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Mock Draft Roundup

Friday seems to be working out for doing the whole mock draft stuff, so I'll keep in going this week. Today I'm doing a roundup of a bunch of mock drafts from around the web. For the most part, the sites used come from The Huddle Report's Mock Draft Rankings, but some also come from other sites I've chosen to respect. Unfortunately, ome of the well-respected mockers are not quite ready to start publishing their mocks, so we'll have to make do with what we have right now. Draft Ace has list to track their current statuses.

Source Player Position College Notes
Rob Rang (CBS) Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA Passed on J.J. Watt
Chad Reuter (CBS) J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin Passed on Ryan Kerrigan
Scott Wright (Draft Countdown) Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA Passed on Aldon Smith
Mel Kiper (ESPN) Tyron Smith OT USC Passed on Ayers and Ryan Kerrigan
Todd McShay (ESPN) Aldon Smith DE/OLB Missouri Passed on Ayers and Kerrigan
Wes Bunting (Nat'l Football Post) Jonathan Baldwin WR Pittsburgh Passed on A.Smith, Kerrigan and Watt
Don Banks (SI) Cameron Jordan DE California Passed on Ayers and Kerrigan
Andrew Perloff (SI) Von Miller OLB Texas A&M Passed on Kerrigan and Jordan
Brent Sobleski (DraftInsider) Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State Passed on Ayers, Julio Jones and Robert Quinn
Walter Football Corey Liuget DE Illinois Passed on Ayers and Watt
Mocking The Draft Cameron Jordan DE California Passed on Miller, Ayers, Kerrigan and Watt
Ryan McCrystal (Draft Ace) Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa Passed on Kerrigan and Watt
Matt Bitonti (Draft Daddy) Julio Jones WR Alabama Passed on Miller, Kerrigan and Watt


In my notes I listed players that got passed on that I find worthy of the Chargers' pick. A few of the players that these mockers have the Bolts selecting are not guys I fancy (Tyron Smith, Jonathan Baldwin, Cameron Heyward, Adrian Clayborn and Corey Liuget), and I didn't note in other mocks whether or not they got passed on. Some players "picked" in these were gone or long gone in all the others (Julio Jones and Von Miller) and, while I'd love to get those players, they seem like a pipe dream at this point in the process.

There are a couple of things to take from this exercise. Continue reading to see what I think they are.

First, is that many mockers don't seem to think Kerrigan and Ayers are the right fit in San Diego. While it's possible that these experts all just happened to have their mocks work out where there was almost always a better fit, but it's more likely that they think Kerrigan should play with his hand down in the 4-3 and Ayers is not the pass rusher the Chargers desire.

This isn't a shock to anyone who follows Chargers drafts, but there doesn't seem to be a strong hint as to what players the Bolts covet. Ayers and Jordan each showed up twice in this list of mocks, but everyone else is a one hit wonder. A.J. Smith is well known for keeping things close to vest. I've even convinced myself over the years that San Diego works hard to put out as much misinformation on a pick as they do information. I've also heard the quote more than once from different Chargers draftees, "I had no idea they were even interested in me."

There does seem to be a consensus that DE is the target for the Chargers. Personally, I think the need there is just as big as S, WR and OLB, but I'm not going to get mad at anyone (especially someone who doesn't regularly attend Charger practices) for thinking that Vaughn Martin isn't the answer at DE. Where I can quibble a little is with the idea that Cameron Heyward or Adrian Clayborn is the answer at that spot. Those are both fine players, but my take is that those guys are more likely to be solid than become stars. I think I'd like to shoot for the moon if given the choice between safe and upside. Guys like Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt at DE and Aldon Smith at OLB have more of that from what I gather.

Even though most of these mock drafters are known for their (relative) accuracy in this event, there is still some silliness out there. Mocking the NFL Draft is hard enough in April and we're still in the pre-combine stages in February. There's a lot of margin for error. However, I'm still going to single out one mock draft anyway. Brent Sobleski's mock sticks out to me. Cameron Heyward is a guy that just doesn't seem to fit the mold of a first round pick anymore when compared to the rest of the talent. Most of the other experts got the memo, but Brent didn't. The Chargers aren't taking Heyward. He just makes it worse on himself by leaving Robert Quinn and Julio Jones on the board for so long as well. Both are far, far more likely to be top 10 picks and even more likely to be Charger picks if by some miracle they fell that far (especially over Heyward).

It's also worth noting that my picks from my last two Friday mocks (Justin Houston and Rahim Moore) are not represented here. None of these mock drafters have either player going as high as I had them. How did I get so far off? Conservativism. I didn't map out how every team would pick and I tried to just figure out who would still be left and still be a good fit. Turns out, some players I like a little more than those two stick around until our spot. Also, I, unlike the majority of the mockers, am not in love with taking a DE in the 1st round. I feel there is bigger bang for the buck elsewhere. That being said, guys like Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt are great value at 18 and I'm even starting to warm up to Corey Liuget. I'm also amenable to trading down and picking up additional talent if there are a number of good players at DE, OLB and S still available when the Chargers pick comes up.