The popular X's and O's series returned, this time with it's telescope pointed squarely at RB/FB Jacob Hester. The results? Not unexpected, but I wonder if the Chargers will simply let Hester be the starting FB in 2009. His skills as a RB and wide receiver make him a double-threat out of the backfield, but his lack of size make him a risk as a blocker even though he's gotten better. I don't know that he has to body to do it, but Hester needs more muscle and weight if he's going to be driving linebackers backwards.
We posted Mini Camp photos of the new Chargers rookies. I've heard the same responses over and over when talking about the look of these guys: Vasquez is huge, Vasquez is scary, finally we have some guys with dreadlocks! These guys will be a hit with San Diego's large Rastafarian population.
shaynes41 gave us the rundown of Mike Riley's interview on XX 1090, which revolved mostly around peculiar 5th round draft pick Brandon Hughes. I used to have a strong hatred for Riley but I no longer blame him for being a bad NFL coach. Some guys just can't do it. There was lots of praise for Brandon Hughes, but none of it really excited me. I think this is a "worry pick", as in "what the heck are we going to do at corner if Cromartie isn't as good as we think?" I'm okay with that and I always like to hear that we've picked up another hard worker in the secondary.
We took an in-depth look at the depth chart and possible position battles at the most important part of the defense, the defensive line. I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I think Vaughn Martin and Jacques Cesaire will be splitting time at Defensive End by week 1. I think Martin will be the full-time starter there by week 6. The Defensive End position in the 3-4 defense is much more reliant on size and strength than any other position in football. Olshansky was a little too slim and although he was impressive in a weightroom he didn't play with strength (or fire). If Martin plays with fire and has a willingness to learn, he could take over that position quickly.
Grey Suit looked at the Chargers 2009 draft class and laid out which picks he thought were steals (Johnson, Ellison) and which he thought were reaches (Martin, Hughes). I don't know that I really agree with any of these, but it's still a very interesting read. I don't see Johnson ever becoming a number 1 running back, but I do think he will serve a much-needed purpose in our offense for a short-yardage back. Ellison may be a steal, but I'm of the mindset that the big, bruising Strong Safety cannot start anymore. In a league that relies more on passing than ever, it's important that your safeties are great in coverage first and big hitters second. Also, brusing safeties with injury problems don't usually work out. Martin and Hughes were touched on above, but once you get to the 4th round I think it becomes more important that you get the guys you really want and it becomes less important when you get them. AJ obviously wanted Hughes and Martin and made sure he got them. I think Byrd is the biggest steal of the draft, car crash or not. When doctors say he'll make a full recovery, which they already have, he immediately goes back to being the player he was in my eyes. And Byrd is a very good WR.
We were one of the first places to learn and post the jersey numbers for the incoming draft class. I don't know why but I've always had a facination with jerseys and numbers. Some mixtures I just love, such as an OLB who wears a number in the 90s. The only one I really like in our draft class is Gartrell Johnson wearing 33, because it's a number that speed guys typically like to wear. Maybe I'm just playing favorites. The rest are good, but like most of the fans I'm not going to love a jersey until the player wearing it gives me a reason to.
shaynes41 gets in here again, this time for writing a great post about the potential impact players in the group of eighteen undrafted free agents that were signed by the Chargers following the draft. I like the four guys he highlighted, but I feel that Spillman and Beckwith are probably competing against each other for a spot on special teams and time to develop as a backup at their position. If we kept Spillman, that would give the Chargers a whopping six safeties. If we kept Beckwith, that would again leave team with six players and two starting spots at Inside Linebacker.
Finally, one week ago I ran through each draft pick made by the Chargers and handed out grades for each. Now that it's been a week, I'd probably change some of these actually. I think I'd move Vasquez up to an A, because it's rare you find a player in the third round that can come in and compete with a former Pro Bowler for a starting spot. I love his potential as a big, nasty mauler to balance our line. Vaughn Martin deserves a B or a C+ for now, especially since I've been reading article after article that says other teams were targeting him in the 4th round as well. Hughes I might slide up to a C-, if only because I understand the pick a little bit more today. The rest are fine. With almost a thousand votes on the poll attached to this post, it may be the most popuar post in the short history of Bolts From The Blue.
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