With the NFL draft just weeks away, the San Diego Chargers are looking at every prospect they feel could help the team. Sure, talent is talent, but which players will benefit those around them the most?
It's clear the Chargers need to improve in many areas, including the offensive line, linebacker position and the secondary. Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy will team up for their first draft experience, where they would like to rebuild this team from.
The Chargers still have incredible players in Philip Rivers, Eric Weddle, Antonio Gates, Donald Butler and Ryan Mathews, but there needs to be a necessary upgrade to the roster.
Here are a few players that would be perfect additions to the San Diego Chargers.
Lane Johnson should be the third offensive tackle taken in this year's draft. For the past couple of weeks, it has been an almost consensus fate for Johnson to be drafted by the San Diego Chargers, according to multiple sites. Well, that might not be the case anymore.
Multiple experts are now predicting the Arizona Cardinals to take Johnson at the seventh spot. Seven of the eight experts on CBS Sports are picking the Cardinals to take Johnson. The other says he'll fall to the Chargers. Arizona looks as if it will draft an offensive lineman. It may be Johnson or it may be a guard like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper.
If Johnson is available for the Chargers at 11, they will take him. Johnson has quick feet that will allow him to transition well in the NFL. He excels in pass blocking, which is a huge area of concern for Rivers and the Chargers.
Other Offensive Tackle Possibilities: D.J. Fluker, Alabama (First Round); Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin (Fifth Round).
When it gets to the Chargers at No. 11, they should look to address the offensive line first. If somehow Johnson or even Eric Fisher, which will likely not happen, drop to 11, San Diego will take one. If not, it will be faced with a decision. They could take an offensive guard or take a reach and choose Fluker, the next best offensive tackle.
Defensive tackle is a weak spot on the Chargers roster. With Aubrayo Franklin and Antonio Garay now on different teams, San Diego must make an addition. Antonio Johnson, former Colts defensive tackle, visited with the Chargers earlier this week, according to Pro Football Talk.
Star Lotulelei is an outstanding player from Utah. He is explosive off the line with the power to rip through blockers. After a recent scare involving his heart, he seems to be just fine. If the Chargers can't take an offensive tackle, they should select Lotulelei to anchor the young and impressive defensive line.
Other Defensive Tackle Possibilities: Jesse Williams, Alabama; Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State (First Round). Everett Dawkins, Florida State (Fifth Round).
The Chargers need to solidify the offensive line, even after their recent additions of Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger and King Dunlap. Tom Telesco may not want to take an offensive guard very early, but if he does, Larry Warford in the second round would be a perfect fit.
His build makes it difficult for defenders to get around him. Warford is a little slow, but with time comes speed. He would be Kris Dielman's replacement.
Other Offensive Guard Possibilities: Chance Warmack, Alabama (First Round); J.C. Tretter, Cornell (Fourth Round).
Trevardo Williams would be another possibility in the second round. The Chargers have lost Antwan Barnes and will not re-sign Shaun Phillips. That leaves Melvin Ingram as the only pass-rushing outside linebacker on the roster. No, Larry English doesn't count.
Mel Kiper said this about Trevardo Williams (h/t Desmond Conner, The Hartford Courant):
Trevardo Williams is in the third- or fourth-round discussion. As a pass rusher Trevardo Williams will fit those 3-4 teams very ideally for as strong as he is and as quick as he is off the edge.
Other Outside Linebacker Possibilities: Jarvis Jones, Georgia (First Round); Jelani Jenkins, Florida (Fourth Round).
Almost every season, a standout comes from San Diego State. Vincent Brown and Ronnie Hillman have been the most recent studs from SDSU. Leon McFadden will be that player in the 2013 NFL draft.
After losing Antoine Cason and not re-signing Quentin Jammer, San Diego is in need of another cornerback, at least for depth. Shareece Wright and Marcus Gilchrist may be ready to start, but their health issues scare me. Derek Cox will start at cornerback if he is healthy without a doubt. Cox is a much better player than both Jammer and Cason, but he also has trouble staying healthy.
Leon McFadden would be a perfect fit as a slot cornerback. He doesn't have the height of some corners and lacks an elite tackling ability, but his upside is tremendous. If San Diego feels it needs more depth at the cornerback position and are willing to draft a player early, Leon McFadden wouldn't have to go far.
Other Cornerback Possibilities: Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (First Round); David Amerson, North Carolina State. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (Second Round).
A recent article from UT San Diego reported that Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso visited with the Chargers Monday. San Diego eyes him as a potential second- or third-round selection. It's a big hole to fill with the loss of Takeo Spikes, but a player like Alonso would be a perfect addition.
CBS Sports compares Alonso to Arizona Cardinals standout Daryl Washington based on his athleticism and style. Alonso would play alongside a rising star in Donald Butler, adding strength and muscle to Mike McCoy's toughness regime.
Other Inside Linebacker Possibilities: Nico Johnson, Alabama (Fourth Round); Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (Fifth Round).
This is my favorite of them all. Last season, I wanted the Chargers to take Harrison Smith more than any player. I had a feeling he wouldn't fall from the first round, so they should've taken a risk and drafted him early. Mark Barron, who was drafted seventh overall, was another safety from 2012 that has already made a name for himself.
The Chargers are still searching for a strong safety. San Diego has one of the best free safeties in the league in Eric Weddle, but the secondary still needs consistency. Kenny Vaccaro is a first-round prospect and is compared to, ironically, Eric Weddle. With perfect size, speed and athleticism, Vaccaro finds himself as the top safety overall.
When it gets to the Chargers at pick No. 11 and Lane Johnson is not available, they should take a chance with Vaccaro. He is a star in the making.
Other Strong Safety Possibilities: JJ Wilcox, Georgia Southern (Third Round); Earl Wolff, North Carolina State (Sixth Round).