San Diego Chargers: Complete 2014 NFL Draft Wrap-Up and Analysis
Months of hard work and pre-draft evaluations produced six new players for the San Diego Chargers this past week.
The 2014 draft class welcomed Jason Verrett, Jeremiah Attaochu, Chris Watt, Ryan Carrethers, Marion Grice and Tevin Reese. Another 17 players were added to the roster as undrafted free agents.
Last year's draftees helped San Diego capture its first postseason birth in four years, so the added pressure of repeating that trend will be heavy on this group.
Let's wrap up the 2014 draft with a breakdown of this past week.
Round 1, Pick 25: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Round 2, Pick 50 (trade with Miami): Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Round 3, Pick 89: Chris Watt, OG, Notre Dame
Round 5, Pick 165: Ryan Carrethers, DT, Arkansas State
Round 6, Pick 201: Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State
Round 7, Pick 240: Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor
The Chargers hit their top four needs early in the draft.
Verrett will have an immediate impact in the secondary with his versatility outside and in the slot. Attaochu's high motor will create chaos in the backfield, and Carrethers, a true nose tackle, will help seal running lanes. Watt, who started 37 games for the Irish, could challenge for a starting job in training camp.
Grice is a jack-of-all-trades back with top-notch return skills and compares to Danny Woodhead but more physical. Reese is extremely lean at 163 pounds, but he's a home-run receiver when he beats coverage.
Not a bad class by any means. Attaochu really stood out on Day 2, but he cost San Diego a fourth-rounder in a deep draft. This year falls short of an "A," but it's a strong group regardless.
Best Pick: Jason Verrett
The more I see from Verrett, the more I like this pick. A few inches is all that prevents him from being viewed as the top corner in this draft. I like his feistiness on the field, and his passion for the game fits right in line with this team.
During his introductory press conference, Verrett told reporters he modeled his game after 11-year pro Asante Samuel, who wasn't blessed with prototypical size either. Samuel has enjoyed a long, productive career in the NFL, and his height was never an issue in attaining 146 career pass breakups and 51 interceptions. A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion, I'd say Samuel had a pretty decorated career given his size.
Why: This pick fills the top positional need, and from what Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy said in the moments after making the selection, it seems Verrett was the player they had set their sights on all along.
Worst Pick: Chris Watt
I have to agree with Matt Miller and Michael Felder on this one. I have full confidence Watt can be a starter in San Diego eventually, but was he the right pick in the third round?
As Miller points out in the clip above, there were higher-rated guard prospects taken after Watt. You could also make the argument that Round 3 would have been the spot to take a speedster on offense.
John Brown and Donte Moncrief finished with the top three fastest receiver times in the 40 at the combine, and both were still on the board at the time. Dri Archer, who nearly broke Chris Johnson's record with a 4.26, was also still available. If adding speed was a goal of this draft, that would have been the time to do so.
Why: It's not a bad pick as it obviously fits a need, but how does San Diego benefit from taking Watt in the third round? Is he going to come in and start his rookie season and make the offensive line that much better, or is he going to sit behind Chad Rinehart and Jeromey Clary for a year before he really has an impact?
Undrafted Free Agents
Just hours after the Chargers made their last selection in the draft, agreements were reached with 17 undrafted free agents. That list includes the following players.
D.J. Adams, RB, Portland State
Adams is a 5'10", 210-pound running back with 23 touchdowns and over 2,500 rushing yards the past two seasons at Portland State.
Torrence Allen, WR, West Texas A&M
Allen was West Texas A&M's leading receiver a year ago with 123 receptions and over 1,600 yards receiving.
Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah
The team captain in 2013, Palepoi had 53 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss.
Alden Darby, S, Arizona State
The two-year starter for the Sun Devils had 10 career interceptions and 217 tackles.
Colton Underwood, OLB, Illinois State
Underwood is a 6'3", 254-pound tweener with 44 career tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks at Illinois State.
Brelan Chancellor, WR/KR, North Texas
The 2013 Conference USA Player of the Year was also one of 10 players in the nation to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown.
Chris Davis, CB/KR, Auburn
Davis had the third-ranked punt return average in the nation last season (18.7 yards) and had 74 tackles. He led Auburn to a miraculous victory in the Iron Bowl with his 100-plus return on a missed field goal.
Greg Ducre, CB, Washington
Ducre earned MVP honors at the College All-Star Bowl with a 30-yard interception return. He also had 44 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games played last season.
Ian White, OT/G, Boston College
An experienced starter at both tackle spots for Boston College, White can play inside if needed.
Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, DT, Boise State
The 6'3", 300-pound defensive tackle from the Netherlands has only a few years of American football under his belt. He had 37 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss last season for the Broncos.
Michael Flacco, TE, New Haven
The natural athlete who played minor league baseball before transitioning back to football as a 26-year-old is also the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Chase Tenpenny, P, Nevada
Tenpenny had the fourth-best punting average in school history during the 2012 season (43.3 yards) and was named Second-Team All-Mountain West.
Jeremiah Sirles, OT, Nebraska
The 6'6", 310-pound offensive line prospect played both tackle spots during the 2013 season. He started 41 of 53 games for the Cornhuskers.
Alvin Scioneaux, OLB, Wofford
Scioneaux had 41.5 career tackles for loss with 17 sacks his last three seasons at Wofford. He's undersized at 6'2", 225 pounds but very quick off the edge.
D.J. Johnson, OT/G, New Mexico
The 6'4", 308-pound tackle had 29 consecutive starts at New Mexico. He has some experience at guard. His size suits the interior.
Javontee Herndon, WR, Arkansas
Herdon had only 31 catches for 437 yards and four touchdowns as Arkansas' leading receiver. The run-dominated SEC didn't allow his game to shine.
Micah Hatfield, WR, Oregon State
Hatfield is another speedster who shared the field with first-round draft choice Brandin Cooks. He's injury-prone but a possible developmental project.
What's Next for the San Diego Chargers?
Going into this year's draft, the big question was whether general manager Tom Telesco would be able to produce another talented class comparable to last year's. We obviously won't be able to determine that until this class takes the field, but I thought Telesco did fairly well in just his second draft as GM.
Nearly every hole on the roster was addressed, and I thought he did a fine job of bringing in players with high character and passion for the game. I expect at least three starters to come from this group, similar to last season.
Jason Verrett was drafted for the sole purpose of making plays, so his day-one outlook should be a starting role following training camp. Attaochu could see a little less playing time because of the depth at his position. He'll be the team's designated pass-rusher, but I don't doubt his ability to play other facets of the position either. Watt could be a third starter, but it will be interesting to see how the team handles the situation on the offensive line.
Last season, Mike McCoy often said he'd play the best five guys on game day, even if it meant moving Jeromey Clary to guard. The line was better for it, but could Watt be the guy to improve it a tad more? I expect Watt to compete for the job and get a good look because Clary's heavy contract has to be a glaring thought in the back of Telesco's mind.
Moving forward, this team has pieces in place to have another great season, but a rough schedule that includes a run through the NFC West will be no walk in the park.
Combine results courtesy of NFL.com