It’s officially draft season! The free-agency period has settled down and teams have now shifted their focus on the upcoming draft.
For the San Diego Chargers, the draft is going to have a huge factor on how much success the team will have not only in 2013 but also in upcoming years. Former general manager A.J. Smith did not leave Tom Telesco with much to work with as the Chargers have numerous holes to fill.
There is no doubt that Telesco has his work cut out for him heading into his first year at the helm. Here are the biggest questions surrounding the Chargers heading into the NFL draft.
This question will have the biggest affect on how the Chargers play in 2013. It is no question that the Chargers suffered from one of the worst offensive lines in all of the NFL last season. This is one of the biggest reasons why Philip Rivers struggled so much last season and the year before.
Now that Jared Gaither is officially gone, the Chargers' offensive woes still linger over the Chargers. In my opinion, if the Chargers do not address the left tackle position in the draft, it will be a colossal mistake. The Chargers signed some depth in free agency, but they still need more and better talent.
Whether it’s Lane Johnson or Eric Fisher, the Chargers need to draft a starting left tackle. If they can’t find one, King Dunlap will likely be the starter and the Chargers and Rivers are in for another long year.
There is no doubt that the Chargers have one of the best free safeties in the entire league in Eric Weddle, but they need to find a strong safety to play along side of him.
The Atari Bigby experiment did not work out and the Chargers have not re-signed Corey Lynch. With Brandon Taylor recovering from ACL surgery, the Chargers need to find someone either in the draft or bring in someone from the remaining free agents.
Lynch is still available and would make a lot of sense to bring back. He would be familiar with the system and would come at a much cheaper cost than a player such as Quintin Mikell or Kerry Rhodes.
The Chargers could also bring in a player through the draft, but with Brandon Taylor returning, that does not make much sense. They cannot afford to spend a high round (1-4) on a safety due to other needs and the talent level found after that will not be what the Chargers are looking for.
If the Chargers want to contend, they will need to find a safety to play along side of Weddle or the Chargers secondary could be in for a long season.
The Chargers have a very young and talented defense, but they are missing some very important aspects. Middle Linebacker is one of those; the Chargers cut Takeo Spikes opening up the mic linebacker to play alongside rising star Donald Butler.
Jonas Mouton and Demorrio Williams are all still on the roster, but they are unproven and would struggle playing every down. The Chargers will most likely not address this issue in free agency, meaning that they will most likely need to draft a player to fill this need.
A player such as Alec Ogletree or Kevin Minter could be available when the Chargers make their selection in the second round and Jonathan Bostic might slip to the third round.
I’m sure the Chargers will want to add an inside linebacker in the draft; it will just come down to the talent and what round they are willing to do it in.
This question doesn’t have a direct affect on the draft, but it should definitely be mentioned while discussing the Chargers' upcoming season. The health of running back Ryan Mathews has caused fans and the organization headaches for Mathews’ whole career.
Most people (me included) believe that Mathews, if healthy, can be a top-tier running back in the NFL. The hype surrounding Mathews heading into the season last year caused too high of expectations and once again his health let him down.
A lot of the Chargers offense is going to rely on the running game. A running game will force teams to bring more defenders in the box, allowing Philip Rivers more space downfield and an ability to work out of play action.
With the signing of Danny Woodhead, the Chargers have a little wiggle room with Mathews, but if he is injured or continues to fumble the ball, the Chargers offense will once again return to being one-dimensional.
Most people know and talk about the Chargers' weakness at the tackle position, but the Chargers are almost as weak at the guard position.
The Chargers lost Louis Vasquez to the Broncos and have yet to re-sign Tyronne Green. San Diego signed Chad Rinehart who will most likely compete for a starting job. The Chargers could in fact add both a tackle and a guard with their first two picks in the draft.
The problem with this way of drafting is the Chargers have a ton of other areas where they need to draft talent. If the Chargers use their first two picks on the offensive line, they will need to address either nose tackle, linebacker or safety in free agency. If they do not do this, the defense will suffer from a lack of a dominant front seven or a weak secondary.
This is the problem that Tom Telesco will have to deal with as the draft approaches, too many holes to fill with limited picks.