Now that we have had a little time to digest the Chargers picks in this years draft I thought I would give some of my thoughts on who I thought some of the Chargers steals and reaches were.
Gartrell Johnson, RB, Colorado St. (Round 4, Pick 34 - 134th Overall)
AJ Smith has an eye for mid-round Running Back talent. He hit homeruns with Michael Turner in the fifth round of the 2004 draft and Darren Sproles in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft. I think Gartrell Johnson might be the next mid-round Gem of AJ Smiths draft career. As SDSU alum I follow the Mountain West very closely and I have watched Johnson run over defenses for the past two years. Johnson is built like a bowling ball and while he does not have top end speed he is incredibly quick for his size and can make defenders miss (if he does not decide just to run them over) think a smaller Natrone Means.
Johnson is the ideal back (straight forward power runner) for Norv’s offensive scheme and I think he will contribute quite a bit this year. He can be used in third and short situations as well as around the goal line and give this team the power running back they lacked last year. I don’t know if Johnson will ever become a feature back but I definitely think he will have a good pro career and will help out any team that he is on.
Kevin Ellison, S, USC (Round 6, Pick 16 - 189th Overall)
This is probably my favorite pick of this years draft, Ellison is a Beast...when he can stay healthy. Ellison has the upside of Rodney Harrison and at the very least will be a dominate special teams player. He is projected to contribute on special teams this year as well as some situational situations (short yardage and possibly other running downs) and possibly compete for the starting SS job in 2010. While he lacks top end speed he does have great ball skills and can cover RB’s and TE’s and will punish any receiver that comes over the middle. Ellison has tremendous talent for a sixth round pick and I think may be the steal of the entire 2009 draft.
Vaughn Martin, DT, Western Ontario (Round 4, Pick 13 - 113th Overall)
There is no doubt that Martin is a physical specimen but he is very raw and I don’t believe he has ever played football on a 100 yard field (not including end zones). The question I keep asking myself with this pick is does a player who never played football in the states really warrant a 4th round pick? AJ even admitted that he though Martin would go in the 5th or 6th round but he drafted this high because he did not want to risk losing him.
The Chargers have talked about Martin competing for a DE job this year, if he can quickly adjust to the giant step up in competition and contribute in some way to this years defense I think this pick will be a good one but I just think it is way to much of a crap shoot to warrant a 4th round pick.
Brandon Hughes, CB, Oregon St. (Round 5, Pick 12 - 148th Overall)
This was probably my least favorite pick of this years draft. Hughes had a pretty good college career and was a 4 year starter in the Pac-10 but at 5-11 and 180 pounds I’m not sure if he will have the size to be an NFL corner. Hughes probably has the upside of being a nickel back but to be honest I don’t see him even making the Chargers roster.