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2012 NFL Draft - Scouting for Future Chargers Week 9

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

The Larry English injury made me change the team needs chart a little. The Chargers will still have Antwan Barnes, Travis LaBoy and Darryl Gamble under contract next year, so there is enough depth to cover the position should the Chargers choose to cut ties with Larry English. However, in a 3-4 defense you need players at the OLB that have more upside than what those players offer. It's a key position in that defense and one that needs constant investment unless you have an established elite player there.

I also added CB as a depth need with the Antoine Cason benching. I don't think the team will release him, especially if his punt returning abilities help him earn his keep. However, he's had issues playing the nickel spot before and the Chargers need someone to fill that role if Marcus Gilchrist becomes/stays the starter at CB.

I'm not sure what to about Kris Dielman. I just don't know the severity of the issue behind the seizure. The Chargers have depth to cover his absence for the time being, but some contracts at the OG position end after the 2012 season. I already included that concern in the "Projects" section. This is one to watch though, because a need at this position could require a 3rd-5th round pick investment this year.

As for the games, there are plenty of interesting ones, but none that I can find that include players we haven't scouted earlier in the season. At least not ones that follow my rule of being televised in San Diego. There are 2 ACC teams (Boston College and Miami) and 1 Big East team (West Virginia) that I want to cover, but can't seem to fit them in. I also really need to get to South Carolina, but that can wait until their showdown with Arkansas next week. Until then we'll just settle for crosschecking guys.

Michigan St.
(6-1) vs Nebraska
(6-1) Saturday 10/29 9:00 AM PT (ESPN)

Michigan St. is coming off a huge win in a game that, unfortunately, we didn't cover here because Michigan St. and Wisconsin had both been covered recently. This is actually a more interesting scouting matchup for Michigan St. since they had a couple interesting WRs and Nebraska has one of the top CBs in Alfonzo Dennard. He'll be the top prospect in this game since DE/DT Jared Crick is out for the season with an injury, which is unfortunate for both him and our scouting. He still could be a 1st round pick though.

(7-0) vs USC
(6-1) Saturday 10/29 5:00 PM PT (ABC)

We just covered USC last week, but not only did they become a more interesting team by pulling off a minor upset over Notre Dame they also are a team that is quite talented and won't be bowl eligible. All the scouting has to be done during the regular season, so anytime they face a top opponent it's worth our interest. The focus of this game will mainly be on the QBs. Andrew Luck is the consensus top QB available, but Matt Barkley, should he declare, will be a nice consolation prize for someone. Meanwhile, there's plenty of other talent to watch in this game with both sides boasting some prospects the Chargers have to be interested in.

BFTB Scouting Targets:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Lavonte David Nebraska OLB
Sr. 6'0 223 lbs
 I feel like a broken record record every week, but this another OLB that would seem to be suited for 3-4 ILB a la Jonas Mouton. He hustles and has got quickness and speed to chase down RBs from behind. He's also a good tackler with proper fundamentals and can knock balls loose. He's shown an ability to survive in coverage and wouldn't have to come off the field on 3rd down. (2nd Round)
Jerel Worthy Michigan St. DT/DE Sr. 6'3 305 lbs
A college DT that might grade out better as a 3-4 DE. He's shown that he can take on double teams, but is not much of a pass rusher. He does have good quickness though and when not doubled can make his presence felt in the backfield. He just doesn't have the closing burst to cause QBs too much concern, but RBs have a hard time getting past him. Strong enough to knock blockers to the ground on occasion.(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)
Colby Fleener Stanford TE Sr. 6'6 252 lbs
A big target even for a TE. He's one of, if not the top, weapon for Andrew Luck. He hasn't missed a single game in his college career and durability would be a great quality in an Antonio Gates backup. He's an excellent pass catcher, runs his routes well, can get separation and can run after the catch better than any other of the current college TEs. He's not a 1st round pick because his blocking just isn't there. He shows potential in pass protection, but the run blocking needs work. Some of that can be taught, but some of it is good instincts about how to get leverage. (3rd round)
Keshawn Martin Michigan St. WR Sr. 5'10 192 lbs
He's a little short for a WR, but at the low end of the acceptable height range. He has excellent speed and his stock will probably rise and fall based on his 40 time. He doesn't have natural hands and can be a bit of a body catcher. Perhaps that can be fixed since his ability to beat defenders with speed is quite useful. He's not terribly elusiveness so don't look for much YAC unless he can run in a straight line. (3rd round)
Trent Robinson Michigan St. S Sr. 5'10 197 lbs
A good, but not great prospect. He's not going to be able to be a FS in the NFL and will probably have to line up closer to box and do some run stopping to be valuable. Unfortunately for him, there are tons of those types of safeties that come out every year these days. He's also not that good at catching or securing the ball after the catch. (4th round)
Shane Skov Stanford ILB Sr. 6'3 243 lbs
The Chargers went to the Pac 10 (now Pac 12) well once before to get an undersized ILB in Donald Butler and Skov could be another such find. He's a hard worker who is fairly average across the board, but with no major weakness at the same time. He's a heady player who has the aggressiveness you want from a linebacker, but questions about athleticism, tackling and body control makes scouts wonder about any starting potential. Still, he has this whole year to erase those doubts. (4th round)
Chris Owusu Stanford WR Sr. 5'11 195 lbs
Possibly a Vincent Brown type. He plays for a top QB and he's about the same size. His production has lacked when looked at as a whole, but he's had some very good games. Some of that is due to injury as he's missed a fair amount of time over the years and some of it is that Luck has plenty of other options and he gets the best out of all them. As the senior leader of this year's wideout corps he should be a main target for luck and get a chance to show that he's a better route runner and pass catcher than scouts have given him credit for. (4th 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)
Brian Linthicum Michigan St. TE Sr. 6'4 240 lbs
A good pass catcher in the Spartans offense, but not really an all around TE. He's also a little on the small end for a TE. He is a competitor and will make catches over the middle. He may have a bit of a hard time getting separation or YAC in the NFL because his burst is not that good even though his top end speed is adequate. He's got a solid character flag on his sheet after a bar fight that turned into a third-degree misdemeanor harassment plea. Allegedly, officers had to use a stun gun to subdue him. (5th round)
B.J. Cunningham Michigan St. WR Sr. 6'2 227 lbs
Good WR size, but not great speed. He runs good routes, but he also doesn't show the burst needed to get consistent separation and he sometimes lets the ball get to his frame instead of catching with his hands. He's shifty and could be useful when trying to get some YAC. He got suspended for getting involved in a brawl with a fraternity in 2009 where he also accepted a guilty plea for misdemeanor assault and battery. (5th round)
Delano Howell Stanford S Sr. 5'10 200 lbs
A former RB who has the speed and size to play saferty in the NFL. He's still a work in progress at the position so some of his skills aren't up to snuff. However, he's shown some ability to get interceptions and the Chargers tend to like taking prospects with upside so he's on the radar. (5th round)
NFL Prospects:
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Andrew Luck Stanford QB Jr. 6'4 235 lbs
The talk of this year's draft class. He's got all the physical abilities, the size, the mental makeup, the skills and the football IQ you want. He's a team leader, he's a high character guy, he can make all the throws and he's been successful in college. There's nothing not to like about the guy that Mel Kiper, Jr calls the best QB prospect since John Elway. (#1 overall pick)
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)
Jonathan Martin Stanford OT Jr. 6'6 304 lbs
Despite Andrew Luck's presence, his strength is run blocking not pass blocking. He gets the highest grades for his run blocking skills. Smart player with a lot of football intelligence. If he's not blocking anyone it's because there's no one left to block. He's got the physical abilities to do be a good pass blocker, but needs to hone his skills. (1st round)
Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska
Sr. 5'9 204 lbs
 Smallish CB prospect that's still a good NFL prospect. I think the Chargers value size at the position too highly to take a look. His strength comes in the form of his cover skills despite his lack of height. (2nd 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)
Kirk Cousins Michigan St. QB Sr. 6'2 202 lbs
Quick release, good arm strength, good pre-snap work (audibles, calling for blocks) and good speed/scrambling ability. Doesn't make the best decisions after the snap and can rely on his arm. Has some durability concerns. Tremendous team leader. Has shown ability to step his game up in the 4th quarter. (3rd round)
Player School Pos. Class Height Weight
Marcel Jones
Sr. 6'6 327 lbs
OT is not a Chargers need, but Jones is a fringe NFL prospect. (Late rounds)
Mike Caputo
Nebraska OC Sr. 6'0 275 lbs
The Chargers have a future need a center and this one remind me a little of Hardwick, (UDFA)
Austin Wells Nebraska TE
Sr. 6'3 246 lbs
The Chargers are always on the lookout for UDFA TEs.  (UDFA)
Austin Cassidy
Sr. 6'0 210 lbs
Safety is a need and Cassidy is Nebraska's top safety prospect. (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)