San Diego Chargers Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystMay 7, 2014

San Diego Chargers Ultimate 2014 Draft Primer

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    The Chargers would love to get cornerback Kyle Fuller with the 25th overall pick.
    The Chargers would love to get cornerback Kyle Fuller with the 25th overall pick.USA TODAY Sports

    The San Diego Chargers are looking to repeat the success they had in the 2013 NFL draft in 2014. It's a deeper draft, but the Chargers will be drafting near the bottom of each round rather than the middle.

    Without much salary cap space, the Chargers have had to make tough decisions this offseason about how to build their roster. The Chargers didn't really address their need for a pair of starting cornerbacks, leaving that as glaring need in the draft.

    No team wants to paint themselves into a box, but the Chargers really have to draft a cornerback in the first two rounds. The Chargers have a few other needs, but they pale in comparison for their need for a cornerback.

    How might the Chargers tackle the draft starting Thursday night? The ultimate draft primer attempts to answer that question. 

2014 Draft Picks

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    The Chargers drafted very well in 2013.
    The Chargers drafted very well in 2013.Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Round 1, Pick 25 (25)

    Round 2, Pick 25 (57)

    Round 3, Pick 25 (89)

    Round 4, Pick 25 (125)

    Round 5, Pick 25 (165)

    Round 6, Pick 25 (201)

    Round 7, Pick 25 (240)

Position-by-Position Big Board

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    Quarterback: Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo, David Fales, Tom Savage, Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Murray, Tajh Boyd

    Running Back: Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason, Devonta Freeman, Ka'Deem Carey, Charles Sims, Lache Seastrunk, Jerick McKinnon, Storm Johnson

    Wide Receiver: Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Cody Latimer, Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Brandon Coleman, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, L'Damian Washington, Devin Street, Matt Hazel, Bennie Fowler, Torrence Allen

    Tight Ends: Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Troy Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz, A.C. Leonard, Brian Wozniak

    Offensive Tackles: Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Zack Martin, Morgan Moses, Joel Bitonio, Jack Mewhort, Billy Turner, Garrett Scott

    Offensive Guards: Zach Martin, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Joel Bitonio, Dakota Dozier, David Yankey, Charles Leno, Brandon Thomas

    Centers: Marcus Martin, Weston Richburg, Travis Swanson, Wsley Johnson, Tyler Larson, Bryan Stork

    Defensive Ends: Ra'Shede Hageman, Kony Ealy, Stephon Tuitt, Scott Crichton, Timmy Jernigan, Dominique Easley, Kareem Martin, Will Clarke, Taylor Hart, George Uko, Zach Moore, Jay Bromley

    Nose Tackles: Ra'Shede Hageman, Louis Nix, Justin Ellis, Daniel McCullers, Zack Kerr, Ray Carrethers, 

    Inside Linebackers: C.J. Mosely, Ryan Shazier, Chris Borland, Shayne Skov, Jordan Tripp, Trevor Reilly, Yawin Smallwood

    Outside Linebackers: Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Demarcus Lawrence, Jeremiah Attaochu, Dee Ford, Marcus Smith, Trent Murphy, Howard Jones, Prince Shembo, Michael Sam

    Cornerbacks: Kyle Fuller, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby, Darqueze Dennard, Jason Verrett, Phillip Gaines, Pierre Desir, Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy, Terrance Mitchell, Bennett Jackson, Walt Aikens, Bashaud Breeland, Kenneth Acker

    Safeties: Calvin Pryor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jimmie Ward, Terrence Brooks, Deone Bucannon, Ahmad Dixon, Dion Bailey, Marqueston Huff, Kenny Ladler, Tre Boston

Round 1, Pick 25

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    If the Chargers don't draft a cornerback, WR Cody Latimer could be their choice.
    If the Chargers don't draft a cornerback, WR Cody Latimer could be their choice.USA TODAY Sports

    When you have a need as severe as the Chargers do at cornerback, it must be addressed early in the draft. It often takes college cornerbacks time to adjust to the NFL, so drafting one doesn't even guarantee the problem will be solved immediately.

    If the Chargers are going to have any chance to fill their hole at cornerback in 2014, they will need to address it with their first pick, unless the value just isn't there. The Chargers didn't get after a quality cornerback in free agency largely because they knew there would be several solid options available to them in the first round.

    The ideal draft pick is Kyle Fuller, who fits San Diego's defensive scheme perfectly. Fuller has the most refined technique of any cornerback in this draft class and should be able to start in his rookie season.

    Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby, Darqueze Dennard and Jason Verrett are also considerations for the Chargers. Verrett lacks ideal size to play outside where the Chargers need him and Dennard may not be a good fit for San Diego's defensive scheme. 

    If Fuller, Gilbert and Roby aren't available, the Chargers may go in another direction. A wide receiver like Cody Latimer would make sense at No. 25. The Chargers need a player like Latimer to stretch the field and open up shorter passes for Keenan Allen. 

Round 2, Pick 57

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    WR Martavis Bryant could be an option for the Chargers in the second round.
    WR Martavis Bryant could be an option for the Chargers in the second round.USA TODAY Sports

    If the Chargers go cornerback in the first round, they can grab a good deep threat at wide receiver in the second. Among the players they could consider are Donte Moncrief and Martavis Bryant. 

    Jarvis Landry could also be considered, but he's a lot like Allen in terms of playing style. Moncrief would be ideal, but there's a good chance he goes at the top of the second round and not the bottom.

    Bryant's game is inconsistent, but he can take the top of a defense while he refines his route-running and adds bulk. The draft is full of good receivers, but if the Chargers wait too long to get one they may all be gone.

    If the Chargers decide to go wide receiver in the first round, they are going to be desperate for a cornerback. The biggest problem could be a draft board devoid of options. Phillip Gaines may not be available, but would be a solid pick at No. 57 overall. 

    Marcus Roberson is a good fit for San Diego's defense, but he's not projected to go off the board until the third round. The Chargers may have to overdraft Roberson to make sure they get him, and he may not even be an immediate starter. 

    It makes a lot more sense for the Chargers to address their need at cornerback in the first round because of the way the talent may fall at the end of the second.

Round 3, Pick 89

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    Trevor Reilly could give the Chargers' pass rush a boost.
    Trevor Reilly could give the Chargers' pass rush a boost.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    After the Chargers address their two biggest needs, they can turn their attention to the offensive line and outside linebacker. Those are their positions of need, but they aren't locked into drafting either. 

    The Chargers need a player who can make right guard Jeromey Clary expendable, but they haven't found him yet. A player the Chargers could get in the third round that might do the trick is Jack Mewhort from Ohio State.

    Mewhort played all four offensive line positions during his college career and projects best at right tackle or right guard. Mewhort would give the Chargers options on the offensive line and could at very least be a backup his rookie year. Like Clary, Mewhort is hard-working, blue-collar lineman.

    A pass-rushing outside linebacker that would make sense for the Chargers is Trevor Reilly out of Utah. Reilly has good length and overall athleticism, and he also boasts impressive instincts.

    The Chargers haven't been able to put together an adequate pass-rush in years. Without it, their secondary has suffered. Reilly could help Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney in 2014 and take over for Freeney in 2015.

Round 4, Pick 125

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    Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell could develop into an NFL starter.
    Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell could develop into an NFL starter.USA TODAY Sports

    Ultimately, the Chargers need to add more than one young player to their secondary. There are also a few cornerbacks the Chargers could consider starting in the fourth round. 

    Terrance Mitchell, Kendall James and E.J. Gaines could all be options for the Chargers. James played for the University of Maine, so he's a relative unknown, but he's a very good athlete and could develop if given the time.

    Both Mitchell and Gaines could also develop into starters. Mitchell just has to work on his technique as he has the prerequisite size and athleticism for the position. Gaines is a bit more limited, but he can cover the slot and outside.

Round 5, Pick 165

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    Kenny Ladler is a good value in the fifth round.
    Kenny Ladler is a good value in the fifth round.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler is the perfect pick for the Chargers in the fifth round. The Chargers have improved their stable of safeties in recent years, but there has basically been a different starter next to Eric Weddle every year.

    Ladler has experience at free and strong safety, which makes him the ideal partner for the roaming Weddle. Ladler is a big hitter and great athlete that may not last until the fifth round on draft day.

    Ladler is also a proven performer on special teams, which gives him added value to any team that drafts him. Bleacher Report NFL draft lead writer has Ladler ranked 161st overall on his final big board. 

    Marcus Gilchrist is entering his contract year, so the Chargers have to be prepared to move on. Ladler would give the Chargers the option of a seamless transition should they opt to to re-sign Gilchrist in 2015. 

Round 6, Pick 201

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    Jeff Janis could end up being a steal if given time to develop at the NFL level.
    Jeff Janis could end up being a steal if given time to develop at the NFL level.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    It's usually worth taking a chance on small-school player late in the draft. If wide receiver Jeff Janis is available, the Chargers shouldn't hesitate to take him in the sixth round. Some projections have him going much earlier.

    The 6'3", 219-pound specimen ran the 40-yard dash at the combine in 4.42 seconds, had a broad jump of 10'3" and ran the 3-cone drill in 6.64 seconds. Janis put up 20 reps on the bench press, had a 3.98-second short shuttle and a 37.5" vertical jump. Needless to say, Janis' measurables were exceptional.

    Janis needs to transition to the NFL from Division II Saginaw Valley State, but if the Chargers give him time he could end up being quite a player. Janis' athletic ability alone makes him worth the pick, but he's undoubtedly a bit of a risk. 

Round 7, Pick 240

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    Matt Hazel could stick in the NFL thanks to his ability to run routes.
    Matt Hazel could stick in the NFL thanks to his ability to run routes.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The Chargers could double down on wide receivers late in the draft, especially if they don't land one in the first couple rounds. Matt Hazel is another small school guy with upside that should be drafted.

    Hazel isn't nearly the athlete that Janis is, but he's a much more refined route-runner. Janis and Hazel would give the Chargers two risky draft picks with different styles, but both with good upside potential.

    The Chargers do have other needs, but they can take advantage of the depth of the draft by scooping up talented players that have fallen through the cracks for various reasons. The depth at wide receiver in this draft could force several good prospects down the board.

    By adding secondary help and a deep threat, the Chargers will have a better chance to beat the NFC West and their division rivals. Adding a good pass-rusher should also be a priority, but the Chargers may not be in a great place to execute such a move.

Latest Draft Buzz

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    Tom Telesco is the man with final say in San Diego.
    Tom Telesco is the man with final say in San Diego.Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    - General manager Tom Telesco told ESPN that he's keeping his eye on the quarterback position because you never know what might happen. Telesco mentioned that the Chargers evaluate players as if there is no one on the roster. 

    - The Chargers have worked out at least five players they could consider drafting in the first round including wide receiver Cody Latimer, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, cornerback Bradley Roby, free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence.