The 2013 NFL free-agency period is still very young, but the Chargers have added players to their roster that will help set up the 2013 NFL draft. New general manager Tom Telesco told the members of the media that he is going to build the team through the draft and add complement players through free agency. So far, that is exactly what he has done with the exception of Derek Cox, who will be an every down corner for the Bolts in 2013.
As the clock ticks closer and closer to the NFL draft, the Chargers will need to switch their focus from free agency to the draft. With many NFL hopefuls partaking in their pro days, the Chargers' draft board is beginning to set up.
Here is a look at five players who have found themselves rising on the Chargers' draft board either due to some free-agency signings or because of their performance at their pro days.
The Chargers are currently in the mix to sign former Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Winston. But if they are unable to add Winston through free agency, expect the Chargers to add multiple offensive tackles through the draft. One player that is making a rise in the Chargers' draft board is David Quessenberry.
Quessenberry was unknown but made a big splash at the Senior Bowl, where he showed that his size and athleticism can make him an everyday offensive lineman in the NFL. Quessenberry was impressive at the combine, recording 25 repetitions on the bench press.
Quessenberry can play both the guard and tackle positions, which makes him an even more valuable asset for the Chargers, who are in need of a new offensive line group. Expect the Chargers to address this need with their first selection in the draft and possibly add one or two more offensive linemen in the draft.
If you look at the Chargers' current roster, one area that catches your eye as a glaring weakness is the strong safety position.
Brandon Taylor will not be ready for Week 1 as he continues to rehab his torn ACL. Corey Lynch remains unsigned, making the safety position one that will be addressed in the draft. One name the Chargers should be paying attention to is Shamarko Thomas from Syracuse University.
Thomas is currently listed as No. 4 on Mel Kiper’s big board for safeties. Thomas is a smaller safety standing at just 5'10" but is one of the most efficient tacklers in the draft. He would complement Eric Weddle very well and would give the Chargers much needed depth in the secondary.
Thomas will be a hot commodity at the draft and the Chargers will keep their eye on Thomas as they look to beef up their coverage unit.
With Takeo Spikes gone, the Chargers now have a need to add another inside linebacker to play next to Donald Butler. The vacancy left by Spikes is a big one and the Chargers have not made the effort to fill that hole in free agency, meaning it will be almost a requirement to add an inside linebacker in the draft.
Reddick has size and speed to make it at the next level and showed in his senior year that he is great in run and pass defense. Reddick finished his senior year at North Carolina with 85 total tackles and first in the ACC in tackles for loss per game with 1.54.
Reddick is a beast and would form a dynamic duo with Butler. Tom Telesco will be sure to keep his eye on Reddick come draft day.
Sheldon Richardson is on the rise of every draft board in the NFL right now following his performance at the NFL combine and his pro day. Richardson, who weighed in at just under 300 pounds, ran his 40-yard dash in 4.82 and 4.72 at his pro day.
The Chargers lost Aubrayo Franklin to the Indianapolis Colts and Antonio Garay to the New York Jets, leaving Cam Thomas as the starter by default at nose tackle. Thomas struggles stopping the run, one thing that Richardson can come in and help with right away.
Richardson has the size and athleticism to complement his strength (30 reps on the bench press at the combine) to arrive in San Diego and start Week 1. The Chargers are young and talented on the defensive side of the ball and adding Richardson would be another great young piece in an already good defense.
Dallas Thomas is a player much like David Quessenberry in the sense that his biggest asset is his versatility. Thomas started 25 games at left tackle for the Tennessee Volunteers and in his senior year, he played left guard.
The reason that Thomas should be on the Chargers’ radar is that he is going to be a late-round selection. Once he is on the roster, however, he counts as two offensive linemen because of his ability to play both spots.
The Chargers offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL last season and as an organization, San Diego needs to completely overhaul its current situation. One way of doing that is plugging in guys who are talented enough to play multiple positions. With the Chargers' history, who knows who will get hurt and leave holes on the offensive line.