Ahhh the draft is so close now we can all nearly taste it! So what will the Chargers do in this year's draft? What are their most pressing needs? Well I'm glad you asked after the jump I will break down the Chargers needs position by position and give my opinion as to what they will do in this year's draft.
QB: After beating-up the Seahawks up and taking his lunch money (Whitehurst trade), the Chargers now have a pressing need for a 3rd sting QB. Ideally they will be able to find someone in the later rounds with some upside but is rather rough around the edges which they can smooth out over the next season or two. Another thing to consider is that Volek is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season and while he may no longer have aspirations to become a starter he may look for a team in which he has a little bit more a chance to see the field.
RB: By far the most pressing need on the team. If the season started today the Bolts running game would be in even worse shape than it was last season. I expect that the Chargers to draft two backs this year, one in the top 3 rounds and another in the bottom four and trade Darren Sproles sometime during the 2nd round.
FB: Tolbert showed major improvement last season and with another off-season in the weight room and in Norv's system I would expect him to only be better this season. The Chargers may sign a UDFA to fill in as a warm body during training camp but I don't expect to see much movement at this position.
WR: With Jackson and Floyd both most likely becoming free agents next season the Bolts may be looking to add a little depth at WR in this year's draft. If someone like Eric Decker slips to the end of the third round it would not surprise me if the Bolts pulled the trigger on him.
TE: With Gates and Wilson the Chargers are pretty much set at the position, however, they may look to add a big bodied TE either with a late draft pick or as an UDFA to replace Manumaleuna in short yardage and goal-line packages.
OL: Every position is pretty much set on the Charger's O-line with the exception of right tackle. With question marks surrounding Clary's injury and the ability of Dombrowski to take over the starting role, if a tackle that the Chargers like falls to them in one of the early rounds it would not surprise me to see them pull the trigger on him, otherwise I think their o-line pretty much set for this season.
DL: It seems like everyone is predicting that the Chargers will pick a 3-4 DT somewhere in the first two rounds, I disagree. The Chargers currently have 10 D-linemen on their roster at the moment 3 of which they either re-signed or tendered this off-season. We have also heard from both the coaching staff and front office that the team is high on both Nwagbuo and Garay. Granted this the signings and stock piling of D-linemen could be a plan B if there are no DT's on the board when the Chargers pick or it could all be smoke and mirrors to try and get other teams off the Chargers scent (in which case I bought it hook line and sinker), but unless a DT is on the board that the Chargers really like I just don't see them picking one, at least in the early rounds.
OLB: In my opinion there are always two types of players you take if they are on the board regardless of positional depth, shutdown corners and elite pass rushers. If a dominate pass rushing in on the board at any point in which the Chargers pick comes up I think they have to take him.
ILB: While ILB does not seem to be an issue this upcoming season (at least from a depth standpoint) all four main contributors at the position (Cooper, Dobbins, Siler and Burnett) are scheduled to become free agents next off-season. I would look for the Bolts to add a more project type ILB (like they did with Siler) somewhere in the later rounds to help fill out the depth chart in 2011.
CB: At one point this off-season I was certain that the Chargers would use a high pick on a CB, however with the signings of both Vasher and Strickland I no longer think that this is the case, unless someone they really like falls to them in the second or third round (they have too many other pressing needs to draft one in the first).
S: While there is still some uncertainty with Ellison as the starting SS, I don't see the chargers adding much to this position through the draft other than some possible late round depth.
1. (#28) RB or OLB (Hopefully Mathews)
2. (#40) OT or WR (I really hope Charles Brown slips to #40 if not I could see them picking Demaryius Thomas)
3. (#91) DT, CB, WR, RB (I think the Chargers will be looking to take the best player on the board and get the most value possible with this pick)
4. (#126) ILB, RB (If one of the bigger name running backs falls this far I think the Bolts may grab him otherwise I think they will look to add ILB depth)
5. (#159) QB, S, ILB (time to replace clipboard Jesus)
5. (#168) ILB, S, WR, RB (adding a little depth for 2011)
7. (#235) K (just to make Kaeding sweat a little)