NFL Draft 2011: San Diego Chargers Full 7-Round Mock Draft 3.0
I have emerged a few days early from my Super Secret Draft Lair to bring you the final installation of my San Diego Chargers Mock Draft.
After careful consideration and much deliberation, I have made the final adjustments to my mock draft.
There were some interesting and thought-provoking comments left on my previous mock draft that led me to wonder if Chargers general manager A.J. Smith might use the ace up his sleeve and shock Chargers fans everywhere with another draft day move.
Could Smith move up? Could he trade down in order to secure a couple extra selections? Well, come Thursday night we will find out for sure.
I hope everyone enjoys my final mock draft before Draft Day comes, and be sure to follow me on Bleacher Report all weekend long as bring you my San Diego Chargers Live Draft Blog.
Thoughts, feelings and reactions to all of the selections (especially the Chargers) as the 76th NFL Draft from Radio City Music Hall unfolds.
Round 1, 18th Overall Pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Not much change here from my first two mock drafts.
I still think the Chargers need a solid 5-technique defensive lineman in order to improve on last year's number one ranking in total defense.
Watt, could still be available when the Chargers' are scheduled to select with the 18th overall pick.
Round 2, 50th Overall Pick: Sam Acho, OLB, Texas
In keeping with upgrading the Chargers defense, I moved away from a personal favorite of mine (Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois) and went with a linebacker who could make an instant impact in the Chargers' linebacker corps.
There is a very good chance that Wilson is going to be gone by the time the Chargers select with the 50th overall pick, and Acho would be able to fill a hole at outside linebacker.
Pass rush: Hustle pass rusher who needs work to excel at the next level. Good burst upfield after the snap, but lacks flexibility to get under the pads of an offensive tackle and turn the corner. Must improve using his hands to shed upon initial contact while maintaining balance. Strong enough to bull rush but does not use that move very often on the edge. Good secondary effort; attacks the pocket until the ball is away. A number of his sacks come when lined up inside. Capable of disrupting passing lanes but doesn't get his hands up consistently.
Run defense: Often takes on double-team blocks while lined up in the five-technique position. Plays with fair strength at the point of attack and frees linebackers to make plays behind him. Assignment-sure player, keeping containment on his side of the line when set up outside either tackle. Keeps his eyes in the backfield when engaged. Can punch and shed the block to get outside when not doubled. Could disengage more regularly inside and often watches backs run through the hole. Nice hustle in space, will chase down mobile quarterbacks from behind. Plays with good anchor for his size but must bulk up to play five-technique at the next level.
Explosion: Not exceptional in this area but has a good combination of strength and explosiveness off the snap. Does not turn the corner on better offensive tackles. Strong upper body and length give him a good punch on initial contact for bull rushes and when making plays against the run. Does not project to be elite rushing the passer, which limits his upside.
Strength: Has the weight-room and functional strength to play at the next level, but more consistent hands would increase his value. Can stack the tackle on the edge and hold his ground against the run using leverage.
Tackling: Not an explosive tackler but is strong enough to force fumbles when wrapping up quarterbacks. Gives great effort to bring down ballcarriers. Uses hustle and length to chase down plays to the sideline and downfield. Only adequate change-of-direction agility in the backfield -- will be frozen and eluded by NFL-caliber backs as he fails to break down. Willing to be the second or third man into the pile.
Intangibles: Intelligent, hard-working player who puts in the time in the weight and film rooms. Received multiple national Academic All-American awards, the 2010 William V. Campbell Trophy and National ARA Sportsmanship Awards. Brother Emmanuel is a junior linebacker for the Longhorns. Parents born in Nigeria. His middle name, Onyedikachi, means "who is like unto God".
Round 2, 61st Overall Pick: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
With Vincent Jackson possibly set to depart via free agency unless the new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a Franchise player tag and Malcom Floyd a restricted free agent, the Chargers will be looking to add to a wide receivers' corps that had problems with injuries in 2010.
In my first mock draft I had the Chargers selecting Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, but with Baldwin's off-field issues a possible cause of concern for Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, I decided to go in a different direction.
My second mock draft had the Chargers using the same pick to select Boise State wide receiver Austin Pettis. While Pettis has the tools to be a great NFL wide receiver, using a second round pick may have been a little bit of a reach.
I feel that Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith would be a great target for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Smith possesses great straight-line speed, and is a reliable pass catcher, however he does need to learn to catch passes away from his body. He has amazing agility, vision, and has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
On top of getting a wide receiver the Chargers would also get a kick/punter, something they are in dire need of.
Round 3, 82nd Overall Pick: Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State
I originally had Ohio State defensive back Chimdi Chekwa as the 89th overall selection in my first mock draft, and that selection carried over to my second mock draft, however in this mock draft I gave Chekwa a little bump.
After addressing the outside linebacker problem with the 50th overall selection, I decided to drop Mississippi State linebacker K.J. Wright and move up Chekwa to the 82nd overall pick.
While the Chargers do need to address the inside linebacker situation, I feel that a key free agent acquisition would fill the void better than drafting a rookie, especially if Donald Butler comes back better than ever from his training camp injury.
Round 3, 89th Overall Pick: Chris Hairston, OL, Clemson
Let's face it, the Chargers offensive line is need of some help. Brandyn Dombroski did a great job filling in for Marcus McNeill, however there was a problem on the right side of the offensive line.
The Chargers placed a second round restricted free agent tender on right tackle Jeromey Clary. While Clary had proved to many that he deserved the starting job, his production slipped in 2010 creating a problem on the right side of the offensive line.
In my last mock draft I had the Chargers using the 201st overall to select Auburn offensive lineman Lee Ziemba, but after careful consideration I felt that it would be in the best interest of the Chargers to select an offensive lineman a tad earlier.
Hairston is massive at 6'6", 323lbs. He has quick feet despite his incredibly large frame and is extremely agile for his size.
He is very experienced, possesses solid football smarts, and has the potential to become a team leader. Hairston was a three-year starter at left tackle for Clemson and started four bowl games for the Tigers.
Round 6, 183rd Overall Pick: Deunta Williams, FS, North Carolina
Still a fan of the Chargers drafting North Carolina free safety Deunta Williams with this pick and that he would be a good fit in the Chargers secondary.
Williams would make a solid nickel back to start, however should he have a strong training camp, he could challenge the incumbent for the starting job.
Round 6, 201st Overall Pick: Chris L. Rucker, CB, Michigan State
After drafting Ohio State defensive back Chimdi Chekwa with the 82nd overall selection, I felt the Chargers may need to look to the secondary once more.
Chargers defensive back Quentin Jammer will be 32 years old this June, and while he is one of the greatest cornerbacks to have played for the Chargers, he certainly is no spring chicken.
While I feel that Jammer does have a few more years left, drafting Michigan State defensive back Chris L. Rucker could give the Chargers time to mold Rucker into a Jammer-like clone.
Rucker possesses excellent height (6'1") and arm length to make it as an NFL corner. He is an incredibly physical player who is not afraid to stick a receiver at the line of scrimmage or bring down larger ball carriers.
Rucker is aggressive, with loose hips and great balance. He shows great skills at reading the quarterback and tracking the ball through the air.
A major plus is that Rucker has the versatility to play any defensive back position and in most any defensive schemes.
There could be a small drawback to drafting to Rucker though. He was suspended for two games during the 2010 season for violating team rules. Chargers' fans know how A.J. Smith likes players who can keep their noses clean.
Round 7, 234th Overall Pick: Evan Royster, RB, Penn State
Here is another selection that I didn't change from my second mock draft.
There is a consensus of mock drafts that show that Evan Royster will still be available when the Chargers are scheduled to use their last draft pick.
Royster could fill a void created by the impending departure of Darren Sproles and the possible departure of Mike Tolbert.