Of course this year's draft will be full of talent at the running back position with the likes of C.J. Spiller, Jonathan Dwyer, and Jahvid Best who are all expected to be drafted in the first and second rounds.
However, the Chargers do not need to use a first round pick to get a quality back that fits into their system. A.J. Smith has always been great at finding NFL-level talent in the later rounds, and if he has the foresight that I believe he does, he will not have to look any farther than Oregon's LeGarrette Blount.
Blount rushed for 1,002 yards in his junior season at Oregon while sharing carries with running back Jeremiah Johnson. In addition, Blount broke the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 17. The senior out of Florida was expected to do great things this season and was on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award.
Unfortunately, many people know Blount as the running back that went "postal" after an opening game loss to Boise State, and the suspension that resulted. If this event had not occurred, Blount could have easily been a first round pick come May.
While A.J. Smith has made it clear that he prefers to draft players of high character, he would be a fool to believe that Blount did not learn from his mistakes.
In a letter to the Oregon Daily Emerald , Blount stated, "I believe that I also will demonstrate that I am a better man and a better human being for having lived through this unfortunate experience."
Coach Chip Kelly did not take the situation lightly, and forced Blount to meet a series of criteria before he even considered allowing him to return to the team. When Blount finally did return, Kelly implied that Blount went above and beyond his demands and has used the experience as a way to become a better person.
Also, there is no reason whatsoever that Smith should be deterred from drafting a player such as LeGarrette Blount when he vouches for players like receiver Vincent Jackson; as talented as he is, his criminal record is anything but clean.
Additionally, Blount would fit perfectly into San Diego's offensive system.
While Blount does not have breakaway speed by any means (4.6 40-time) his long strides allow him to produce yardage quickly. He also has the body size (6'1", 240 lbs) to be a terrific blocker in Norv Turner's pass-happy offense. Blount has the power and burst to get through the line of scrimmage and into the secondary (something that LT has lacked recently).
Blount would compliment the running style of Darren Sproles quite nicely, and may provide the one-two punch that San Diego is missing on offense.
The Chargers need to overlook the past and acknowledge that Blount is a different man. He may be the future of San Diego's running game, and if the Chargers do decide to draft Blount, look for him to go in the late second or early third rounds of the draft.
Here are some additional Blount highlights .