2011 NFL Mock Draft: 10 First Round Prospects For the San Diego Chargers
Looking to add depth to a team that used 57 different players throughout the 2010 season, the San Diego Chargers are going to look to bolster a team that led the league in overall offense and defense.
The Chargers will have the luxury have of drafting with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft come April
The NFL Draft will take place this April in New York City, even if the league does not have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Players' Association in place by the start of the new league year on March 4.
Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller led the nation in sacks during his junior year and would have been a first-round draft pick in the 2010 Draft had he entered, but decided to stay for his senior year and it definitely didn't hurt him.
Von Miller possesses solid skills in defending against the run. He is also quick on his feet, displays amazing speed, and is able to visualize how the play is developing then get where he needs to be. He also show great strengths in pass rushing. Miller, has the ability to become an elite pass rusher, who can get in the face of quarterbacks and ultimately become a game changer.
Pre-draft analysis shows that Miller would excel as a rush linebacker in a NFL based 3-4 defensive scheme.
If Miller is still available when the Chargers draft, they would be silly not to take a good look at him. With Shawne Merriman departed and Larry English still not living up to his potential, the Chargers will need another solid linebacker in already depleted linebacker corps.
Akeem Ayers, DE/OLB, UCLA
UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers announced just after the start of the new year that he would skip his senior season and become eligible for the NFL draft.
However, there are many analysts that aren't really quite sold on Ayers having the potential to be an NFL linebacker.
Granted, he did have an amazing season as a Junior for the Bruins putting up solid numbers which gave way to early speculation that he would make the jump to the NFL.
Ayers does have incredible speed and the ability to chase down ballcarrier, plus he has the ability to deliver violent crushing hits.
He will definitely need to have a good performance at the NFL Combine to dispell rumors that he may still be a little raw in the talent department.
Cameron Jordan, DE/DT, Cal
Cameron Jordan displays excellent pass rushing skills and has the ability to get to the other teams quarterbacks. He shows solid defensive end moves that enable him to get passed the opposing offensive lines. However, his run blocking skills are even more advanced.
He is a smart and instinctive football player constantly aware of his surroundings. He is rarely fooled on misdirection plays or fakes. All attributes that make him a constant threat.
While Jordan may have fallen in some early mock drafts, I still believe the Chargers should take a look at him should he still be available when the Chargers are scheduled to pick.
Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Auburn University defensive tackle Nick Fairley's stock is definitely on the rise after a superb performance in this year's BCS National Championship game.
Fairly did a great job of getting in the face of University of Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas, and disrupting the rhythm of the Oregon pass offense.
While Fairly has yet to decide if he will enter the NFL Draft and turn pro or return to Auburn for his senior year and a chance to possibly repeat as National Champion.
Fairly is an explosive and productive pass rusher who knows how to pressure quarterbacks and do it consistently. Once again proof can be seen in his 2010 season statistics and his performance in the National Championship game. All of which helped thrust him into the spotlight and significantly raised his draft stock.
Should Fairly turn pro, and possibly be available when the Chargers are due to select, it would be very unwise for the Chargers to pass up such a future Pro Bowl caliber defensive end.
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Cameron Heyward has amazing pass rushing skills, and can make an opposing quarterbacks' day seem like an endless nightmare. He is also a solid run stopper, quick on his feet and able to plug up holes effective shutting down the oppositions' ground attack.
Heyward posses the work ethic, tools, and determination that can lead him to become an elite NFL star just like his father, the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward.
Should the Chargers select him in the draft, Heyward could prove to be an instant starter on the defensive line, lining up at either left or right defensive end.
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod's stock is definitely on the rise, especially after a outstanding performance in Progressive Gator Bowl.
Sherrod who is naturally an offensive left tackle, could be converted to an offensive right tackle. The Chargers already posses a solid left tackle in Marcus McNeill, but Sherrod could prove to be a worthy back-up should something happen to McNeill.
With the Chargers trading up to draft running back Ryan Mathews last April, Sherrod would be a welcome addition to increase the Chargers run blocking scheme.
Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo could be another alternative positive alternative for the Chargers should they be looking to bolster their offensive line.
Castonzo has solid pass blocking abilities. He possesses good balance and is quick out of his stance, but a speed pass rusher get past him can beat him if he gets turned. While Castonzo doesn't have solid running block skills, he might fit well in the Chargers pass heavy offense.
He is an offensive left tackle after converting from offensive right tackle after his true freshman season. Castonzo might be able to give the Chargers an upper hand in goaline situations reporting eligible as a receiver. During his prep years, Castonzo was a breakout tight end.
Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi is definitely not short on talent, size, or athleticism.
Carimi is a solid all-around offensive tackle. He possesses great pass protection skills and has outstanding run blocking abilities. He proved valuable to the Badgers high powered run offense all season long, and kicked his performance up a notion during Wisconsin's loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl.
If Carimi is still available when the Chargers come on the clock in the first round, they should take a good long look at him. He would provide to be an instant asset to a San Diego team looking to bolster an offensive line that had been marred by injury during the 2010 season.