2011 NFL Draft Grades: Assessing the San Diego Chargers' 2nd and 3rd Round Picks
The first round of the NFL draft came with many shocks and surprises. Players that were projected within the early to mid-first round fell to the end of the first round. Other prospects that were projected to go in later rounds found themselves hearing their named called early.
This bizarre game found its way into the second and third rounds as well.
The San Diego Chargers were looking to draft players that would fill immediate needs as well as fit into the long-term plans for the franchise. The Chargers who finished No. 1 in both offense and defense in 2009 are looking to build on that solid foundation and hope it carries into 2010.
Let's take a look at how the Chargers' faired in the second and third rounds, and see if Chargers general manager A.J. Smith still has the ability to find good talent and return the Chargers to the Super Bowl caliber team they once were or if he continues on the same path over the last few drafts like he has no idea what he is doing.
Round 2, 50th Overall Pick: Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson
San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith looked to add depth in the secondary during the second round and with the 50th overall pick, selected Clemson cornerback Marcus Gilchrist.
There was speculation that Gilchrist may have been taken by the Philadelphia Eagles with 54th overall pick, so Smith felt it necessary no to take a chance and select him with 50th overall selection.
While Gilchrist's selection does fill a need at cornerback, I fell the Chargers could have used the 50th pick to draft a player where there was an immediate need, like offensive line or a pass rushing linebacker.
Gilchrist is a versatile player though with the ability to play cornerback, but safety as well. With unknown future of current Chargers safety Eric Weddle uncertain, the Chargers felt that he may be a good addition to the secondary.
He is big, strong and quick, all skills that athletically make him a top prospect. He has the potential to lead the defense from the secondary however
Gilchrist should be an immediate contributor in either a nickel or dime package setting.
Draft Pick Grade: B
Round 2, 61st Overall Pick: Jonas Mouton, ILB, Michigan
This year's draft was full of shocks and surprises, but nothing shocked Chargers fans more than the selection of Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton with the 61st overall pick.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said it best. Kiper had Mouton on his underrated list. That would be the first red flag. If you were to have looked at any of the full mock drafts completed the day before the draft, the highest round you would have Mouton selected in was the fifth round. One mock draft had Mouton as a late seventh-round pick/undrafted free agent.
Potential fifth-rouund selection to second-round draft pick? I'm still scratching my head on this one.
Of course, all of the analysts were touting his special teams abilities, and every Chargers' fan knows how bad our special teams was in 2009, but you don't use a second-round draft pick to upgrade special teams!
That is like drafting a kicker in the first round!
I think what upsets me the most is that there was no upgrade of the pass rush in the first two rounds. The Chargers finished the season with the number one defense in the NFL, the only way to stay the No. 1 defense in the NFL is by upgrading through the draft.
Illinois linebacker Martez WIlson was still available when the Chargers selected at 61. Instead Wilson goes to a New Orleans Saints team that were Super Bowl champions two seasons ago.
Draft Pick Grade: D-
Round 3, 82nd Overall Pick: Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State
The Chargers made a great selection with their first pick in the third round, and after the way Chargers' had drafted in the second round, this pick finally gave fans something to cheer about.
Having played at Qualcomm Stadium while attending San Diego State, wide receiver Vincent Brown will definitely feel at home.
Brown is a perfect fit for the Chargers passing attack and gives quarterback Philip Rivers another solid target to aim for. While he doesn't show great speed, Brown does excel with his excellent ability to catch the ball and his precise route running skills.
His performance in the San Diego County Credit Union Pointsettia Bowl was outstanding. Brown had eight catches for 165 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 beating of Navy. The touchdown came on a beautiful 53 yard catch and run, his longest of the night. Brown helped San Diego State win their first bowl game since 1969.
Draft Pick Grade: B+
Round 3, 89th Overall Pick, Shareece Wright, CB, Southern California
This was an interesting selection, but a good one. Having already drafted a cornerback with the 50th overall selection, the Chargers decided to improve the secondary again selecting Shareece Wright with their second pick in the third round.
Wright has possesses good instincts on the field not only against the pass, but against the run as well. He shows a solid combination of speed and athleticism, however Wright wasn't as productive as USC would have hoped for.
There are some durability concerns when it comes to Wright. He was considered a sleeper in the draft after suffering an injury during USC's Pro Day.
I guess Chargers general manager A.J. Smith and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky felt that he was worthy enough to take a gamble on, and are banking on the fact that he will make a full recovery from his injury.
Draft Pick Grade: B-