Round 6, Pick 183: Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut (39th overall prospect)
At the start of Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft, the highest-ranked player available on the board was Connecticut running back Jordan Todman. For 85 more draft picks, that remained the case, as Todman was surprisingly passed up for more than two full rounds. The Chargers did not have a draft pick in Rounds 4 or 5, but when they finally got on the clock on Day 3, they knew better than to allow Todman to continue sliding, and pounced on what may have been the greatest bargain of the entire draft.
Todman is a well-rounded running back who may not be excellent in any one area but was a very productive collegiate back who should continue to be productive at the next level. Todman is a good athlete, a forward runner, and can handle a bulk of carries if needed. He is not the same type of back as the departed Darren Sproles, so he cannot be considered a replacement for him, but he is a great addition to the Chargers’ backfield who will definitely make an impact offensively.
Round 6, Pick 201: Stephen Schilling, G, Michigan (97th overall prospect)
While so many other guards in the 2011 NFL Draft were overdrafted, Michigan’s Stephen Schilling suffered a surprising slide to the compensatory portion of the sixth round, even though he would have been a solid choice in Rounds 3 or 4.
The Chargers needed depth at the guard position, and got tremendous value by getting the fifth-ranked guard in the draft class after so many other guards had been taken. Schilling is a strong, well-rounded interior lineman who will be a great backup guard for the Chargers, and have the ability to step in and start if needed.
Round 7, Pick 234: Andrew Gachkar, OLB, Missouri (301st overall prospect)
Andrew Gachkar has the blueprint to be a terrific special teams player in the National Football League. He is an instinctive linebacker who tackles very well, but he lacks size and lateral athleticism.
That said, Gachkar has the ability to provide depth as an inside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense, while he can play a pivotal role on special teams. A player like Gachkar makes for a valuable seventh-round selection.
Round 1, Pick 18: Corey Liuget, DE, Illinois (30th overall prospect)
Based on what I have seen of the Chargers’ two preseason games prior to writing this, I have trouble criticizing this selection, because Corey Liuget has looked impressive making plays as a defensive end. However, Liuget may not have been the best choice for the Chargers at 18th overall.
Liuget is a talented interior pass rusher who appears to be transitioning well to the 5-technique position, but that is not his natural fit; he is best suited to play at defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.
That does not make Liuget a bad choice, but the Chargers could have had an even greater talent who is a natural fit as a 5-technique defensive end in California’s Cameron Jordan. Jordan was tremendous value in the second half of the first round, and one of the best players available. Liuget was not a bad choice, but they should not have passed up Jordan, a better value and scheme fit, to select him.
Not the Best Pick
Round 3, Pick 82: Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State (103rd overall prospect)
Adding another wide receiver was a good move by the San Diego Chargers, but Vincent Brown may not have been the best choice at this spot in the draft. Brown is a very good route runner with great hands, and he was a big playmaker collegiately. However, Brown lacks the speed to be a big playmaker in the National Football League.
He was not necessarily a reach in Round 3, but there were numerous better options at wide receiver available, including Hawaii’s Greg Salas, Troy’s Jerrel Jernigan and Tennessee’s Denarius Moore. Not a bad pick, but not the best pick.
“What The …?” Picks
Round 2, Pick 50: Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson (168th overall prospect)
The Chargers made a number of really peculiar selections on Day 2 of the 2011 NFL Draft, the first of which was Marcus Gilchrist. Gilchrist is a solid cornerback with good athleticism and is solid against the run, and I think Gilchrist can be a solid contributor as a dime back and special teams player. That said, Gilchrist should have been selected in Round 5 or 6, not in the second round.
There was much better value available at the position in Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, who would have been a great value at this point. Gilchrist has the potential to be a decent role player, but he was a massive reach in Round 2, a pick that is difficult to rationalize because Gilchrist lacks the size and pass coverage ability to be a starter at the position, which is expected of a cornerback selected in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 61: Jonas Mouton, OLB, Michigan (315th overall prospect)
While the Chargers may have gotten the greatest bargain in the entire draft as Jordan Todman fell to them in the sixth round, they also made the worst reach of the entire draft by selecting Jonas Mouton in Round 2. I do not completely dislike Mouton as a prospect; he is an instinctive linebacker who flashed NFL potential in his collegiate career. The problem is just that: he only flashed that potential.
Mouton never became a consistently productive linebacker at Michigan, and it is hard to becoming a productive NFL linebacker. He has potential as a special teams player, but he should not have been selected higher than Round 7. For the Chargers to draft Mouton in Round 2 was a drastic reach, for he does not have the talent to ever be productive enough to live up to that draft status. One of the worst selections of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Round 3, Pick 89: Shareece Wright, CB, USC (276th overall prospect)
Adding one cornerback was a good decision for the San Diego Chargers, but they did not have a great enough need at the position to warrant drafting two of them in the first three rounds of the draft. But even if they had, that would not have warranted selecting Shareece Wright in Round 3.
Wright is a hard hitter, but the cornerback position is primarily about a player’s ability in pass coverage, and Wright is weak in that department. Wright is a very inconsistent cover corner who gives up big plays, and while he can make big hits, he is not a sure tackler, missing tackles he should make.
Given all these concerning areas of his game, Wright was worth a Round 7 draft selection based on his upside, but should not have been selected much higher. Selecting him in Round 3 was another terrible reach by the Chargers and another pick they are likely to regret.
The Picks They Traded
Round 4, Pick 115 was traded during the 2010 NFL Draft along with a 2010 Round 6 selection in order to move up 16 spots in the third round to draft inside linebacker Donald Butler.
Giving up a fourth-round selection was quite a steep price for moving sixteen spots in the third round. Donald Butler is a talented run-stopping middle linebacker who could make the trade worth it, but he missed the entirety of his rookie season due to an Achilles injury. I am not sure that Butler was a player worth giving up a fourth-round pick to move up half of the third round for.
Round 5, Pick 149 was traded during the 2010 NFL Draft in order to move up 13 spots in the fifth round to draft defensive tackle Cam Thomas.
Cam Thomas is a solid backup nose tackle who was very good value as a fifth-round selection. However, the Chargers should not have traded two Round 5 picks for another Round 5 pick; that is not a very effective use of value. I cannot blame the Chargers for trading up for Thomas given his value at that point in the draft last year, but they should have given up less than a second fifth-round draft pick.
Round 7, Pick 220 was traded in September 2010 in exchange for wide receiver Patrick Crayton.
Patrick Crayton is a good slot receiver, well worth giving up a seventh-round selection for, so this was a good trade the Chargers made last season.
The San Diego Chargers got a good player in the first round in Corey Liuget, although he may not have been the best selection at 18th overall. However, even though the Chargers had four draft picks on Day 2, as a result of trading Antonio Cromartie and Charlie Whitehurst prior to last season, they may have had the worst Friday night of any of the NFL’s 32 teams during the draft, making three very poor selections and another questionable decision. They got four players on that day, but the notion that any of them will be impact players in the National Football League seems unlikely.
The Chargers did not have a fourth- or fifth-round selection, but they did get the absolute bargain of the draft in Jordan Todman. The Chargers addressed needs at defensive end, wide receiver, guard, and running back, but while the Chargers’ late bargains made the end of their draft class look really good, the team’s horrendous picks on Day 2 diminish their draft grade to a C-.