2014 Chargers Mock Draft
Based on 2014 Chargers TEAM NEEDS, there are many holes on San Diego’s roster. Drafting a roster by TEAM NEEDS is a whole different team building philosophy versus drafting the Best Player Available (BPA). Typically, 1st round draft picks are selected primarily with the best player available method, but when San Diego drafted DJ Fluker in the 1st round in 2013, that selection was clearly a TEAM NEED selection, not BPA. Most NFL Mock Drafts are based solely on TEAM NEED, not best player. Fluker played better than the 5 other offensive linemen selected before him, so maybe he was drafted as BPA.
The Chargers offensive line was, and has been, a weakness in years past, but the 2013 Chargers offensive line played very well together, considering a rash of injuries and positional switching. And when I mean GOOD, I mean better than the 2012 o-line, so “average” seems good. San Diego saw four different left tackles last year (King Dunlop, Mike Harris, DJ Fluker & a moment of Mike Remmers), all in the shadows of former Chargers left tackles Jared Gaither / Marcus McNeil (all gone with injures, leaving HOLES on the O-Line).
Chargers 1st Round (MOCK DRAFT)
Antonio Richardson, LT, Tennessee: San Diego need offensive line help, and needs it now. This team runs through Phillip Rivers and if Rivers is properly protected, then the Charger can win any given Sunday. Adding a top-tier huge left tackle in the draft is the least expensive left tackle option for the Chargers, who are a little tight on with the salary cap. Richardson is a mammoth of a man with surprising dexterity, and can shore up the left tackle spot for the next decade. Current left tackle King Dunlop did very well in 2013, but Dunlop and backup Mike Harris are injury liabilities. DJ Fluker played well filling in at left tackle for a few games (as the 4th string left tackle option) but talent, youth and depth needs to be addressed on the offensive line immediately. (other possible 1st round options: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan / Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama / Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame / Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State)
Chargers 2nd Round
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: The Chargers secondary is probably the team’s largest weakness. Fuller has great size and aggressiveness to shine in the Pagano zone defense. He also has the ability to be a very good press-corner. Fuller is an aggressive tackler and likes to hit people, but he does tend to be a “free spirit” and can be found out of position “free lancing.” Fuller could be a 1st round selection, but with his recent injury and not playing in the Senior Bowl, he could slide to the Chargers in the 2nd round. Chargers free agent addition CB Derek Cox flopped in his inaugural season with San Diego. Cox has one more year to prove to see playing time, but he is already on a short leash. Kyle Fuller could possibly start at CB in San Diego. (other possible 2nd round options: Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn / Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas / Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska)
Chargers 3rd Round
Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State: Continuing improving the Chargers Secondary, a rangy and savvy strong safety should be included. Brooks does not have the prototypical size of BIG strong safety, but his aggressive ability could be a prefect compliment to Eric Weddle at free safety. With Eric Weddle’s ability to freelance and seek interceptions, a quicker/more diverse strong safety is needed, as Brooks looks like a nice combination of a SS and FS. Marcus Gilchrist was decent at times, but he was the weakest link to a week secondary. Gilchrist will be improved in 2014, since he was play a brand new SS position, but he should be moved to corner/nickel. Youngster Brandon Taylor cannot seem to find the field because of injuries and Jahleel Addae might be the starter next season. Brooks could take Darrell Stucky’s roster spot, as special team’s captain Stucky will probably be leaving free agency. (other possible 3rd round options: Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina / Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State)
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech: Outside Linebacker and pass rush is probably more of a concern in San Diego than drafting one in the 4th round, but finding an immediate OLB rookie starter is rare. Georgia Tech does operate a 3-4 defense, so he not a DE to OLB convert. Attaochu can be a potential 2nd or 3rd round pick, but most of his BIG stats came within the last two or three games of this last season. He can develop as a solid pass rusher and is very versital with good speed, but overall he is a 4th round project. Attaochu will only be needed in sub packages in his rookie campaign, as Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, Jarret Johnson will be relied on the main guys next season. Promising youngsters Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams will look to improve this offseason too. (other possible 4th round options: Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee / Josh Huff, WR, Oregon)
5th Round: Justin Ellis, NT, Louisiana Tech
6th Round: Devon Kennard, LB, USC
7th Round: Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
***I am a NFL Draftnik. I love the NFL Draft and I love the grading and the mock-drafting process. Maybe because there is not any football to watch at the moment (this time of year), or maybe because I was a San Diego Chargers fan of the 90’s (who always seemed to have a very early draft pick). Never the less, the football season is over (for now) so fans can presume who their next superstar will be in the league. This is where true team building begins.