The Chargers would probably love to have left tackle Lane Johnson.
With limited cap space and a plethora of holes on the roster, the San Diego Chargers will go into the 2013 NFL draft needing a few impact players. Despite a few notable misses in the first round, the Chargers haven’t been that bad about finding good players in the draft.
Unfortunately, the Chargers don’t have any extra picks to jump-start the new era under the leadership of Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy. Fortunately for the fans in San Diego, the previous regime didn’t mortgage draft picks for quick fixes and saved those mistakes for free agency.
It will certainly be fun to follow the Chargers as they try to build the roster around quarterback Phillip Rivers. The clock is ticking on Phillip Rivers, so the Chargers are banking on good drafts to help them turnaround the team in a hurry.
At Bleacher Report, we want to make sure you can keep up on all the draft news and rumors about the Chargers as it pertains to their first draft of the new era. Miss something while at work or just need a distraction from work? This is the place where you can catch up on all the latest.
The biggest storylines will also be discussed here alongside a consistently refreshed mock draft to fill any gaps in the news cycle. Be sure to keep coming back as new material will be added regularly.
Jonathan Cooper could be an option for the Chargers if they don't have the opportunity to draft Lane Johnson.
April 10: TE Gavin Escobar will visit with the Chargers on Thursday according to Marty Caswell of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego.
April 9: DE Sam Montgomery visited with the Chargers last week according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.
April 9: OLB Travis Long had a visit with the Chargers according to Gehlken.
April 8: Agent Drew Rosenhaus said he expects the Dolphins to take an offensive tackle in the first round (via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post). The Dolphins draft behind the Chargers, but they have extra picks to trade if they want to move ahead of other tackle-needy teams.
April 3: ILB Kiko Alonso visited the Chargers on April 1st per Gehlken.
April 2: QB Ryan Griffin had dinner with the Chargers and had a private workout according to Tammy Nunez of The Times-Picayune.
March 21: DE Rufus Johnson had a scheduled visit with the Chargers according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com
Dee Milliner seems less likely to land with the Chargers after the signing of Derek Cox.
Round 1, Pick 11 (11): Jonathan Cooper, OG
Round 2, Pick 13 (45): Terron Armstead, OT
Round 3, Pick 14 (76): Leon McFadden, CB
Round 4, Pick 13 (110): Cobi Hamilton, WR
Round 5, Pick 12 (145): Tony Jefferson, S
Round 6, Pick 11 (179): Joe Kruger, DE
Round 7, Pick 15 (221): Rod Sweating, CB
Luke Joeckel is one of three offensive tackles that should go off the board early in the draft.
With every passing day, the odds of Lane Johnson falling to the Chargers seems more and more remote. Penciled in as the Chargers' pick in just about every mock draft for the past two months, Johnson is now primed to go in the top seven overall picks. The Chiefs, Eagles, Lions and Cardinals could all use a franchise left tackle and the Dolphins have the firepower to jump the Chargers for one as well.
Johnson falling to the Chargers could depend on what the Chiefs do at No. 1, where the first quarterback is drafted or if the Dolphins pay the price to move up in the draft. If the Chiefs go with a left tackle at No. 1 overall, there are just too many teams seeking a left tackle for the Chargers to realistically expect one to fall.
If the Chiefs bypass a left tackle, the likelihood of Johnson falling to the Chargers increases if the Dolphins don’t move up to nab him. If a tackle-needy team drafts a quarterback, that may also cause one of the tackles to fall to the Chargers.
The Chargers could decide to move up themselves, but they don’t have the resources to spare. The Chargers are going to have to let the draft come to them and have alternative options should Johnson not be available.
Star Lotulelei would be a good fit for the Chargers defense, but will he fall?
If one of the left tackles isn’t available at No. 11, the Chargers will have to consider other options. Those options may include, but are not limited to: Jonathan Cooper, Star Lotulelei, Dee Milliner, Xavier Rhodes, Kenny Vaccaro or Barkevious Mingo.
Although a bit early for a guard, Cooper would fit the new offensive scheme and be the replacement for Louis Vasquez, who signed with the rival Broncos. The Chargers added King Dunlap via free agency and although the team would probably rather have him play right tackle, he remains an upgrade over what the Chargers had at left tackle last year.
Some people will say that Chance Warmack is better, but he may not be in a scheme that features more zone blocking. Cooper is scheme diverse and some teams (like the Chargers) could have both players on equal ground. Trading down is one option, but there would have to be a team willing to move up.
Lotulelei is probably one of the elite players in the draft and could anchor San Diego’s offensive line. The Chargers jettisoned Antonio Garay and Aubrayo Franklin wasn’t re-signed, which leaves only Cam Thomas at nose tackle. The nice thing about Lotulelei is that he can play inside or outside and would be part of a great front that includes Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes.
Outside of offensive tackle, the Chargers could go in any number of directions and still make the team better. There are a few 3-4 outside linebackers like Mingo that could come in and provide a pass rush, or the Chargers could find a player to insert into a needy secondary like Milliner or Vaccaro. The Chargers clearly aren’t in a bad spot, even if they have to find a tackle later in the draft or start Dunlap.