 jersey. Jacob Hester and Brandon Taylor were privileged enough to rep the No. 18 tradition during their careers and both ended up becoming Chargers.
Round 5 (Pick 138)
Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images
The Pick: Marcus Davis (WR), Virginia Tech
FA Activity: San Diego didn't make any changes to its receiving corps, but a healed Vincent Brown completely changes the outlook of the unit's future in 2013.
Round 5 Analysis: In Round 5, San Diego should be looking for help in regards to skill positions. Running back and receiver could use more depth even though starters are pretty much set.
Telesco enjoys building through the draft, so a project like Marcus Davis would be right up his alley. The former quarterback has a lot of potential worth exploring. He has the size coaches love and decent speed, but his receiver skills need more work.
Round 6 (Pick 169)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Pick: Robert Lester (S), Alabama
FA Activity: Atari Bigby was let go to free up cap space, leaving the starting job to former third-round pick Brandon Taylor. However, Taylor suffered a pretty severe knee injury toward the end of the season. He'll have to work extra hard to return back healthy in 2013.
Round 6 Analysis: In Round 6, I could see the Chargers picking up some help at safety as an insurance policy for Taylor. I'm confident Taylor has the talent to step up in the role and play alongside Eric Weddle, but his knee injury is concerning.
Alabama's Robert Lester has experience playing in a top-ranked program and had a good season, finishing 2012 with 48 tackles and four interceptions.
Round 7 (Pick 205)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
The Pick: Spencer Ware (RB), LSU
FA Activity: The Chargers re-signed Ronnie Brown and added dynamic rusher Danny Woodhead from the New England Patriots. San Diego also claimed former Arizona Cardinal Fozzy Whitaker.
Round 7 Analysis: In Round 7, the Chargers have one last crack to address a need of depth at the skill positions. Personally, I like the trio of Ryan Mathews, Woodhead and Brown going into next season, but I feel like the team could benefit from a big bruiser in the mix.
Mathews, Woodhead and Brown are all quick with good hands out of the backfield, but a change of pace with a bruiser like LSU's Spencer Ware could be the piece this unit is missing.