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2012 NFL Draft - Scouting for Future Chargers Week 8

Team Needs
Starter Starter Competition Depth Projects
Current starter is FA next year and has no surefire understudy Current starter is FA next year and has understudy or current starter is inexperienced One or more backups are FAs next year May need a new starter or backup after 2012 season
S, FB, C, DT S, ILB, WR, C, DT, TE

There's your team needs chart. Nothing really to talk about with the bye week keeping everything mostly the same in Charger-ville. Let's get to these games.

North Carolina
(5-2) vs Clemson
(7-0) Saturday 10/22 9:00 AM PT (ESPN)

North Carolina was a team last year that I was excited to do previews for. They had a number of players that seemed to have potential as future Chargers. Unfortunately recruiting violations and other mishaps kept many of their players off the field and the Chargers stayed away. Many of those players ended up in the NFL, but the team still has plenty of NFL talent. They also lost their Head Coach in the scandals so that might help explain how a talented team loses two games this early. Clemson was another one of my darlings and actually has been for a couple years. Two years ago I loved C.J. Spiller and he was the 1st RB draft, albeit before the Chargers drafted their own RB, Ryan Mathews, who looks a little better at this point. Last year Da'Quan Bowers was tearing things up and for a while Deandre McDaniel was thought to be a good NFL safety prospect. I also followed Marcus Gilchrist throughout the season and it looks like he may end up better than to two better hyped prospects. This year Clemson's graduating talent is on the defensive line.

(5-1) vs Notre Dame
(4-2) Saturday 10/22 4:30 PM PT (NBC)

This matchup of traditional rivals is also one of two enigmatic teams. USC is on probation and not allowed to play in bowl games. They are coached by a Head Coach, Lane Kiffen, who has NFL experience and runs a pro system and his dad, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffen, who is also the father of the NFL's Tampa 2 coverage schemes. That makes their players always appealing to NFL scouts even if it is diminished due to the recruiting disadvantage of not being bowl eligible. Last year the Chargers took Shareece Wright out of Southern Cal. The Fighting Irish are one of the nations most popular collegiate teams, but they've been driving on a rocky road for years now. They still have their great TV contracts, national exposure and a lot the talent that goes with that, but they haven't turned all that into great success in a while. Still, you have probably a least a dozen players in this game that will play on Sundays, so despite the lack of meaning tied to this game beyond the history and pride that comes with the rivalry, it's still one to watch.

BFTB Scouting Targets:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Quinton Coples
North Carolina
DE Sr. 6'6 272 lbs
Right now Coples is considered somewhere between a top 5 and top 10 talent in this upcoming draft. That probably puts him out of the Chargers reach. However, you never know how draft stock will change, there's no guarantee where the Chargers will pick and the reports say that he could be a difference maker at 3-4 DE. That being said, his current sub-300 lb build is a more ideal fit as a 4-3 DE. He's also got great pass rushing skills and the speed to match it. His athleticism also makes him versatile and you could move him all around the defense and make blockers account for his location at all times. He was involved last year in some of the problems that the Tarheels players ran into (and some ruled ineligible for), but was cleared. (1st round)
Manti Te'o
Notre Dame
ILB Jr. 6'2 255 lbs
A Junior Seau type? That'd be high praise and I just heard Mel Kiper Jr. compare him to the Charger great when previewing the Notre Dame defense. From a tackling perspective he's got exactly what you look for in a linebacker. Technically sound, wrap up tackler who is smooth, can drive through the ball carrier and provide some violence. He can do it all from a stopping the run, coverage and pass rushing perspectives. He also has excellent character. He's an eagle scout and is heavily involved in community service. (1st round)
Brandyn Thompson
Clemson DT
Sr. 6'2 304 lbs
Similar build to 2011 Chargers 1st round pick Corey Liuget and he's got the scouting profile of a 3-4 DE. He's a big asset against the run where he has explosive power to push offensive lineman around and use it to jar balls loose from running backs. He does well against double teams. He hasn't shown much as a pass rusher. He lacks closing burst and the agility to beat offensive lineman will skill moves. Works hard on and off the field. Good student. (1st round)
Kevin Reddick North Carolina OLB Jr. 6'2 230 lbs
His size might tell you he's a 3-4 ILB, but scouts say he can add some bulk which would put him in the right range for a 3-4 OLB. It's hard to evaluate him as a pass rusher since he's not asked to do that much. He is a strong tackler though, probably his best skill, but he's not an explosive player and could struggle to finish plays. Shows good abilities in coverage where he makes good reads. Some character concerns about his temper. (2nd round)
Michael Floyd Notre Dame WR Sr. 6'3 229 lbs
He was scouted here some last year as many thought he'd declare for the draft. Instead he stayed in school and picked up his second arrest involving alcohol. The first was being underage, the second was an 'operating while intoxicated' charge. He also has some durability concerns as he's missed lots of games because of a couple of injuries. Because of his size and speed, he's going to be a mismatch in the NFL and will be tough to cover by anyone other than experienced and athletic DBs. His hands are good, but not excellent. Needs to improve route running and blocking. (2nd round)
Zach Brown North Carolina OLB Sr. 6'2 232 lbs
Similar in many ways to his teammate Reddick. He could add weight and play 3-4 OLB or become a 3-4 ILB. He's not at good at reading plays as Reddick and he's not as strong or good at tackling. He is a little better in run support mainly because his speed helps him get to the play fast. His coverage skills show promise, but will need some time in the film room to get those reads down. (2nd round)
T.J. McDonald USC S Jr. 6'3 205 lbs
The son of former USC and NFL safety Tim McDonald. He's a big athletic safety, but sometimes being a big safety is not an asset especially in coverage. As expected he's not that fluid when turning and running. He's good in coverage though and can make good reads. He's also a leader, aggressive and provides a a physical presence on the field. (3rd round)
Dwight Jones North Carolina WR Sr. 6'4 207 lbs
Tall, but a little lean. His speed works for his size and his acceleration causes defenders problems when going vertical. Not elusive though, so he's got make those deep plays work to be effective. Big hands and uses them well to make secure catches. Tracks the ball well. Routes are run well. Not the best in the classroom, but no other character issues. (3rd round)
Donate Paige-Moss North Carolina DE Jr. 6'4 260 lbs
Physically, has some similarities to Shawne Merriman. However, he might not be quite the athlete that Merriman was. He has been added bulk to his frame well and is still young so maybe there's potential as a 3-4 DE. That could also work because he's best against the run where he takes on blocks well and can get penetration. As a pass rusher, he may lack that closing burst that you look for. He does have some speed, but it disappears quickly when he's asked to change directions. (3rd round)
Andre Branch Clemson DE Sr. 6'4 260 lbs
Another Merriman-sized defender, however Branch actually plays some pass rushing LB in the Clemson defense and projects as being capable of playing 3-4 OLB. Consistent run defender, but not great against bigger OTs. Another reason to make him play OLB and try to make those big guys move their feet. His closing burst is nowhere close to what Merriman had. Great student. (3rd round)
Armond Armstead USC DT Sr. 6'4 290 lbs
He's playing DE, but his NFL fit is as a 3-4 DE. However, he's not going to be a big playmaker and would be more of a depth guy who can anchor against double teams and free up room for LBs. He does have a little more pass rush ability that your typical 3-4 depth guy though and he hustles. (4th round)
Rhett Ellison USC TE Sr. 6'4 250 lbs
USC TEs tend to go on to the NFL and have solid if unspectacular careers. Ellison would seem to be on that path and has the NFL pedigree of a father who play LB in the NFL to back it up. He's not a matchup advantage, but he can go over the middle and can secure his catches in traffic. He's not fast, but by no means slow. Not a bad pass catcher. Effective blocker. (5th round)
NFL Prospects:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Matt Kalil USC OT Jr. 6'7 295 lbs
The top LT prospect in college. He's a surefire top 5 pick. Gets top grades for his pass and run blocking while showing a little of that nastiness scouts look for. (1st round)
Matt Barkley USC QB Jr. 6'2 220 lbs
Potentially the runner-up prize in the Suck For Luck sweepstakes. He's been inconsistent at times this year, but has also had moments of greatness. His intangibles, character and leadership are off the charters. So is his football IQ as he has great awareness and experience in a pro style offense. Arm strength is not great. (1st round)
Robert Woods USC WR So. 6'1 184 lbs
Only a sophomore, but the hype machine is already rolling. He's been a big play receiver for USC. Absolutely fantastic after the catch and has excellent speed. He's a little small though, but that may not hold him back too much. (Too soon to tell)
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Devon Ramsey
North Carolina
FB Sr. 6'2 242 lbs
One of the top FBs and the Jacob Hester's contract is close to expiring. (Late Rounds)
Matt Merletti
North Carolina
S Sr. 5'10 202 lbs
Chargers need help at safety and this is the best one on the Tarheels. (UDFA)
Antoine McClain
Clemson OG Sr. 6'5 320 lbs
Road grader that could be a project or a depth acquisition. (UDFA)
Chad Diehl
Clemson FB Sr. 6'1 258 lbs
Another top prospect at FB. (UDFA)
Chris Galippo
USC OLB Sr. 6'1 252 lbs
At times he's been a playmaker for the Trojans. Maybe he wins back some hearts and minds this year? (UDFA)
Harrison Smith
Notre Dame
S Sr. 6'1 213 lbs
Top Notre Dame S. Has some NFL potential. (UDFA)
Gary Gray
Notre Dame
CB Sr. 5'10 185 lbs
Not a priority for Chargers, but more than just a fringe prospect. Good speed, but needs more bulk. Also needs work in coverage. Could deserve a flyer. (late rounds)