It's always tough to get into college scouting this early in this season. Everyone is pumped up about the coming NFL season, no one wants to talk about next season yet. Nevertheless, next season will come. For those that watch college football and keep an eye out for future Chargers week 1 still counts. The other part that's hard is figuring out where to focus out scouting energies. Some positions will may need immediate replacements next year, others may need depth, others could use a project or two and others may need nothing no help at all. Right now, the Chargers probably feel they have everything filled pretty well and the Bolts From The Blue scouts agree. So, probably the best way to focus our energies would be on the positions with impending free agency. Here are the potential 2012 free agents (excuse me if I miss a couple, but these are the major ones):
WR Vincent Jackson, WR Patrick Crayton, S Bob Sanders, DT Antonio Garay, C Nick Hardwick, FB Jacob Hester, P Mike Scifres, S Steve Gregory and ILB Stephen Cooper.
The Chargers should definitely be watching for 1st and 2nd prospects at WR. If Bob Sanders leaves the Chargers will be in the market for a high end safety draft pick. Nose tackle is a tough one. It's tough to find those without drafting really high and the Chargers already have a project in Cam Thomas. I hate to think of the possibility of losing Hardwick or Scifres and I think Hester will work out a deal with the Chargers, but nevertheless the scouts should be watching the top college centers, punters and fullbacks. Gregory and Cooper are just depth guys, but that will open up roster spots that could be used on some mid round prospects.
It's also worth noting that in 2013 both starting OGs are free agents. There could be an opprtunity to get a project at that spot. The same goes for the starting CBs, but the Chargers just took two young CBs most likely eyeing that future situation.
So, much like last year the focus will be on WRs and Safeties. Some of the top DTs and Centers need to enter the conversation. Mid rounders for all of those positions will also be considered as well as for FB, ILB and OG. OLBs could enter the mix if it looks like the current crop isn't getting the job done. DE, QB, CB, RB and OT will be scouted sparingly.
With that pretext out of the way, let's check out where the week 1 focus should go.
|For some this might be considered the 2nd biggest game of the opening week, but the other big game (LSU vs Oregon) features a lot of inexperienced players at the positions the Chargers would be looking at. Both are teams that our scouts will have to circle back if some of the juniors or seniors start impressing. This game however as a few more appetizing prospects. They aren't the sexy 1st WRs and Safeties that we'll look at in the future (those guys are facing weaker competition this week), but there are a good number of players to watch and there's no question about the level of competition here.
Nate Potter, Boise State, OT/OG, Senior, 6'5, 295 lbs (3rd round) - Potter made the scouting list last year, but mainly as a tackle since the Chargers were unsure about their Marcus McNeill and Jeromey Clary situations. Another thing that's change is that Potter is now seen as more of an OG prospect. There's a chance that some senior year improvements could elevate him back to that status, but the BFTB scouts will focus on whether he can be an OG. He's a long framed offensive lineman with some room to carry more weight. Does better in zone blocking. Needs to learn to finish. Does run blocking well, but plays in a passing spread offense not unlike the skills Louis Vazquez had at Texas Tech. Gets good marks for character mostly because of his grades. Has a bachelor's in business and is working on a master's.
George Iloka, Boise State, S, Senior, 6'3, 216 lbs (mid rounds) - Good at diagnosing plays. Can use this awareness to get good breaks and anticipate routes. He can be a physical presence down the middle of the field. Long strider that can cover ground, but has issues man-to-man. Needs to prove he has the athleticism to play the ball in difficult situations. Not the best run support safety.
Other Boise State Prospects: Billy Winn, DT (2nd round), would be a DE for Chargers; Doug Martin, RB (2nd round) only a consideration if problems at RB occur; Kellen Moore QB (late rounds) possible 3rd QB; Kyle Efaw, TE (late rounds) could be a depth pick; Dan Paul, FB (late round, UDFA) good year could put him on Chargers radar for Hester replacement; Tyler Shoemaker, WR (late round, UDFA) team is replacing two WRs that left for NFL, opportunity is there to improve draft stock at position Chargers need.
Cordy Glenn, Georgia, OG, Senior, 6'5, 335 lbs (1st round) - His best skill is run blocking and that skill gets the highest grade possible, but also gets high grades for pass blocking as well. Extremely durable, hasn't missed a game yet. He's got that mean streak you look for and is real tough and physical. More than held his own against Nick Fairley last year when he went against him one-on-one. No character issues and has shown maturity since becoming the starter as a freshman.
Ben Jones, Georgia, OC, Senior, 6'2, 311 lbs (2nd round) - Another durable Bulldog lineman. He's a team leader, which is always a good quality in a center, He's not the greatest run or pass blocker, but gets good grades for both. Can struggle against counters, but is smart and knows how to get good leverage and positioning. Doesn't work as well in space as he does in close quarters. A smart player with a lot of aggressiveness and toughness to give.
Other Georgia Prospects: Blair Walsh, K (late rounds) if Nate Kaeding gets into trouble; Brandon Boykin, CB (2nd round) scouted last year, but Chargers now have more depth at CB; Drew Butler, P (UDFA) Mike Scifres reaching free agency; Justin Anderson, OG (UDFA) the other OG, but maybe his stock improves this year and becomes someone the Chargers can worth with.