The San Diego Chargers entered the 2010 draft targeting running back and defensive tackle as the greater needs. They exit the event with new names and faces to add to the roster, and we begin our assessment of whether those needs were met.
The Bolts began the process with a first-round trade that allowed them to advance from the 28th position to select Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews at No. 12. Chosen in the upper echelon of the opening round, it’s safe to assume that Matthews is the heir apparent to Ladainian Tomlinson , or at least expected to be. I was originally soured by the selection, but after taking it all in, it isn’t as bad as first thought.
Sure, there were three, elite ball carriers to choose from, and Jahvid Best would have fallen into their laps.
But when you look at Matthews in comparison to C.J. Spiller and Best, his perimeter game may be lacking, but he is the most durable of the three. Durability has been an issue for this perennial underachieving franchise, who spent past seasons searching for a healthy body to replace the aging and oft-injured Tomlinson.
What was the impact of the first-round trade with Miami?
You have to go back a few weeks earlier, when the Chargers traded quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to Seattle. In exchange, the Bolts swapped second round draft positions with the Seahawks.
The Dolphins selected Koa Misi with the eighth pick of the second round (acquired from San Diego). Great value still remained on the board when Miami made their choice, including some potential targets for the Bolts, including tight end Rob Gronkowski , who would have been an inexpensive replacement for the departed Brandon Manumaleuna .
And with uncertainty still surrounding the future of Shawne Merriman , TCU’s Daryl Washington hovered across the board.
In the absence of a second-round pick, the alternative was to select a linebacker in the third.
Depending on how you view it, Seattle may be the bigger winner of the pre-draft trade.
Pete Carroll gained Charlie Whitehurst and stood pat in his new second round position, where the Seahawks then selected Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate . San Diego walked away from the round empty, but it was that pick received from Seattle that enabled the opening round trade to nab their running back.
(Third Round) Donald Butler, LB, Washington —This pick is a reach. The Bolts must see something in him that I don’t, because they left value on the board. If they were not willing to address a replacement for Jamal Williams this soon, I think they should have at least went cornerback, with Brandon Ghee , Kevin Thomas , and Alterraun Verner still available. In this passing league, you can never have enough corners, and San Diego is one short in the absence of Antonio Cromartie .
(Fourth Round) Darrell Stuckey, FS, Kansas —I will never sour on defensive backs taken, and Stuckey is a playmaker.
(Fifth round) Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina —Great pick for a team that appeared to have less control of the board as hours passed. The scenario worked perfectly, and the sacrifice was a fifth round pick to the Eagles in 2011 to move up in the round to draft him. Thomas has the talent to become that space-eating nose to replace Jamal Williams.
Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee— Crompton worked with four different coordinators in five years at Tennessee. He is a project, with an accuracy rate no more than 58 percent. He will never be the future face of the San Diego Chargers—ever. The pot-smoking Anthony McCoy would have been a better choice here.
(Seventh Round) Dedrick Epps, TE, Miami —A seventh round pick leaves nothing to complain about. But with that said, I love Dexter Davis, who sat beneath this selection. The Chargers could have also pulled their project quarterback in this round or from a crop of undrafted free agents, freeing a pick with more value in the fifth. Who knows, Crompton may have still been there.
Assessment: Considering what they had to work with, this wasn’t a poor draft—though it wasn’t excellent either. The evaluation will now begin, and only time will give an accurate grade.
Of the players selected, I think Stuckey has the best chance to develop into a late-round gem.
The player I would most like to see develop as a star is Cam Thomas, after the Jets exposed the gaping hole during the 2009 playoffs.
My projection for the least likely to be on the roster three years from now is Jonathan Crompton. The Chargers will have a backup for Rivers, but it won’t be him.
Donald Butler is the question mark. Although he displayed talent at the collegiate level, I have doubts about it transitioning to the next level.
Written by Anthony N.
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