Assigning Odds to Every Potential San Diego Chargers 1st-Round Pick
After keeping a watchful eye on the mock drafts in the last few months, there has been some slight changes as to who the experts are predicting to the Bolts in the first round. When the offseason started, there was a heavy dose of corners being mocked to San Diego, but that notion has changed slightly.
There have been two positions added to the team's needs list, as well as two players who might fit those needs. As May 8 nears, the excitement continues to draw for the spectacle in New York and fans of the Chargers will be enthused to learn which college standout will be sporting lightning bolts next season.
Here are odds for every potential first-round pick by San Diego.
If San Diego had the luxury to go best player available, Lee would be in the conversation for the team's first-round pick. In such a deep receiver class, Lee's stock could easily fall if teams opt for more speed like a Brandin Cooks or an Odell Beckham Jr.
Needing to rejuvenate an aging receiving corps, the Chargers could develop a dynamic duo with Keenan Allen and Lee at Philip Rivers' disposal. What better way to keep up with Peyton Manning in the AFC West than by adding more targets on offense?
This probably won't come to fruition given the needs on defense, but you still have to wonder what the team might do in a scenario where the defensive players it wanted were gone. Highly unlikely, of course, but just a thought to consider.
If corner and defensive tackle weren't such big needs, this would probably be the pick. Shazier is a tremendous athlete, and his combine numbers did him justice.
Shazier was a top performer at his position in the broad jump and vertical jump, and he pumped out 25 reps on the bench press. Having led the Big Ten in tackles (143) last season, Shazier is ready to make the jump to the pros where he has the ability to be a three-down player.
In 15 games, Shazier had 10 or more tackles from his outside linebacker spot. What he offers San Diego is a younger upgrade from Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson, while also making his mark as a pass-rusher.
Dennard is one of the most polished defensive backs in this year's draft class, and there should be no doubt he'll find an NFL home in the first round on May 8. A physical, man-to-man specialist with 10 career interceptions to his name at Michigan State, Dennard has all the tools you'd expect from a shut-down corner prospect.
Speed, however, is not a real strength of his. Dennard ran a 4.51 at the combine, which placed him outside the top 10 compared to other prospects at his position. There have also been mumblings about his durability, according to Bleacher Report lead draft writer Matt Miller.
Heard from a scout that NFL teams are concerned with Darqueze Dennard's durability. Mentioned double hernia surgery as a red flag.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 15, 2014
Nevertheless, Dennard figures to be a high selection given his superb coverage skills, and he may be just out of San Diego's reach. If he dropped to 25, he would almost certainly be the top choice of the Chargers brass, who should be looking for help in the secondary early.
With Roby, all the talent is there and the makeup to be a great player at the next level is evident, but there are concerns about his character. The Ohio State corner has had run-ins with the law dating back to 2010, and he was most recently suspended for the first game of last season.
Roby had an impressive 2012, during which he finished as a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, but his production in 2013 dropped off a bit. In an attempt to salvage his draft stock, Roby posted some jaw-dropping numbers at the combine, including a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash. As a result, there are some who believe he'll be a top 20 pick come draft day, including NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah.
Sitting with the 25th pick, the Chargers may not be in range of taking Roby, but it's possible he falls to them if other teams feel his off-the-field issues will become a problem. If the organization is willing to work with him and help him stay out of trouble, Roby could be a nice fit in San Diego.
Players with big chips on their shoulders often shine when at a disadvantage, and for Verrett that disadvantage is his size. Standing 5'9" and roughly 189 pounds, Verrett was often faced with the task of covering much larger receivers, but he still managed to hold his own.
Using speed as compensation for his lack of size, Verrett was often seen utilizing that closing speed to break up passes or make interceptions. What was most surprising, however, was his ability to consistently log a high number of tackles every year.
For those that might argue he's more of a fit to play slot corner in the NFL, just realize he was matched up on the outside with the opposing team's leading receiver for the better part of his run with the Horned Frogs. Toughness isn't a problem for Verrett either as he played most of last season with a torn labrum.
Louis Nix III
Down to just two defensive tackles on the roster, San Diego needs to add some girth to its defensive line. Who better to fill that empty space than a 331-pound behemoth who commands double teams at the line of scrimmage.
After a breakout 2012 which saw Nix rack up 50 tackles for the Fighting Irish, a torn meniscus forced him to miss five games the following season and prevent what could have been yet another impressive year from the big man. After undergoing knee surgery in November, Nix worked his way back to playing shape and managed to participate in drills at the combine and his pro day.
Nix would be well suited for the Chargers' defensive scheme and could easily compare to a player like Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots—a space-eater with athletic ability.
If the top corners are off the board at 25, this has to be the pick.
After witnessing some of the most embarrassing displays of tackling last season, the Chargers would do well to add a player who was efficient in wrapping up ball-carriers during his collegiate career. In 2011, Fuller racked up 65 tackles, including 14.5 for loss. The following year he added 52, and in 2013 he made 24.
Injuries caused Fuller's numbers to drop from his previous bests, but he still managed to make plays when his health permitted. The Virginia Tech standout was an active special-teamer, having blocked a punt in a triple-overtime win over Marshall last season, and he had a career-high 10 pass breakups.
Just watch Fuller's highlight reel from the ACC Network and you'll notice he's got a nose for the football. His interception totals during his career weren't out of the ordinary, but that doesn't mean he didn't get his hands on the ball from time to time. What Fuller would bring to the Chargers is a consistent tackler as well as his gamesmanship at the corner position.