Chargers 2009 Draft: Value and Versatility

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Chargers 2009 Draft: Value and Versatility

With seven picks in the 2009 NLF Draft and nearly every starter returning, Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith went his own way in adding depth and talent to an already-strong line-up.

San Diego's personnel moves in the draft and free agency showed a commitment and desire to win now.

Pick No. 16 was San Diego's lone selection in the first two rounds, but a pick in the third round and another three in the fourth provided excellent value and depth on both sides of the ball.

Smith also had a fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-round pick at his disposal, which he used to bolster the secondary and receiving corps.

Defensive end Igor Olshansky and guard Mike Goff were the only departures where a replacement wasn't obvious, so those two positions took priority with the top picks.

The selection of defensive end Larry English at No. 16 was a surprise to some. But A.J. Smith knew who he wanted. Shawn Merriman is coming off an injury and is in the last year of his contract, while Shaun Phillips' recent brush with the law has to make Smith nervous about his bookend rushers.

Veteran free agent linebacker Kevin Burnett was signed from Dallas and should step in as a coverage specialist from day one.

The Bolts' need at offensive tackle wasn't addressed in the draft, so it remains an area where a free agent may have to be brought in. Philip Rivers was only sacked 25 times in the regular season, but was taken down eight times in just two playoff games.

Here's a look at each of the Chargers picks and how they may fit in this season.

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