I'm not going to lie, Mock Draft season is a complete crap shoot, so this post is mostly and exercise in fun instead of a "THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO, GUYS" kind of argument.
The goal of this Mock is to take that list of the prospects the Chargers have met with so far and figure out who I would take, when, and why. Here goes nothing!
Round 1: OLB Dee Ford (SR - Auburn) [Link 1] [Link 2] [Link 3] [Link 4]
I'll admit that this is the first year where I've spent any amount of time reading up on draft prospects months before the draft, and it was my first time watching the Senior Bowl, so I wound up tuning into the game with a few names in mind to look at (Cyril Richardson, DaQuan Jones, Pierre Desir, and a few others that will turn up on this list) including Dee Ford. During that game, holy hell, he was EVERYWHERE. It was nuts. His play totally sold me (even if there are legit concerns about his size and ability to defend the run).
Plus, we're not exactly getting any younger at OLB, as Freeney might not make it through another year and JJ isn't exactly a pass-rush specialist, leaving Ingram as the sole pass-rushing threat at OLB (and don't talk to me about Larry English) for the near future. I'd like to correct that immediately by taking Dee Ford at 25th overall. Who knows? We might have the next Shawne Merriman on our hands (minus the steroids of course).
There were a lot of prospects on that list I could have put here. Some would make sense just from the basis of who BPA at 57 would be (such as FS Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois or TE C.J. Fiedorowicz from Iowa), but man do we need help at the offensive line, and given who we talked to, Furman is not only the best of the bunch but he's the least significant reach in this round (he's projected to go in the third or later). Plus, the biggest knock on him is that his technique needs significant refinement. Well, who better to coach him up than the best offensive line coach in the league, Joe D'Alessandris? For those of you scoffing at the idea of taking a division II prospect early, San Francisco's Mike Iupati is doing pretty damn well for a D-II guy. Plus, he has the flexibility to move from tackle to guard, flexibility we desperately need out of our offensive line given how badly it was bitten by the injury bug last season.
Alternatively: CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (SR - Nebraska)
Round 3: WR Robert Herron (SR - Wyoming) [Link 1] [Link 2] [Link 3] [Link 4]
All aboard the Robert Herron hype train! Basically, why keep Eddie Royal around when his replacement is ripe for the taking in the draft? Honestly, the only knock on Herron is that he's not a huge Calvin Johnson-esque receiver, nor will he be making huge plays 20+ yards down the field, but as another sure-fire target for PR17 to hit across the middle of the field on third downs? Absolutely.
Alternatively: CB Keith McGill (SR - Utah)
Round 4: CB Rashaad Reynolds (SR - Oregon State) [Link 1] [Link 2] [Link 3] [Link 4]
"FINALLY," you will say, "finally he takes a goddamn cornerback." Yes, I know that the secondary is porous, but the prospect depth for secondaries this season is pretty excellent. That and we don't really know what we have in Steve Williams just yet, Derek Cox looks like he's going to get a second chance at CB1, and Reynolds can return kicks so why not take a chance on him? At least the kid can swivel his head around to look at the ball.
NOW THE SECONDARY GATES HAVE BEEN BURST WIDE OPEN AND IN COMES THE FLOOD OF BACKFIELD DEFENDERS! All kidding aside, Parker could be one of the steals in this year's draft. I'm more intrigued than wary about guys who have rave reviews (read the WTFP article) and practically nothing reviews (read the CBS article) without anything in particular warding me away from them. Honestly, when the 5th round comes, I'm more concerned with depth than finding starters, so while we have Gilchrist and Addae to play the slot, Parker could very well surpass both on the depth chart, the guy's upside is that big.
Oh hey look, another corner. The difference is that, at 6'2", Johnson has the size to develop into one of those big-bodied Seahawks-like corners that have been bandied about the league lately. Additionally, he can play all over the field (he even played linebacker at NC State at one point) and has experience playing in zone. I think he'd be a marvelous pickup at the end of round 6 (if we're lucky).
Alternatively: TE Gator (!!!) Hoskins (SR - Marshall)
Round 7: OG John Urschel (SR - Penn State) [Link 1] [Link 2] [Link 3]
Intelligent, possessing great character (being one of the leaders of the Nittany Lions during the recent turbulent times at the university) and the perfect depth guy for us to develop, John Urshel is, well, frankly difficult to find footage on. I don't think he'll ever develop to be a starting caliber guard, but I think he has unfairly flown under the radar until lately. Seventh round is where I get to the "well, if it doesn't work out, oh well" kind of stage when it comes to mock drafts, and because the guy has a great head on his shoulder (he majored in mathematics!) I would at least feel confident that being cut wouldn't be the end of his world.
Alternatively: RB Zach Bauman (JR - Northern Illinois) (aka the ONLY running back we've met with)
Thanks for reading folks!