2009 NFL Draft: San Diego Chargers

Jarred PowellCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 11:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game on January 11, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The San Diego Chargers ended the 2008 NFL season with a playoff lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargers had an overall record of 8-8 and won another AFC West title.

In a year where Chargers were picked by many to win the AFC and the Super Bowl, they disappointed, starting off slow and needing to beat their division rivals, the Denver Broncos, to get into the playoffs.

The Chargers collapse can attributed to two things:

1. No Lorenzo Neal - The first thing the Chargers need to do this off season is simple: get a fullback. Lorenzo Neal was released, and LaDainian Tomlinson saw his numbers disappear. Coach Turner emphasised that the team wasn't going to use the fullback as much. It's obvious that you need to because your star running back is getting punished and not saying that he lacks a fullback.

2. No Pass Rush - Shawn Merriman was lost for the season last year. This forced teams to double team Shawn Phillips and attack the weak side of the Chargers defense. The lack of a pass rush put added pressure on the secondary to produce.

The Chargers need to look at filling the void left behind by offensive guard Mike Goff and defensive end Igor Olshansky, so the offensive and defensive line should be a priority for the Chargers. Both receivers, Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson, will be free agents in 2010, so wide receiver could be an option. Third, LaDainian Tomlinson is 30 and Darren Sproles is playing under a one-year franchise tag, so running back opportunities should be explored.

San Diego has eight picks in this years draft, with two coming in the first 112. They shouldn't be careless with either of these picks because they will need these picks to contribute immediately.

The Chargers need to keep focus on the offensive and defense line. Rey Maualuga from USC or Penn State's Aaron Maybin seem like good draft picks should they be available for the Chargers. On the offensive line, Oklahoma's Duke Robinson or Herman Johnson from LSU will be good picks to make up for the loss of Mike Goff.

If San Diego is going to go after a running back, the pick should be Georgia' s Knowshon Moreno. He's a proven durable back, who lacks great speed, but runs a 4.5, has great instincts, and is also durable. Something I can't say about Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells who was hurt his last year in college.

If a team is trying to get a late round pick, the Chargers should entertain a trade for a quality player for the pick. Maybe Braylon Edwards or Lorenzo Neal. There are still a number of free agents that the Chargers can look into getting as well.

The 2008 season is gone and the Chargers still can be the best in the west, but they have to want it and go get it because no one is going to give it to them.