NFL Draft: San Diego Chargers Stun with First Round Pick by Taking Coach
Most experts assumed the Chargers would take a RB to replace Michael Turner or a CB to replace Drayton Florence, who both left in free agency. There was also the possibility of the Chargers trading the pick away due to the lack of value where they were sitting in the first round.
Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, announces the picks in the first round. When he came to the podium to announce the Chargers first round selection, there was a quizzical look on his face. After announcing the pick, a collective "Huh?!" was heard throughout Radio City Music Hall, site of the 2008 NFL Draft.
As soon as the shock had washed away, most began to wonder if this was even possible. Many rule books were consulted and no where could it found whether the selection was either legal or illegal. Goodell was asked to rule on the selection himself, and he ruled in favor of the Chargers.
"We felt that over the past few seasons, the achilles heel for our team has been in our coaching staff," said AJ Smith, General Manager of the San Diego Chargers, when asked about his selection. "As a front office, we felt that the best way we could improve our team was by getting a coach such as Coach Dungy with a proven track record, both in the regular season and postseason, most importantly a Super Bowl victory. True we could have grabbed a cornerback or running back to replace recent losses, but we take risks here and we hope to be rewarded."
The Indianapolis Colts were not available for comment at the time this article was being written but a representative for Tony Dungy was available for comment stating "while Tony is surprised like most at this odd event, he is excited for what the future may hold in San Diego. He has done all that he could do in Indy, and he feels Peyton Manning was holding him back."
Tony Dungy certainly is an upgrade over the previous head coaches Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner. While both are celebrated coaches in their own right, neither has had success in the playoffs. Obviously, the Chargers want to win and this shows their commitment to doing so.
What is unknown is what the Chargers will do with Norv Turner but the organization, known for being extremely fan-friendly and involved with their community, have started taking suggestions from their fans. One outspoken Charger fan has let known his wish for Norv Turner to be "fired...out of a cannon into San Diego Bay."
No matter how one feels about the selection, what can be agreed upon is the Chargers definitely made the biggest splash in the first round in the 2008 NFL Draft.
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