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San Diego Chargers: A.J. Smith Post-Draft Interview

Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by linebacker Larry English #52 and safety Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by linebacker Larry English #52 and safety Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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I heard bits and pieces of A.J. Smith's interview with Darren Smith yesterday and thought that there was enough good information in there to warrant one of these radio interview breakdowns, so let's get to it.

  • Blah, blah, blah....there were lots of good players, lots of teams had good drafts...A.J. is starting the interview off with plenty of filler. This is old A.J. Where's new A.J.?
  • A.J. likes to find out what people think of the San Diego Chargers and the job he's doing, but he doesn't let it affect him. He was aware that many thought this could be his last draft in San Diego.
  • "We did one thing different this year. Instead of drawing a name out of a hat, we decided to throw a dart at a dartboard." Smith really knows how to irritate his detractors, doesn't he?
  • That's three times in one answer that A.J. has stressed that the players drafted need to "stay healthy". He's talking about this year and years passed.
  • A.J. agrees that it makes sense for players to have a quicker transition to the NFL if they come from bigger programs that have faced tougher competition, but there are some awfully good players in the smaller schools that can help you win.
  • "If you win, people will say good things about you. If you lose, people will say bad things about you. I get it. Heck, we're not happy with missing the playoffs two years in a row. That's two wasted years"
  • "First priority is building a good team, but you have to pay attention to your division. Match up against your division, because that's your trip to the playoffs."
More from this wonderful interview with the San Diego Chargers General Manager after the jump.
  • "We need to have a dictating, dominating defense and we need to do it consistently."
  • A.J. keeps repeating that "We need better backups." It's an interesting quote because I don't know how many other GMs would publicly say that.
  • In regards to Peyton Manning: "It doesn't matter who the Quarterback is. If you can get them off their mark and uncomfortable, you're going to have success against them."
  • In the War Room, the Chargers have a group of 5-7 players listed in order as "realistic" selections for wherever San Diego picks. They also have a group called "bonus babies" that they don't think will be available when it's their turn to make a pick. Melvin Ingram was on a "bonus baby".
  • When the Chargers were on the clock, and Ingram was still available, the room celebrated. They felt very lucky that he was still there.
  • The Chargers front office had decided before the draft that their first 2 picks were going to be defensive players and they weren't going to move up.
  • In the third round, they had targeted Brandon Taylor and knew they would need to trade up to get him. After trying a few times, A.J. thought they had lost out on Taylor, but the Dolphins called and they got the player they wanted in the third round. He was their 3rd rated safety behind Mark Barron and Harrison Smith, who they knew they wouldn't be drafting with where they were in the first and second rounds.
  • The Chargers tried to make a trade for each of the first ten picks of the third round to get Taylor.
  • How long did A.J. think about trading up to get Barron? "Not at all." But it was reported last week that the Chargers were seriously considering trading up to get Barron! "I know that, and I enjoy hearing that." A.J. is the best.
  • "Larry English is an outstanding pass rusher that has been knocked down his whole career with foot problems and surgeries. He's 100% healthy now, heading into this season."
  • There's some fancy talking-about, but A.J. really loves English and seems to be saying that Larry makes the team if he can stay healthy.
  • How involved was John Pagano with the draft? "He gives his two cents just like everybody else. All coordinators, all scouts, all trainers will give us their opinion."
  • A.J. blames himself, saying he didn't do a good enough job at building the depth on defense last season, for Greg Manusky's failures with the Chargers last year.
  • "You can't expect to lose six games in a row and expect to get out on the other end." A.J. doing more blaming of himself for not having enough good backups last season.
  • "I could care less how many wins we have at the end of the season. Are you in the tournament? Did you win the West? Then you go from there." Totally agree.
  • "David Molk is a pretty serious guy. He's all-football..... He might have a little Dielman in him."