I should have made this before I wrote "The Real Mock Draft" I probably should have made a list of free agents the Bolts should go after, that way the picks would have made more sense, and it would have all tied together. In this piece I'll write the 5 players that I think the Chargers should sign, or take a really really good look at, as they could really help the team take the next step forward. This isn't the order these positions need to be addressed, just the specific positions in general. So without further rambling.....
5) Running Back-Danny Woodhead/Felix Jones-More specifically, 3rd down running back. These two guys could really help spread the field on 3rd down. With Ronnie Brown's contract up, the Chargers will need a 3rd down running back. Woodhead/Jones fit this role about as well as anyone. They both catch the ball very well, Jones has 8 total drops in 5 years, where Woodhead has 4 drops in the past 4 years. They are both very good in space, good route runners, and can beat angles when being covered by linebackers or safeties out of the backfield. They are both also underrated pass protectors. Maybe most important of all, both should be relatively cheap. Woodhead's current contract has him making $700k per year, where Jones makes $1.17 million per year(figures based on spotrac.com.) With both not having overwhelming seasons, there is really no reason to think they will be over paid in this years upcoming market, Jones is viewed as injury prone, and Woodhead is viewed as simply a 3rd down back.
4) Strong Safety-Kenny Philips-With Brandon Taylor tearing his ACL in week 16 verse the Jets, the Chargers might need to look for someone to fill the role while he gets healthy, or maybe even to take over that spot for good. Corey Lynch did an admirable job filling in, but he's just not good in run support, not a very good tackler, and better suited in obvious passing downs. In comes Kenny Philips. Reports surfaced in December that the Giants are moving on the Philips, and with the emergence of Stevie Brown that looks more and more likely. Philips has always been talented, and he has the pass coverage skills of a free safety, but plays the run of like a strong safety. He's constantly around the ball and would give the Chargers the best safeties in the NFL. His rookie contract is up this year, he currently makes $2.08 million a year. I believe past injures will keep him from getting a lofty contract, and make him affordable for San Diego to sign him.
3) Pass-Rusher-SHAWNE MERRIMAN-Relax, joking. There are a number of names you could go with here, you could also chose to resign & actually PLAY Antwan Barnes. But if we're going to sign someone, that guy is Paul Kruger. Unfortunately, the Ravens would be foolish to let arguably their best defensive player walk away, so that's not going to happen. I present to yo, Victor Butler. OLB Dallas Cowboys, played limited action for the Cowboys, and played more and more when Ware & Spencer were hurt. When he was on the field, he was as effective as you could ask. Got consistent pressure when he was on the field, and rarely is over matched when playing the run, even at about 245 pounds. According to PFF, he was the 10th best in his Pass Rushing Productivity, which measures how many sacks/hits/hurries you get relative to how many snaps you play. This comes down to the money situation again, his rookie contract was 4 years for $2.25 million. Playing as sparingly as he has, he should be affordable, and a good option for the Chargers.
2)Defensive Tackle-Sammie Hill-While I agree it is incredibly important to sign Aubrayo Franklin, who was arguably the best 1 technique in football this year, I think it's important that we are able to sign someone who can get after the passer, and eventually succeed Franklin who would be entering his 11th year. Hill was a DT for the Lions, and was extremely productive this year rushing the passer. To put it in perspective in 220 snaps he had 17 pressures, the guy ahead of him with 18 QB pressures, did it in 494 snaps. I also think he will want to move on from the Lions, as they have Suh and Fairley. This would be a great opportunity for him to make play a significant amount, and play on a potentially a really good defense. I understand the Lions run a 4-3 defense. Hill is about 330 pounds, so to think he can't be effective rushing the passer over the center isn't fair to him. Drafted in '09 he could bring on the youth that the Chargers seem to have moved in. Financially, his deal was only 1 year for 1.26 million. Since he hasn't posted huge sack numbers, so there's no leverage for him to drive his contract up, I think the Bolts could get him for a fairly affordable price.
1)Inside Linebacker-Erin Henderson-Takeo Spikes Jr. He's very good verse the run, attacking ball carriers and stopping them before they start. He is also very reliable in pass coverage. He's not a superstar name, but we don't need that, we just need 10 other guys who do their job not named Eric Weddle. Henderson is that guy, he struggled more in pass coverage this year than he did in '11, but his run defense more than makes up for it. There is a difference between tackles, and stops, and he makes stops. He's not catching the runner 4 and 5 yards down the field. Behind the Chargers defensive line he is the guy that can create 2 and 9 more often then not. Is he an inside linebacker? Nope. The Vikings run a different scheme however, and he has experience more as a strong side/middle linebacker, where he is taking on blocks, as opposed to a weak side linebacker where he is flowing to the ball. He also was primarily the Vikings middle linebacker in Nickel situations, which is obviously important the way the league has progressed to a throw it 50 times league. So the position doesn't shy me away from thinking he can't one of the missing pieces to making the Chargers a top tier defense. He has great instincts and recognizes plays quickly. His speed and agility should only help him playing permanently inside. Also a big plus, he missed 1 tackle all year, and was 6th in his position at getting stops, productive and efficient. Money wise you ask? He's signed to a 1 year deal for $2 million. Again, fits in the financial structure, and would be a huge addition for the defense, too.