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San Diego Chargers 2012 NFL Draft Grades

San Diego Chargers first round draft pick Melvin Ingram speaks to the media at Charger Park.  Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
San Diego Chargers first round draft pick Melvin Ingram speaks to the media at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Round 1, Pick 18 (18) - Melvin Ingram, OLB

Yes, it's true that when this pick was originally made I was so upset over the team missing out on Mark Barron that it seemed like I didn't like the player that the San Diego Chargers drafted. Does Ingram have injury issues? Yes. Does he have short arms (something that I've pointed at for Larry English's lack of success, even when healthy)? Yes.

However, Ingram was a needed commodity for the Bolts: A versatile playmaker. They have versatile players and they have playmakers, but outside of maybe Eric Weddle and Shaun Phillips (arguable the defense's two best and most valuable players) there isn't many that can do both. Ingram is essentially a toy for John Pagano to play with, and one that will make plays when he's on the field. Whether or not those plays are sacks is yet to be seen.

Grade: B

Round 2, Pick 17 (49) - Kendall Reyes, DE

I like the Reyes pick a lot. Everything I've read on him, on the field, makes him sound like he could very well be the next Luis Castillo in terms of talent. Off the field, Reyes and all of the other selections by the Chargers are leaders that stay out of trouble.

Kendall provides depth this year, which will be very important because sometime soon Jacques Cesaire is not going to be a very good backup DE and that might be this season, and could battle Vaughn Martin for a starting spot in 2013.

Grade: B+

Round 3, Pick 10 (73) - Brandon Taylor, SS

The Chargers thought enough of Taylor to move up in the third round to grab him and have already talked of moving Darrell Stuckey back to Free Safety. This means they're already setting up for a competition between Brandon Taylor and Atari Bigby for the starting SS spot, which means Brandon Taylor will have the inside track.

Any time you can draft someone in the 3rd round and expect them to start from Week 1 of their rookie season, that's a solid selection. Every scouting report says that he's a smart player and a very good tackler who can be coached up quickly and relatively easily.

Grade: A

Round 4, Pick 15 (110) - Ladarius Green, TE

Here's what people didn't realize last year. Rob Gronkowski wasn't really the New England Patriots' starting TE. He was the backup behind Aaron Hernandez, but Gronkowski would make big plays and get balls thrown his way because he's a matchup nightmare.

Hernandez is like Antonio Gates in that he's more of a big WR that can't be covered by a LB (too slow) or CB (too weak), so you have to dedicate a Safety to him and he'll usually win that matchup because most Safeties are ex-CBs that couldn't play man coverage well. Green is similar to Gronkowski in that his very big (6'6", or two inches taller than Gates) and has great hands. It wouldn't surprise me to see Green challenge Randy McMichael and Rosario Dawson for the spot as the 2nd TE in the red zone.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 14 (149) - Johnnie Troutman, OG

The Chargers lost Kris Dielman to retirement and released Marcus McNeill, so they had to fill those roster spots to maintain decent depth along the offensive line. The signing of Mario Henderson helps replace McNeill, and Troutman will help replace Dielman.

The scouting reports on Troutman seem to say that he had good stats because of the line around him. He's not rated poorly, he just never stood out. Maybe the Chargers saw something they liked.

This is one of those "motivational" picks, it seems like to me. A.J. Smith is saying that Troutman has a chance to win the starting LG job, when he wasn't even that great of a Guard in college. Sounds to me like Smith is trying to keep the fire lit under Tyronne Green's ass lit and trying to motivate Brandyn Dombrowski to make himself useful after a move from Tackle to Guard.

Grade: C

Round 7, Pick 19 (226) - David Molk, C

This seems like Colin Baxter insurance, which is fine because Baxter had a hard time staying healthy despite not even playing last season. Consider this a warning to Baxter that he'll have to earn that backup Center spot.

Molk is a bit of a project, but has potential, just like Baxter.

Grade: C

Round 7, Pick 43 (250) - Edwin Baker, RB

Despite the fact that the Chargers kept saying they weren't going to draft a Running Back because of all the good free agents left, they found a good value in the 7th round in Baker. And, because he's a 7th rounder, they can still sign a free agent and just keep the rookie in the mix of the competition.

Grade: B