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An Alternative History of the San Diego Chargers' 2013 NFL Draft

Among the saddest phrases in the English language, are "if only" and "what if". We have all thought "If only McCree had just knocked down the ball." We have all wondered "What if the Bolts had drafted Clay Matthews and not Larry English?" With those phrases in mind, let's apply the "if only" and "what if" to the recently concluded draft.


Round 1 (11) Desmond Trufant – CB

National Football Post: The Falcons Chargers address a big need with the selection of Trufant after cutting losing CB Dunta Robinson Quentin Jammer and losing CB Brent Grimes Antoine Cason to free agency. Trufant is a very smooth, fluid athlete with great ball skills. For a cornerback who is willing to come up and defend the run, he also excels in coverage because of his excellent instincts and awareness.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 1: “There were several players we considered here and just about drafted a lineman we really liked. What this pick came down to was getting an outstanding all-around cornerback for the Chargers that fills a team need. All of us believe Desmond will be an immediate starter and cornerstone for our defense.”

Round 2 (45) Terron Armstead – T

National Football Post: The Saints Chargers address a major need with Armstead, a potential starting left tackle. Armstead's technique is inconsistent, and he clearly needs to improve his core strength, but he displays an outstanding ability to shuffle and redirect on the edge. Armstead will likely serve as the understudy to Charles Brown King Dunlap as a rookie, but don't be surprised to see him develop into an NFL starter on the blind side.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 2: “Offensive line was a major issue for this team last year and we had come into this round, really this draft, with a goal of improving our line, beyond some of the guys we’ve brought in as free agents. This player’s athletic potential is off the charts; he’s smart, competitive, and loves playing the game. Our offensive coaches are really excited to begin teaching him the finer points of how to play tackle in the NFL. This is a player with a great future in this league and that future may not be too far off.”

Round 3 (76) Jonathan Jenkins – NT

National Football Post: The Saints are transitioning to Chargers run a 3-4 defense, so it is no surprise to see them select a true nose tackle this early in the draft. Jenkins must improve his conditioning, but he possesses the natural strength and leverage to control the line of scrimmage and surprising foot quickness for a man his size. The Saints Chargers are doing an excellent job filling glaring holes on a historically awful an improving defense with players that also present good value.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 3: “This was a tough decision for all of us. There were a couple of amazing athletes, really talented football players, still available in addition to Jenkins. It really came down to need. If we would have had any need at all, we would have probably gone a different direction and been really happy with our pick. With that being said, adding a guy like Jonathan to our defensive line can only help this team get better. Now we have Thomas, Liuget, Reyes, and Jenkins and we believe this could be one of the best 3-4 defensive line rotations in the league right now. Most of our fans remember Jamal Williams and we see the same kind player in Jenkins.”

Round 4 (110) Barrett Jones – OL

USA Today: Jones is one of the most decorated linemen in college football history, earning three national title rings and multiple All-America accolades with the Tide. He has played all five spots on the offensive line — well — but left guard an as yet to be determined line position in St. Louis San Diego could be his ticket. Jones has played through myriad injuries and gutted out Alabama's 2012 title march with a Lisfranc (foot) injury, which says a lot about his toughness.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 4: “As I mentioned after taking Terron, we were not satisfied, even after free agency, with the offensive line going into the draft and wanted to improve that unit during the draft. Jones fits in with what we want to accomplish on offense; he’s smart, he’s tough, a passionate competitor, loves the game, puts his team’s needs first and will be a solid asset for the Chargers. We have a few ideas of where he can play. A lot of people seem to forget about him winning the Outland Trophy two years ago. His doctors and ours tell us he’ll be ready for the June mini-camp and good to go for training camp.”

Round 5 (145) A.J. Klein – ILB

Charlotte Observer: Klein can play all three linebacker spots, and essentially fills the role of ex-Panther Charger Jason Phillips Takeo Spikes, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason. Klein is best suited as a run-stopper at the middle and strong-side spots. The knock on Klein is his straight-ahead speed, although he ran the 40-yard dash in a respectable 4.66 seconds at the combine and returned four of his five career interceptions at Iowa State for touchdowns.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 5: “I guess this franchise needs to have at least one AJ around. Seriously, we were really surprised to see AJ Klein drop into the 5th round. We jumped at the opportunity to make sure our inside linebackers are a strong unit of our defense. It’s not a stretch at all for me to envision Klein coming into camp and proving that he is a starter in this league right away. This player has fantastic tackling technique, was the captain of his college football team, and has incredible instincts. This may be our biggest steal of the draft; we thought he might be gone in the 3rd round!”

Round 6 (179) Baccari Rambo – S

USA Today: If Colonel Trautman can rein him in, Rambo's always a good guy to have on your team, right? In this case, the Redskins Chargers are getting a player who's occasionally gone rogue off the field but has shown plenty of ability on it. Maybe he can become an impact player Strong Safety for a team that hasn't had one on the back line since LaRon Landry Rodney Harrison was on the team healthy.

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 6: “We felt this was a justifiable risk pick in this round for a player that physically graded out 1-3 rounds higher depending on who you talk to. If it were not for the off the field issues, he probably would have been selected in the 4th round; that was where we had him. We’re hoping that with the accountability we can ask from him and his representatives, that he can make good decisions off the field and become a productive professional football player. I absolutely expect him to compete for playing time. I think he’ll be able to learn a lot about playing safety from Eric Weddle and our coaches. I like the potential Rambo brings to the Chargers.”

Round 7 (221) Reid Fragel – T

Land Grant Holy Land (SB Nation Ohio State Blog): On tape, his physical upside was apparent. There were a few games where he looked promising as a mid-to-late round pick. The combine only confirmed what most thought; Fragel is on everybody's list of developmental players with a starting NFL future. I really like him, and I think he'll add strength, bulk and technique with an NFL team. (Joe Goodberry)

Tom Telesco’s comments after Round 7: “Reid has a lot to learn about being a right tackle, but he sure looks the part. Coach D’Alessandris thinks that he could develop into a good all-around right tackle in this league with some work, so we decided with our last pick to get him on the team and see what he has to contribute.”