So basically, take this article for what it's worth—a pre-pre NFL draft analysis.
The 2012 draft promises to be strong at many positions that the Chargers could use help at.
Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley won't be the only stars coming out of this draft class.
As it stands now, the Chargers would receive the 10th pick in the draft. All indications point to players like Matt Kalil, Morris Claiborne, Quinton Couples and Justin Blackmon already being selected.
Let's take a look at some of the other players that could help the Chargers team.
Iowa seems to continually churn out solid NFL talent (don't believe me? Take a look).
Riley Reiff is no exception.
Reiff is a three-time state wrestling champ (something you love to see in O-linemen...Nick Hardwick anyone?) and has had a solid career at Iowa. He played tight end and defensive line in high school so you know he is athletic enough to make it in the NFL.
This 6'6" beast would be a great addition to an aging offensive line. We do not know the extent of the Dielman concussion and Hardwick is getting older too. Plus, injuries to the offensive line seem never-ending, so you can always use some good depth.
Reiff is slotted as a tackle, but he could make a move to guard given his good feet and smaller, by NFL standards, 300-pound frame.
Manti Te'o is arguably the best middle linebacker in this year's class.
Te'o was the top ILB recruit coming out of high school, and after some shenanigans with BYU, chose to go to Notre Dame, who accepted him with open arms.
Te'o has been the Irish's best defensive player since he stepped on the field his rookie season. The man diagnoses plays like it's his business (I mean, it is his business, but he is darn good at it) and in a 3-4 scheme like the Chargers run, play-recognition is paramount.
The Chargers just celebrated Junior Seau at home this past Sunday.
Do we need more of a reminder of how important a dominant middle linebacker is on defense?
Sorry, but Donnie Edwards, Stephen Cooper and Takeo Spikes were/are not the answer. It's about time we find someone to go alongside a budding Donald Butler.
This picture describes what the Chargers' defense needs...ATTITUDE
Vontaze Burfict has received mixed reviews from the college football world.
On one hand, there is no doubting that he has the physical make-up to be the next great middle linebacker in the league. The man is gifted and has been a beast since starting his freshman year at ASU.
The man is mean and will do anything to make you regret stepping on his field.
On the other hand, due to his nasty streaks, people around the league say he will be a poor locker-room guy because he lacks discipline; he lets emotions get the best of him too often.
I am sorry, but I have to go off on this point for a second...
Since when has being a badass been a bad thing in the NFL? At one of the most punishing positions to play, inside linebacker, you have to have some attitude. You have to avoid 350-pound linemen who are coming to kill you every play while you try to tackle a 225-pound man running a 4.40 40 right at you.
Disciplining players is on the management of the organization. Too often I hear of teams that are unwilling to draft an "undisciplined player" (oh, who usually happens to be black. But that is for another day's discussion) and, thus, pick the safer, less talented player.
This mindset defines the Chargers for me. A.J. Smith nor Norv Turner have the mental fortitude to handle a player like this.
If they are still in office, I highly doubt we draft Burfict—a player that I feel will be the next great ILB in the NFL.
Courtney Upshaw has Terrell Suggs written all over him.
Upshaw has been a cornerstone of Nick Saben's defense for the past three years.
Upshaw comes in at 6'1" 270 and can play both DE and OLB. He doesn't exactly fit the pass-rushing prototype the 3-4's usually have, but he is such a talent that he is worth a look.
Upshaw could solidify a OLB corps that is getting older with Shaun Philips and fill the hole left by the once-great Shawne Merriman.
Too often A.J. Smith has drafted for scheme rather than taking the best player on the board.
Why not draft the best players available and create schemes around those players?
That is one mindset of GMs that I will never understand.
Also, can we get some SEC talent up in the house? Please?
In a league in which teams are passing more by the second, you can never have enough good cornerbacks.
Dre Kirkpatrick actually reminds me a lot of a young Quentin Jammer—a guy who lacks elite man skills, but is physical and great against the run.
This is the first year that Jammer has shown an inability to cover wideouts on an island. He has slowed down just a touch, giving the younger, more athletic wide receivers an advantage.
If the Chargers are smart, they will move Jammer to safety alongside Weddle. He will a be a short-term solution there while we find a replacement.
Meanwhile, I feel Cason and Gilchrist could be a solid duo once they get some more games under their belts. Cason got jumped on early after the Jets game, but except for that, he has been solid this year. Gilchrist got torched by the Packers, but who hasn't? Plus, he is a rookie—give him some time.
Kirkpatrick could come in as a situation corner/special team guy.
If you can't tell, I would really like some SEC talent on the Chargers.