Changing My Stance on the Chargers' First-Round Pick

Hey, remember a couple of weeks ago when I predicted that J.J. Watt would be the San Diego Chargers first-round draft pick? I've changed my mind. I know, you're shocked. Here are my reasons:

  1. Wonko's lesson learned from the SBN Mock Draft. In a nutshell, there are more ready-to-play DEs than there are ready-to-play OLBs in this year's draft. With two second-round picks and two third-round picks, the Chargers have everything they need to get any player they want in the second round and still have picks left over.
  2. Jon Dove's scouting report on Ryan Kerrigan, coupled with a few highlight reels I've watched (this is my way ot pre-draft scouting), has me thinking Kerrigan could work well in the Chargers defensive scheme.
  3. Cameron Heyward and Christian Ballard. There's a chance one or both of these guys, who were absolute studs on the field last season, will be available in the second round. I know this is just my first point revisited with more focus, but these guys are prime A.J. Smith picks. Two players they have talent and have proved themselves on the field, but have dropped for other reasons (an injury for Heyward, positive drug test for Ballard). These could be great value picks.

Did you listen to me on The Brandon Spano Show last night? If not, here's the recording of the segment. In it you'll find out....well, not a ton because I got cut off fairly early. What can I say? I like talking Chargers football, and once I get started it's hard for me to stop. I did find it amusing that they tried playing me off with music though. It was also fun to get in a stab at Brandon Marshall. I mean a dig, not a stab.

Anyway, what I would've said at the end of my final 10 minute rant is that Ryan Kerrigan in the first round, plus Heyward or Ballard in the second, would make a ton of sense and would make me very happy. Also, I think the Chargers could get those guys without having to trade any picks, which means they'd also be able to pick up good talent at CB, MLB, RB or WR. That'd be a nice draft, no?

Here's my layman's assessment of Ryan Kerrigan, for those looking for one. He's a not-as-fast, not-as-quick version of Shawne Merriman. He hits players like a freight train (watching Terrelle Pryor run in fear was fun), always seems to know where the play is, runs through traffic well and is always looking to strip the ball. He also seems to have a sensational ability to jump the snap, and has a good first step to go with it.

Most importantly, and unlike Larry English, his best move is to use his leverage and lower-body strength to bull-rush opposing players and get to the play in the backfield. And he's done it consistently in one of the better conferences in college football. That's a skill that should translate well to the NFL, and quickly.

So there for have it. My new first-round prediction for the Chargers is the same as Kevin Acee's (again, I know, you're shocked): Purdue DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan


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