It's a brutal business , to be sure , and no one knows that better than AJ who ascended to his present rank by virtue of tragic circumstance and now some years later faces the most critical draft of his GM tenure . True , there have been some memorable draft moments during his time in San Diego, some good , some bad , but the sum total has been a disappointment to all concerned . I have been plenty critical yet I must concede that the entirety of the decision making blame cannot fall on AJ alone , he has had plenty of help (?) in the bad decision department . The bottom line here is that although AJ and his HC Norv survived this year , a new administration is a definite possibility in the very near future . Who will lead that administration ? By most accounts it will be a Spanos , good luck with that , we may all be missing AJ rather quickly when that shoe falls .
So how will AJ Smith save his and Norv's ass ? Having anyone of his prior draft picks emerge as a stud would go along way in furthering his cause ( Liuget-Gilchrist-Bueller - anyone?) being more prudent with resources like draft picks may help as well so while we may not know how good the players chosen in this years draft are for some time we do know that if you don't have the pick you cannot make the selection . However bold or conservative AJ chooses to be , do so with the picks in pocket and do not give up multiple picks , including future ones . AJ has positioned the roster nicely heading into the draft so as long as picks are not lost he should feel able to go BPA in most cases . That leaves the hard part as figuring out and stacking the draft board . Keep fingers crossed !
I'm not sure how AJ will respond to the reprieve , desperation ? lame duck ? We'll know soon enough , if the off season signings are any indicator , he hasn't thrown in the towel , so maybe he's due for some luck in the draft . There are 3 weeks to kick the tires of various prospects so we'll probably get the poop through the grapevine on who piques interest , let's dish about a few .
In 2012 AJ has kinda boxed himself into a corner , his roster has returning starters everywhere but the safety spot opposite Weddle ( the outdated term would be SS ) so his game plan would be either to draft one in a weak class ( the likely scenario) or sign a vet FA at some point during the off season . The problem is if one waits for roster cuts it becomes increasingly difficult for a guy to learn the defense , even a vet , so it would seem more logical if AJ were to be in the free agent market for a S he would of signed one earlier , maybe none appealed but if you want a starter to succeed give him the best chance possible . So it would seem that AJ will look to the draft for his bookend S and in this draft that could prove tricky . When is the question ? If Barron ( the consensus #1 S) goes to Dallas at #14 there will be two S hungry teams left in front of the Chargers - Eagles and NYJ . Will AJ wait ? Everyone knows he wants Harrison Smith and he's lousy at keeping a secret ( remember Mathews ?) so once Barron comes off the board and Harrison Smith is the best S available can AJ hold his water while both Philly and NYJ select ? AJ has to dare either team to reach further than he can and then if Smith is still there ( most likely) at #18 just take him there , don't try to move up in the 2nd . Trade down if a partner can be found or take Smith at #18 , do not trade up . Should AJ empty the coffers to take his guy it will only enhance his chances of getting axed . Will this be the last draft of AJ Smith ? I doubt it , but it could very well be his last as Charger GM , I wish him and the personnel guys all the best .