San Diego Chargers Day 3 2014 NFL Draft Primer
Day 2 of the 2014 NFL draft is in the books for the San Diego Chargers.
Round 2 produced Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu, and Notre Dame's Chris Watt was the product of Round 3. The Chargers parted with their fourth-round pick while moving up for Attaochu, so Day 3 could potentially leave San Diego with just three more picks.
With the final day of the draft marathon only a few hours away, let's recap how things have gone and see what's in store for Day 3.
Day 2 Recap and Analysis
History repeated itself twice on Day 2 of the draft. For the second year in a row, the Chargers moved up in the second round to select a player they coveted. That player was Jeremiah Attaochu, whom San Diego moved up seven spots for in the second round.
The career sacks leader at Georgia Tech (31.5) was the last true 3-4 outside linebacker left on the board in Round 2, and general manager Tom Telesco didn't hesitate to get the talented pass-rusher for his defensive coordinator, John Pagano. Attaochu joins cornerback Jason Verrett, whom the Chargers took at No. 25 overall, as another player San Diego had met with earlier before the draft.
In the third round, Louis Nix III continued to fall, but it was the Houston Texans who secured the big nose tackle before San Diego could come in range. Had Nix fallen to the 89th pick, it would have been interesting to see if the Chargers selected him to fill a need.
The selection of Chris Watt, however, is one that needed to be made eventually. The interior of the offensive line is well into its 30s with the exception of Chad Rinehart, and this acquisition could also serve as a sign of things to come for Jeromey Clary and his bloated contract. Watt started all but two games his last three seasons at Notre Dame and looks ready to continue that trend in the pros.
For the second year in a row, the Chargers have also drafted a Notre Dame player on Day 2—Watt this year and linebacker Manti Te'o last year.
Updated Needs for Chargers
Louis Nix plunged into the third round where I was certain the Chargers would have a chance to snatch him up, but the greedy Texans continued to beef up their defense when they traded up for "Irish Chocolate" ahead of San Diego. Day 3, however, is still loaded with big bodies.
A lot of quality receivers came off the board on Friday, but none of them must have been enticing enough for the Chargers use their second- or third-round pick.
One player I could have seen going to the Bolts was coincidentally the receiver taken right after Chris Watt—Mississippi's Donte Moncrief. I understand the sway toward a lineman, but Moncrief was a player some might have considered a first-rounder. I expect the Chargers to take a long, hard look at some receivers, but the fifth round is the earliest they'll be able to do so.
Having Jason Verrett on the roster is a definite upgrade from last season, but there are still some intriguing corner prospects left on the board—some of which possess impressive size. I was very surprised to see small-school stud Pierre Desir (6'1", 198 lbs) not chosen by the end of Day 2, as was the case for 6'3" prospect Keith McGill.
Verrett can be an instant contributor in the secondary, but some of these bigger corners could bring some much-needed size to San Diego's unit. Another route could possibly be injured Oklahoma standout corner Aaron Colvin (5'11", 177 lbs).
Nabbing Watt is a great start in shoring up the offensive line for the future, but San Diego could still use a tackle and center on Day 3. Nick Hardwick will need a successor, and is King Dunlap really the future at left tackle?
Top Day 3 Targets
Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
A large hole on the defensive line still lingers for the Chargers, but what type of player will they be targeting? Do they want a run-clogger, a pass-rusher or someone who can do both? I like Ellis as a run-stuffing nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme.
Dontae Johnson, DB, North Carolina State
Johnson has experience at safety, corner and slot corner from his time at North Carolina State. On top of his versatility, he also stands 6'2" and runs a 4.45—a killer combination in the secondary.
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Coleman stands 6'6" and is built like a tight end, but imagine that combo in a vertical passing game with the likes of Philip Rivers. It's been a while since Rivers has had a big target, and I'm sure he misses the jump-ball offense.
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
A former basketball player for the Gamecocks, Ellington is just 5'9" but his measured vertical jump at the combine was an eye-opening 39.5 inches. Let him work in the slot next to Keenan Allen but don't hesitate to toss it up high.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
This could be San Diego's chance to add speed on offense. Don't be fooled by Thomas' 4.5 40-yard dash time at the combine. His game speed is a lot faster.
Combine results courtesy of NFL.com
What Are the Experts Saying?
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report: (165) TJ Jones, WR (201) Brent Urban, DE (240) Gabe Ikard, C
I have to agree with Miller in selecting a receiver early and a center as the final piece in this draft. San Diego needs to find Nick Hardwick's protege, and Urban is an interesting prospect. He's 6'7", 295 pounds.
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports: (165) Ross Cockrell, CB (201) Ryan Grant, WR (240) Chris Boswell, K
Shrager's first two choices are fine. Grant went over 1,000 yards receiving at Tulane, and Cockrell is Duke's all-time leader in interceptions (12) and pass breakups (41), but what's with the kicker? Nick Novak is San Diego's guy and will be for a while.
Eddie Brown of U-T San Diego: (165) Wesley Johnson, OL (201) Aaron Colvin, CB (240) Zach Moore, DE
I Love all three picks by Brown. Johnson is very versatile, and Brown projects him as San Diego's next center. Colvin could be a steal if he's able to fully recover from the torn ACL, and Moore has been on San Diego's radar for a while now.
3 Predictions for Day 3
Chargers double up on receivers on Day 3
This is one of the deepest classes of receivers we've seen in a long time, right? Then maybe it would be best to take two on Day 3. It's a little greedy. I know. But can this talent really be ignored?
Will a fullback get some love from San Diego?
With Le'Ron McClain gone, the assumption is that David Johnson will play some fullback for the Chargers, seeing as how he played both tight end and fullback in Pittsburgh. But, will one of Day 3's picks be used on a true fullback?
One guy I've had my eye on is Auburn's Jay Prosch, who looks like the Incredible Hulk in football pads. He's an old-school lead blocker with high character and a positive attitude. He can contribute on special teams and pass protect, and he's got some offensive skills as well.
A big corner finds his way into San Diego's plans in the later rounds
The Chargers have their guy in Jason Verrett, but will his size (5'9", 189 lbs) be a problem at the next level? If a big corner is waiting in the later rounds, expect to see the Chargers swoop in and add to the secondary. Bigger receivers in the NFL today mean bigger corners are needed to cover them. It's a passing league, and you better be prepared to adapt.
Updated Chargers 7-Round Mock Draft
Round 5: Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
With no fourth-round pick in Saturday's draft, the Chargers will need to wait out Ellis till the fifth round. I expect defensive tackle to take higher priority over the best player available, but the Chargers may see someone they can't pass up. This could potentially be the slot to take a receiver as well.
Round 6: Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Herron split time at receiver and running back his first two seasons at Wyoming, and he could add return skills with the type of straight-line speed he possesses. At 5'9", he's not going to line up outside the numbers very much, but you draft him because you want a playmaker.
Round 7: Zach Moore, DE, Concordia-St.Paul
Attaochu delivers the pressure off the edge, but the Chargers need depth up front behind Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes. If you're going to place so much emphasis on the pass rush this year, then you should continue to build it with Moore.