So as we work through the combine and toward the draft I thought this was a story worth mentioning or speculating about. Back in the first week of February the Chargers signed a DE/OLB prospect and S to 3 year future reserve contracts. See the brief article below:
"SAN DIEGO - The Chargers have signed defensive end/linebacker Ricky Elmore and safety DeAndre McDaniel to three-year Reserve/Future contracts. Elmore, a 2011 sixth-round pick for Green Bay, was cut after training camp and spent time on the francisco-49ers practice squad. Elmore (6-foot-5 and 255 pounds) made 21.5 sacks his last two seasons at the University of Arizona. McDaniel, a college teammate of 2011 second-round pick Marcus Gilchrist was not drafted, but spent time with the New Orleans Saints in training camp) and the indianapolis-colts Week 1 practice squad) last year. Twice a first-team All-ACC performer, McDaniel (6-foot, 217 pounds) intercepted 12 passes in his last two college seasons at Clemson."
Elmore - Elmore was a three year starter for Arizona and was always making big plays. After starting nine games in 2008 during his sophomore season, Elmore turned into a superstar in 2009. The 6-5, 255 pound Simi Valley, California product ranked second in the conference with 10.5 sacks and emerged as a pretty good run stuffer as well, totaling 44 tackles. In 2010 Elmore was at it again. This time around he led the Pac-10 with 11 sacks and added a team high 13.0 tackles-for-loss. He was finally honored by the conference with second-team accolades.
Elmore's draft stock is not very high because of his perceived lack of athletic ability. There are certainly pass rushers out there who are faster and stronger than Elmore, but he is a very underrated prospect who will be a steal if he falls to the fifth round like most people expect.
McDaniel - DeAndre McDaniel did not move into a starting spot at strong safety until the 2009 season, but he was a big part of the Clemson defense since his freshman year in 2007. McDaniel earned some All-ACC freshman honors that season when he tallied 33 tackles. As a linebacker in 2008, McDaniel started off the season slowly, but had 51 of his 77 tackles on the season in the last seven games. Arguably the best game of his career up to that point came in the Gator Bowl against Nebraska when he had two tackles-for-loss and returned a fumble 28 yards for a touchdown. The late season success in 2008 paved the way for high expectations in 2009. Despite moving to the strong safety position, McDaniel posted 102 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks and picked off an amazing eight passes, including one that went for a touchdown.
Heading into 2010, NFL scouts wanted to see what McDaniel could do as the leader of the secondary. The Clemson pass defense is certainly not as effective this season compared to last, but McDaniel's decision to return for his senior season is paying off. McDaniel is having a fine senior season and should be near the top (if not at the top) of the list of strong safeties taken in the 2011 draft.
3/22 Update: The big concern with McDaniel is his speed. At Clemson he was not asked to drop into deep coverage very often. His lack of speed shown at the NFL combine has some very concerned about his ability to play safety at the next level. McDaniel may still be the first strong safety taken, but it will not likely happen until the third or fourth round.
So here are two late round prospects from the 2011 draft who didn't really catch on wherever they ended up landing. According to the scouting reports they were both extremely productive college players and were both late round prospects in last years draft. To date the Chargers
front office has done an outstanding job finding talent on other teams practice squads or FAs that other teams had given up on such as: Antwan Barnes, Antonio Garay, Jared Gaither, and Tommie Harris. Chargers management has also done a pretty good job the last several years finding talent late in drafts.
All that said my questions are as follows:
- What do you think about these acquisitions?
- Do you think these signings effect the Chargers draft strategy in any way?
- Do you think either of these guys ends up making the team?