2011 NFL Draft: San Diego Chargers Draft Illinois Defensive Tackle Corey Liuget

Jay BrownContributor IApril 28, 2011

Less than an hour ago, these words were uttered by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, "With the 18th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Corey Liuget, Defensive Tackle, Illinois."

In that moment, Corey Liuget went from University of Illinois defensive tackle to San Diego Chargers defensive lineman.

You might be wondering why I used the term Chargers defensive lineman and not Chargers defensive tackle.

The Chargers already have a defensive tackle in Antonio Garay, and I seriously doubt that an unproven rookie under a new defensive coordinator would find himself starting at nose tackle come opening day.

New defensive coordinator Greg Manusky may move Liuget to an end position, but even in that situation, Liuget doesn't have the 5-technique ability to find himself rushing the passer on the outside. It will be interesting to see how the Chargers make this work.

Liuget ran a 4.97 40-yard dash, a 7.48 3-cone drill and a 4.68 20-yard shuttle. Those are solid numbers and left him in the middle of the pack at the Combine.

He put up 27 reps at the bench press, 27.5 inches in the vertical jump and 102 inches in the broad jump. While those numbers aren't stellar, they were enough to attract A.J. Smith's attention.

It was a huge stretch to draft Liuget in the middle of the first round, while prospects like Cameron Jordan and Muhammad Wilkerson were still available.

Liuget may have been a top prospect on the big board; however, some mock drafts had him going in the early part of the second round.

I have to admit that I'm very frightened to see what other players A.J. Smith is considering to select for the Chargers.

If it looks anything like the first round, then Chargers' fans could be looking at another disappointing draft...one of many under the tenure of Smith.

First-Round Grade: C+