One unfortunate outcome of the first game of the season was some serious injuries. When scouting for the next draft these injuries have to be taken into account. Last year, injuries to Buster Davis guaranteed that Chargers would be looking at WR in the 2011 draft. Same goes for ILB when Donald Butler was lost for the season. Then again some injuries don't impact the draft at all. What kind of injuries did we see in week 1.
Luis Castillo's injury is kind of a cascade situation. Castillo will be back later this season or at the start of next season. However, it speeds up the evaluation process for his backups. Vaughn Martin needs to prove that he's capable of producing in this role, otherwise the Chargers may draft his replacement. Jacques Cesaire needs to show that he's capable of taking lots of snaps and staying healthy. How things go with these two will determine some draft choices.
Nate Kaeding's injury probably does not affect the draft. Even for those who want Kaeding replaced, the best candidate to do that is his new replacement Nick Novak. Novak signed a 2 year deal and in all likelihood will be in camp come next spring. Kaeding isn't safe (remember he's a free agent after 2012 anyway), but the situation will Novak precludes focusing scouting for kickers.
Jonas Mouton's lingering shoulder injury is hurting the Chargers ability to evaluate him on the field. Too much missed time and the Chargers will want more young competition at that ILB spot next year. Same goes for Vincent Brown. He's the only WR under contract past 2012 so he'll be here a while, but at some he needs to show whether he's a future starter. Larry English is getting close to Buster Davis territory, but his contract buys him more time and Travis LaBoy, Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes' contracts run through 2012 so there's no immediate need at that position.
Now on to the scouting.
As far as prospects go this game is fairly one dimensional. Oklahoma has a wide receiver the Chargers should be interested in and injured LB that is Bolt-worthy, bu injured. Florida St. has their share of prospects (obviously since they are a top ranked team), just not necessarily ones that are fits for the Chargers. Nevertheless, this is a game where all these prospects will be facing top competition and will go a long way towards evaluating their NFL potential. The key man is Ryan Broyles. He's the Sooner playmaker and the Florida St. defense is stout.
I'll be at the San Diego St. game on Saturday and won't be able to see the Oklahoma-Florida St. game and Alabama plays around that same time. So, the top team I'll likely have a chance to watch is Stanford. By now many of you have heard of Andrew Luck. He is the name on everyone's lips. He's to football's draft what Stephen Strasburg was to baseball, LeBron James to basketball or Sidney Crosby to hockey. He's been a known top prospect since even before he was draft eligible. Current 49er Head Coach Jim Harbaugh brought him to even more prominence last year as the two of them led the Cardinal to an Orange Bowl win. Luck has the goods and is sure to show it on Saturday. However, the Chargers aren't interested (although maybe their division rivals will be), but he's got plenty of talent around him we can watch and Arizona has a wide receiver the Chargers should have an eye on.
|BFTB Scouting Targets:|
|Ryan Broyles||Oklahoma||WR||Sr.||5'10||187 lbs|
|Even though he's a different type of wideout than current Kansas City Chief Jon Baldwin, I see Broyles taking a similar path. At times he's in the 1st round conversation and other times people see him as a 2nd rounder. Some of that may have to do with his size (with Baldwin it was speed), but with Broyles' abilities I don't see that size as a problem. The one thing that would keep him out of the 1st is that there are number of really good WR prospects that have the height to go along with the tools he has. However, if he's the top WR on the board in the late first he's got to be a strong Chargers candidate. Just watch him, you'll be impressed. (1st or 2nd round)
|Excellent pass rusher, but only a junior so he may not come out. He's considered undersized for a 4-3 DE so a move to 3-4 OLB will be necessary, which is fine by the Chargers. This game is not the toughest test for him. He's got something to prove against the run, but he's not facing the greatest run offense. It'll be a chance to show off how good of a pass rusher he is, but Oklahoma's OTs are experience, but are only fringe NFL prospects. Landry Jones is pretty savvy, so that could be the biggest challenge for him. (2nd Round)
|Smallish OLB that would be a 3-4 ILB candidate like Jonas Mouton. (3rd round)
|Landry Jones||Oklahoma||QB||Sr.||6'4||230 lbs|
|The #2 or #3 ranked QB that could be in this draft. (1st round)
|Andrew Datko||Florida St.||OT||Sr.||6'6||314 lbs|
|Good prospect, not a need for the Chargers. (2nd round)|
|Zebrie Sanders||Florida St.||OT||Sr.||6'5||295 lbs|
|Another good OT prospect. This a great opportunity for a pass rushing prospect to emerge from Oklahoma if he can beat one or both of these guys. I'm not sure who that would be though. (2nd round)
|Jamell Fleming||Oklahoma||CB||Sr.||5'10||192 lbs|
|CB not a need for Chargers. (Late Rounds)
|Frank Alexander||Oklahoma||DE||Sr.||6'3||262 lbs|
|If he can be a 3-4 OLB, then that might increase his draft stock and be of interest to the Chargers. (UDFA)
|James Hanna||Oklahoma||TE||Sr.||6'3||235 lbs|
|A nice weapon for the Sooner offense, Chargers always looking for TE competition. (UDFA)
|Beau Reliford||Florida St.||TE||Sr.||6'5||255 lbs|
|Big target. Same note applies her as it did for Hanna above.|
Coby Fleener, Stanford, TE, Senior, 6'6, 252 lbs (3rd round) - An even bigger target than the two TEs mentioned earlier. He's one of if not the top weapon for Andrew Luck. He hasn't missed a single game in his college career and durability would be a great quality in an Antonio Gates backup. He's an excellent pass catcher, runs his routes well, can get separation and can run after the catch better than any other of the current college TEs. He's not a 1st round pick because his blocking just isn't there. He shows potential in pass protection, but the run blocking needs work. Some of that can be taught, but some of it is good instincts about how to get leverage.
Shane Skov, Stanford, ILB, Senior, 6'3, 243 lbs (4th round) - The Chargers went to the Pac 10 (now Pac 12) well once before to get an undersized ILB in Donald Butler and Skov could be another such find. He's a hard worker who is fairly average across the board, but with no major weakness at the same time. He's a heady player who has the aggressiveness you want from a linebacker, but questions about athleticism, tackling and body control makes scouts wonder about any starting potential. Still, he has this whole year to erase those doubts.
Chris Owusu, Stanford, WR, Senior, 5'11, 195 lbs (4th round) - Possibly a Vincent Brown type. He plays for a top QB and he's about the same size. His production has lacked when looked at as a whole, but he's had some very good games. Some of that is due to injury as he's missed a fair amount of time over the years and some of it is that Luck has plenty of other options and he gets the best out of all them. As the senior leader of this year's wideout corps he should be a main target for luck and get a chance to show that he's a better route runner and pass catcher than scouts have given him credit for.
Delano Hall, Stanford, S, Senior, 5'10, 200 lbs (mid rounds) - A former RB who has the speed and size to play saferty in the NFL. He's still a work in progress at the position so some of his skills aren't up to snuff. However, he's shown some ability to get interceptions and the Chargers tend to like taking prospects with upside so he's on the radar.
Other Stanford Prospects: Andrew Luck, QB (1st overall) all eyes will be on him, but he's only on the Chargers radar as a future opponent; Jonathan Martin, OT (1st round) Luck's blindside protector is one of the top OTs prospects this year.
Juron Criner, Arizona, WR, Senior, 6'4, 215 lbs (2nd round) - His measurables are exactly what you want from a WR, but his speed is a question mark. His route running is very good and can pull off doubles moves and get over the top of the defense with NFL ability. His pass catching is very instinctual and smooth. No problems going over the middle of the field either. Hasn't quite developed yet as a run blocker, but with that size you'd think it could be taught. Very good prospect, just needs to prove that either he has the speed for the next level or doesn't need it.
Other Arizona Prospects: Nick Foles, QB (2nd) there are mixed reviews on Foles, some think he could start at the next level, others think he's at best a backup; Trevin Wade and Robert Golden, CBs (late rounds) a couple of fringey CB prospects, but good enough to test Owusu.