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Chargers Roster: Outside Linebackers

Just about every day I wake up and say "Today is the day that I finally write my 'CBA in layman's terms' post." Then, about 10 minutes into doing so, I get bored of the BS and posturing and decide that there's probably something more interesting I could be writing about. Today that's the upcoming draft, and trying to figure out what's a bigger a need for the San Diego Chargers: Outside LB or Defensive End?

Let's start by taking a look at what the team has on the roster current at OLB.

Shaun Phillips
Larry English
Jyles Tucker

Antwan Applewhite
Antwan Barnes

Phillips is the only one of that group getting paid well, and that's really the way it should be. English and Tucker make about the same, and both are viewed as overpaid underachievers. They serve as the other side of a spectrum against Shawne Merriman and Phillips in the debate about A.J. Smith's abilities to scout pass-rushing OLBs.

The big question, and perhaps the one that determines which way Smith should go with the first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, is if anyone is comfortable with that list without Phillips on it.

Do you think English has what it takes to be a starter and stay healthy? Can Jyles Tucker finally become consistent? Is Antwan Applewhite's versatility enough to ignore his lack of talent as a pass-rusher? Is Barnes' pass-rushing skills enough to ignore his lack of versatility? I think most Chargers fans answer each of these questions with "No", which means that Smith either has to trust his instincts more than past performance or he has to use that first pick to push everyone else on this list down a spot on the depth chart.