The draft is over but if history tells us anything it is that the San Diego Chargers are not finished filling out their rookie class. From Antonio Gates on offense to Stephen Cooper on defense, the team is littered with undrafted free agents who have emerged as major cogs within the lineup.
Who will be this year’s stud undrafted free agent? Here’s a look at just who San Diego could bring in to compete.
Warren entered the offseason a potential second-rounder, but inexperience coupled with an array of draft-climbers at the position sunk his status. He had already been envisioned as a possible steal in the fourth or fifth round in the days leading up to the draft.
He has all the physical tools to be a tremendous cover corner and San Diego’s depth at the position in 2010 should give him plenty of time to be developed as Quentin Jammer’s future replacement.
With Nathan Vasher and Donald Strickland only under two-year deals, Warren at the very least could become a very capable nickel back who, while not the fastest, is great in man-to-man coverage that is more prevalent at the nickel.
In the all-character draft a third-round player like Tim Tebow can go in the first round while Dez Bryant slips to second receiver selected. Blount’s suspension-ruined final year was expected to drop him to the fifth or sixth round.
Instead it cost him draft status completely. San Diego has its premier back in Ryan Mathews as well as its speedster in Darren Sproles.
This could have made Blount something of a redundancy as a draft pick, but undrafted he could give San Diego a great power-presence that push the pile and save Mathews some wear and tear in the long run.
The team has shifted away from a run-centric scheme, but Blount could still be a bigger (albeit slower) Michael Turner within this incarnation.
In Jonathan Crompton San Diego has its potential backup once Billy Volek retires. Yet Jarrette Brown could be great competition for the third-string role while giving San Diego potential trade fodder in the future with one of the two.
Brown is even more raw than Crompton, with inconsistency issues as well. But the flashes he has shown make him look like a potential starter in this league while Crompton’s upside looks to cap out at very good backup.
Other wideouts (to be mentioned later) are more fitting to San Diego’s specific system, but Jeremy Williams is perhaps the most talented of the undrafted stock. An injury history knocked him from the draft, but has a similar versatility to Naanee while being a more natural receiver and better route runner.
He offers wildcat and return potential while his size (6'0" 205) could be the closest thing San Diego has to a true slot receiver.
Alexander’s tremendous numbers are considered hyper-inflated by virtue of the system he played under, but the man he replaced (Jeremy Maclin) appears to have translated well to the NFL.
Alexander has the size San Diego loves at 6’5" and his inexperience should not be an issue for a team that would in all likelihood be grooming him to eventually replace Floyd while providing some depth at the position in the meantime.
Washington is not necessarily an elite talent that slipped by the draft unnoticed. Washington is a stable player with a fairly modest upside, but is already very familiar with playing defensive end in a 3-4 under defensive maestro Nick Saban.
Alphonso Boone was retained to be the third defensive end in San Diego’s rotation while a host of names like Vaughn Martin and Travis Johnson are still treading between the tackle and end roles, without San Diego yet finding where they want to work them into the rotation.
Securing a steady rotation guy could give San Diego better flexibility in trying to seek out a more dynamic potential starter in the Charger’s 2011 draft.
San Diego has shown solid depth with Scott Mruczkowski and Brandon Dombrowski filling in well along the offensive line in 2009, but both sides of the trenches can never have too much depth.
Tepper does not look like he will necessarily ever evolve into a dominant starter, but has solid experience (six total years of eligibility) that should help him be able to step in quickly if needed, and he is considered a great locker room and character guy.
His strength is pass blocking and he has spent time at either tackle position, while his build and skillset look like they will translate well to guard. This versatility could be invaluable as a reserve who may have to play 2-3 different positions across the course of a season.
“Rush” linebacker is an up and coming position in the NFL where college supply has not necessarily caught up to pro demand.
The undersized defensive end that teams prefer to convert into the 3-4 outside linebacking role is a highly sought position that generally gets plucked up within the draft itself.
Coleman does not look like a sleeper to develop into a starter’s role, but as the highest ranked rush linebacker prospect he looks like a classic case of on-field results outpacing off-field measurables.
This could make Coleman a solid third OLB should English be supplanting Shawne Merriman in 2011, not a pass-rushing dynamo but a well rounded reserve that would be a steadying force if asked to fill in for injury.
San Diego has Kris Wilson and Antonio Gates on the roster while it drafted its probable third tight end in Dedrick Epps.
The somewhat streamlined tight end collection (Wilson and Epps both clock in around or just under 250 while 260-pound Gates is built like an oversized receiver rather than a tight end) fits well with the Charger's new pass-centric style.
In certain situations however, even a passing offense will need to try and go big and just pound it home.
Greg Boone could be the second coming of departed Brandon Manumaleuna as a sixth lineman of a tight end who may be a very situational player, but as a goal line and field-goal blocking tight end he could just justify holding onto four tight ends, especially since Epps and WIlson are both of the multi-tool H-back type.