Free agency has wound down, and many Charger fans are very disappointed with what this team did. Many thought that Tom Telesco and company should have gone after Jake Long, Branden Albert, or some other high profile free agent to protect Philip River's blind side. They also thought that the Bolts should have chased Deshaun Goldson, former 49er now Buccaneer, or traded a 5th round pick to acquire Anquan Boldin, like the 49ers did. Tom Telesco stated as soon as he got the job that he would not chase the big names, rather he'd build this team through the draft. He stuck to his guns, and I applaud him for doing so. Jake Long is coming off of an injury, and he costed way too much money for this team to even imagine signing him. Same goes for Branden Albert. Tom has signed adequate players to fill many of our teams needs. He signed three very capable offensive linemen in King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, and Rich Orhnberger. Dunlap and Rinehart will likely compete to start for the Chargers this season. Orhnberger provides depth, which this team has lacked the past two seasons. John Phillips, former tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, was signed to replace the aging Randy McMichael. He will fill the same role as Randy did, and is an upgrade over him. Danny Woodhead was signed recently as well, giving Philip Rivers the Sproles-like target he's missed the past couple seasons. Woodhead is actually the faster of the two, and it can be argued that Danny is the all around better player at this point. The Chargers also picked up two cornerbacks this offseason, in Derek Cox and Johnny Patrick. Cox is the presumed number one, while spot number two is up for grabs. Shareece Wright, Marcus Gilchrist, and Patrick could compete for that position at this point. The Bolts signed Jarius Wynn, former Titan and Packer, to provide depth at defensive end. He should fill in nicely as a rotational player. However, the transaction that I found most helpful to this team was the release of the lazy and overpaid Jared Gaither. Sure, they are going to take a cap hit, but it seems worth it since he will no longer be a cancer to this team. Now this team can look forward knowing that they helped this organization become better after that move. These signings, and recent transactions by teams in the division, totally shake up the draft landscape. Here is my mock draft:
1. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Tom Telesco's heart probably sank when news of Carson Palmer being traded to the Cardinals was released. Many thought Geno Smith or Matt Barkley would be the pick at 7, but since they traded for Palmer, the Cards focus has shifted to getting someone to protect Carson. Now it is extremely unlikely that Lane Johnson will make it past pick 7. The Chargers biggest need outside of left tackle is probably outside linebacker. They only have three OLB on their entire roster, Melvin Ingram, unproven commodity, Larry English, bust, and Jarret Johnson, run specialist. A great pass rusher is needed on this team, a compliment for Melvin Ingram, since Shaun Phillips most likely is done as a Bolt, and Antwan Barnes signed with the Jets. Jarvis Jones is also arguably the best player available at pick 11. His spine was proven to be okay by doctors. The only two question marks about him is his size and speed, which I think is overrated for a player such as himself. Hear me out, I think those are important qualities, but instincts are also vital. Jones ran a 4.90 40 yard dash. Many were let down by such a slow time. I'm not too worried about it. You know what other player of a similar size also ran a slow 40 time? Terrell Suggs. Jarvis Jones could easily bolster the OLB position for the Chargers if he pans out, which I think he will. Other options include Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU, and Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU.
2. Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame. With Takeo Spikes and Demorrio Williams gone, San Diego has to find somebody to pair with Donald Butler on the inside. Te'o may lack straight-line speed, but he plays fast and instinctively. He does have some difficulty getting off of blocks, but that will be addressed later on. Te'o was considered a top-10 pick during the season, and the catfish scandal along with a sub-par National Championship Game has him plummeting all the way to round two. Top-10 talent available in round two? I find that to be great value. Drafting him would essentially be drafting with two first round picks. He should be a solid upgrade over Takeo Spikes, though. Trust me when I say that he will prove every single doubter wrong. Other options include Terron Armstead, LT, Arkansas PB, John Hankins, DT, Ohio State, and Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky.
3. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee. CBS Sports has Hunter going in rounds two or three. We all know how depleted this team is offensively, and how badly Philip Rivers needs weapons. Rivers likes big, tall receivers, and Justin Hunter is just that. He also has 4.4 speed, which means he can separate from defenders easily. He could turn out to be number one on the depth chart by the time the regular season rolls around, regardless of if they bring Danario Alexander back. He will make the receiving corps much better. Other options include Kyle Long, OG/OT, Oregon, Jordan Reed, TE, Florida, and Xavier Nixon, LT, Florida.
4. Dallas Thomas, LT, Tennessee. Thomas was widely considered a first or second round talent, but he has a slight weakness to speed rushers. He played very well at Tennessee, and the guard play there could be part of the reason he struggled, when he did. Thomas is an exceptional pass blocker, and has the skill set to become solid in the run game as well. He could start from day one, and lock down the left tackle spot for years to come. He is a very underrated athlete at this point in the drafting process. Solid pick here by San Diego. Other options include Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State, and Shawn Williams, SS, Georgia.
4. (Proposed trade) John Jenkins, DT, Georgia. A massive beast of a man, the 6'4", 346 pound John Jenkins fills a massive hole for the Chargers. He can easily take on two blockers at once, opening holes up for Donald Butler (and possibly Manti Te'o) to make open plays in the backfield. He has dropped to round four because he does so little as a pass rusher, but the two outside lineman, Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, can provide plenty of pass rush to make up for where he lacks. This team has sorely needed a dominant NT since Jamal Williams, and they get their guy here. Other options include Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee, David Amerson, CB, NC State, and Nico Johnson, MLB, Alabama.
5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State. Ryan Mathews cannot stay healthy, and the Chargers can not trust Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead to do all of the dirty work if Mathews happens to get hurt again. Le'Veon Bell is a BELL-cow back, a powerhouse at 6'2", 230 pounds. He can be a solid replacement for Ryan Mathews if he gets hurt, or if the team decides to go a different direction at running back. If Ryan Mathews steps up, the one-two punch of Mathews and Bell, and the shiftiness and third down ability of Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown, and the San Diego Chargers might just be the deepest team at running back. Fozzy Whittaker is also on the team, but he may not even make the team come training camp. Other options include Leon McFadden, CB, SDSU, Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas, and Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina.
5. (Proposed trade) Brandon McGee, CB, Miami. This team obviously has a need for a corner, but if former second round pick Marcus Gilchrist can step up, and Shareece Wright plays like he did last preseason, the Chargers can wait to add depth in round five. Brandon McGee is around 6' tall, and 195 pounds. He has good, but not great speed, which is why he is a late round pick. He would have gone even later, had it not been for a good showing at the Shrine Game. He will definitely add depth to the secondary. Other options include William Gholston, DE, Michigan State, Michael Williams, TE, Alabama, and Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida.
6. William Gholston, DE, Michigan State. At this point, I'm hoping he slides a round to round six. He has great size, at 6'6" tall and 281 pounds. One reason he may be slipping on some boards is because his cousin, former Jets first round pick, bust Vernon Gholston, played so awfully. He also relies more on his tools, rather than technique, when it comes to pass rushing. If Coach Pagano can coach this guy up, he could be quite the steal come this April. Other options include PJ Lonergan, C, LSU, and Everrett Dawkins, DT, FSU.
7. Ray Ray Armstrong, SS, Miami. The Chargers just need a possible fill in for the injured Brandon Taylor, who this team likes.
He are my reasons for why I chose these players. The Chargers really like Johnnie Troutman at guard. He missed his entire rookie season due to injury, and that injury caused him to slip a few rounds to round 5. He will get his shot at guard this season. Also, I think the Chargers will end up signing Eric Winston, so the right side of the line would be bolstered, so the only area of need on the line is left tackle, which is where Dallas Thomas comes to mind. Philip Rivers needs dependable options. It is unknown if Danario Alexander can stay healthy for a full year, same with the aging Malclm Floyd. Last years "splash" signings Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal combined for a whopping 3 TD's all of last year, and it is not known if Vincent Brown will be the same player coming off of that ankle injury. What do you think?