Chargers 2013 Mock Draft: Final 7-Round Predictions for San Diego
The biggest and most glaring area of concern is obviously across the offensive line. The line allowed quarterback Philip Rivers to be sacked 49 times last season and failed to provide adequate protection. Offensive tackle and offensive guard are positions sure to be looked at early and often as the draft progresses.
However, the Chargers' needs are not limited to the offensive side of the ball. Cornerback is a position that could really use some depth and linebacker is another area due for some upgrades.
With all these things being considered, it's time to release the latest Chargers mock draft. Will the team go right after a left tackle in the first round? How long until Telesco's attention turns to the defense?
Let's answer these questions and more, starting in the first round.
Round 1, Pick 11: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Chargers absolutely have to address the offensive tackle position in this draft and the odds say that it will happen sooner rather than later.
Lane Johnson is the consensus third best OT in this draft behind Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, but he may actually have the highest upside of the bunch. He is 6'6", 303 pounds and explosive at the point of attack.
Johnson has quick feet that help him keep pace with shiftier defensive ends and strong hands that help him to battle with anyone. What is perhaps most intriguing about Johnson is the fact that he is a converted quarterback, tight end and defensive end. Johnson has done a little bit of everything throughout his career.
The big question here is if Johnson will stay on the board long enough for the Chargers to make the selection. Offensive tackles are supposed to be taken fast and furious in the first round, but Johnson will hang around until pick No.11.
If for some reason he doesn't, expect San Diego to go with either Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack.
Round 2, Pick 45: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
With the needed offensive tackle in tow, the Chargers then look to fill another gaping hole on the offensive line by bringing in offensive guard Larry Warford out of Kentucky.
This massive 6'6", 332-pound player is behind the top guards in the draft because he is not as explosive out of the blocks, but with his frame it is understandable. Warford is still imposingly powerful and actually has quick feet for a player his size. He is great in pass protection, but excels once he gets his momentum going forward on downhill rushing plays.
He is capable of starting and excelling immediately for San Diego. Warford is a three-time All-SEC second-team selection and he has made 37 starts over the last three seasons. This pick would show a true dedication to the offensive line, as it would mean back-to-back linemen had been selected by the Chargers.
NFL.com's scouting report had this to say about Warford:
Capable of getting off tackle block to pick up delayed blitzer. Flashes quickness to trap and get around the tackle to lead run plays. Gets down quickly to cut block and take out linebackers in the hole on traps. Hustles downfield to help out ballcarriers when needed. Plays with some attitude, brings some pop to his punch when helping his tackle against a pass rusher.
Those are the kind of traits that San Diego could use in a guard, and Warford would immediately compete with Chad Rinehart and Rich Ohrnberger on the depth chart.
Round 3, Pick 76: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
There is going to be a lot of turnover for the Chargers' defensive backfield, as San Diego could be looking at new corners on both sides of the field. Antoine Cason has moved on to the Arizona Cardinals and Quentin Jammer is still sitting in free agency.
San Diego does have Derek Cox and Marcus Gilchrist ready to contribute, but neither is a standout corner and depth is sorely needed at the position. It would be nice if the Chargers could make a push for Xavier Rhodes or Desmond Trufant earlier in the draft, but that remains unlikely.
Which means that the middle rounds are where this issue is most likely to be addressed. Logan Ryan could go as high as the back end of the second round, but he fits nicely here with San Diego in the middle of the third.
Ryan has sound size for the position at 5'11", 191 pounds, and he constantly makes the most of his frame. He is fluid in his movement and is at his best when in man coverage. Ryan sticks like glue to receivers and rarely allows them to get positioning on him.
He does not have great speed and he can get overaggressive, but that aggression is something that can be ironed out at the next level. There is not much that can be done about speed, but he is fully capable of staying with receivers.
Ryan's skill set would be hard for the Chargers to pass up at this juncture in the draft.
Round 4, Pick 110: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State
Offensive linemen have been taken and the cornerback position has been addressed, so the next logical hole to fill is at defensive tackle. The way this mock is shaping, the Chargers are able to fill huge holes without reaching for players way above their projected value.
That trend should continue with Brandon Williams out of Missouri Southern State. The 6'1", 335-pound defensive tackle is a fringe third-round/fourth-round pick, but he has extreme value at this portion of the draft. Williams may have played at a small school, but his strength is overwhelming. He frequently dominated (admittedly lesser) competition, shoving linemen backward and forcing his way into the backfield.
However, his greatest asset may actually be his versatility. He has the size, strength and skill set to line up as the nose in a 3-4 scheme, but he is also capable of lining up in the five-technique defensive end position.
His final season with the Lions was an extremely impressive one, as Williams registered 8.5 sacks to go along with 68 tackles, 31 of them of the solo variety, including 16.5 for a loss of 58 yards.
Round 5, Pick 145: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M
A somewhat quiet need that may be developing on the Chargers' roster is at linebacker. Shaun Phillips is an unrestricted free agent, Jarrett Johnson is not getting any younger at 32 years old and Larry English has been mediocre at best since joining the league four years ago.
Melvin Ingram is obviously developing nicely, but more is needed. There is also a void left by Takeo Spikes. Roll all this together and there is a need for a versatile, swing linebacker that can do many things on the field. This is where Sean Porter could come into play. He is a jack-of-all-trades that is good at just about everything, but does not really excel at any one thing.
The Texas A&M linebacker is 6'1", 229 pounds and as a junior led the Big 12 (remember when the Aggies were in the Big 12?) with 9.5 sacks. He spent more time operating in coverage last season, showcasing that he is far more than a one-trick pass-rushing pony. Porter is both quick and fast, with the ability to track down ball-carriers from virtually anywhere on the field.
He has all the physical traits that you hope to see from an NFL linebacker, with the ability to set the edge and the agility to get around blocks and get in the backfield to make tackles. However, while he has the physical traits, he is projected only as a mid-round pick because he sometimes makes less-than-physical tackles. He will get too handsy with ball-carriers instead of really driving into them and forcing them to the turf.
These are correctable issues and if Porter has the drive to succeed at the NFL level then he should have no problem doing so. This pick could prove to be one of the best sleepers of the draft, as Porter could compete for a starting spot right from the get-go.
Round 6, Pick 179: Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech
The Chargers do not desperately need a wide receiver. Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal are all currently on the roster. While none of those guys are standout superstars, each brings something to the table.
The problem for San Diego has obviously been up front because Rivers has not had enough time to get passes downfield to his playmakers. However, in the sixth and seventh round you can start to look past needs and really focus on players that jumped out on film and you think could be productive down the line.
In this mock, San Diego has already addressed its most glaring needs and can afford to look toward someone like wide receiver Marcus Davis out of Virginia Tech. Davis is a taller receiver at 6'3", 233 pounds. He's adept at getting away from pressure at the line of scrimmage and heading upfield. Davis can shed blockers with his hands, but also has quick feet that ensure he gets past corners in a hurry. It is also exciting to see the way he attacks the ball at its highest point and rarely waits for the ball to fall into his waiting arms.
As with any players going this late in the draft, there are question marks surrounding Davis. His effort while run blocking has been suspect at best during his time with the Hokies. He lacks aggression and sometimes looks afraid to really fight with defenders for the ball. It was mentioned that he is a great leaper that gets the ball at its highest point, but that skill falls by the wayside when another player is jumping with him.
He must get more aggressive and realize he has a strong frame, but he will have time to develop at the next level. Davis can be an exciting player to watch develop behind some other receivers on the Chargers depth chart.
Round 7, Pick 221: Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA
Simply look at the elevation in that picture!
If that jumping ability does not sell you on UCLA guard Jeff Baca then nothing will. On the serious side of things, Baca would be a great addition in the draft's final round.
This mock has already seen the Chargers address their interior offensive line need via Larry Warford out of Kentucky, but one players is not enough to completely solidify the need.
Someone like Baca can be added in the later rounds for added depth and the potential to develop. He was a second-team All-Pac 12 selection last season and started all 12 games. He is physical but is not slow-footed. Baca is quick off the ball and is able to prevent defenders from overwhelming him at the line of scrimmage.
He also spent time at tackle during his time with the Bruins, so there is a solid level of versatility to his game. The 6'4" 302-pound lineman needs to work on his lateral movement and his ability to move with shifting defensive linemen, but again, all later picks are going to come with issues.
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