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10 prospects Chargers fans should watch at the NFL Combine

Kyle Posey targets 10 prospects at the NFL Combine that the San Diego Chargers could have their eye on for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This was one of my first posts as a BFTB'er a year ago. This time around I know a little bit more, so I'll give double the names. Not much has changed since last year, the Chargers still have quite a few glaring needs, and should be looking to bring in the best talent period in the draft. We now know the type of offensive lineman the wizard Joe D'Alessandris look for. We also know that interior offensive line is a need at this point. We also know that General Manager Tom Telesco said he wants to get faster at corner, receiver, and outside linebacker. He brought up team speed several times during his press conference at the combine. Lastly, and this holds true based off his 1st 3 draft picks a year ago, he looks for passionate players. Players who love the game and play with emotion. That's certainly something DJ Fluker, Manti Te'o, and Keean Allen did.

Here's 10 guys that fit the description of what Telesco described. I'll keep it to guys that the Chargers will have a chance to draft, aka, no Clowney's.

James Wilder (Florida State), Running Back

Here's a guy that gets up after every run and lets you know what happened. Wilder Jr. shows incredible passion. He's 6'1, about 230 pounds, and runs as hard as anyone in the draft. He runs a little upright, and contrary to his size, is better running outside the tackles than inside. He's an incredible athlete, doesn't have a good burst, but is a very good short yardage back that doesn't have much mileage on his legs. He should be available later in the draft. Oh, and he can break a tackle or two.


Josh Huff (Oregon), WR

Keenan Allen was a guy that would get in your face after catching a 6 yard slant. And I love that about him. Players who play with confidence and can back it up. The draft features a couple different receivers who do that. Marqiuse Lee, Odell Beckham Jr, & Kelvin Benjamin to name a few. Josh Huff is another guy does that. Fans should look to see how he measures, let's see if he really is 5'11. There's no doubt he's going to run fast, and we know he's quick if you've watched him(basically a prerequisite for  Oregon skill players.) The thing I love about Josh Huff is even for a smaller guy, he's physical, loves to block and mix it up with defenders. He certainly fits the bill of what Telesco described. Huff does play bigger than his size and makes acrobatic catches look routine.


Marqise Lee (USC), WR

Lee plays with incredible emotion. Lee would be a perfect fit for what the Chargers do on offense. I don't think he's a true #1 WR, but the Chargers already have that. He has speed to blow the top off of the defense, and is a nightmare once the ball is in his hands. He could slip to 25 due to injury, so fans should beware of his medicals at the combine. Make no mistake he's going to blow the combine up with what he runs and jumps given his track background. Simply put, if Lee was in Eddie Royal's position this year, the Chargers would've had 2 1,000 yard receivers.


Brandon Thomas (Clemson), OT/OG

Thomas is a guy that showed at the Senior Bowl he can play tackle. He also took reps at guard and fared well there, too. Many think he'll kick inside because he's only 6'3. He has long arms, 34 3/4" and is very athletic. He certainly fits the "big dancing athletic bear" trait that I've pegged for interior lineman. Fans should watch to see how he looks in mirror drills, watch his change of direction skills. Also, see his bench press. It's not the tell all strength, but it does matter. Thomas is a guy that should be available in that third round range for San Diego.

Marcus Martin (USC), OC/OG

The 20 year old is right in the back yard for most Charger fans. He has so much potential and has no clue how good he is. His junior year was his first year as a starter, and he excelled. He's only 6'3, but has 33 3/4" arms and uses them well. He has untapped strength. Against Notre Dame this year he pancaked Louis Nix three times, doubt many lineman can claim that. Get him to work with D'Alessandris and you're looking at a bright future. He has some things he needs to clean up, his inexperience shows at times. But Martin could start day 1 at guard, and potentially replace Hardwick. If he's available in the second round, I'd be all for this pick.

Justin Ellis (Louisiana Tech), NT

Ellis is probably more of a penetrating 1 technique, than a 2 gap defensive end, but he's incredible. He dominated the small school competition, and did the same at both the East-West shrine game and the Senior Bowl. The value he presents in the 3rd round is possibly as good as any in the draft. I'm not sure if last year was a red-shirt type year for Kwame Geathers, but I truly believe Ellis will be the best 0/1 techniques in this class. Keep an eye on him at the combine.

Marcus Smith (Louisville), OLB

Probably one the most underrated players in my opinion. Smith is a guy that has incredible tape. He's very athletic, can play the strong side linebacker, and set the edge against the run. Or be a very effective pass rusher with his above average closing speed, and ability to "bend the edge." Smith has very good change of direction skills and wouldn't have to come off the field. He could also be relied on in coverage. Fans should pay attention to his 10 yard split to see if he has a good burst. Smith his about 6'3, 260, with great arm length. I would draft him as the successor to Jarrett Johnson. Another 2nd-3rd round guy, depending on how he tests.

Telvin Smith (Florida State), ILB/OLB

Smith is what most would call a tweener. Some have suggested he move to safety, as he weighed in at 218 at the Senior Bowl. He said he will weigh 225 at the combine. When I asked him about changing positions, he gave me one of the best quotes I've ever heard.

If a mans cooking hamburgers, you don't say just cook it on this grill, you put him on any grill & he'll cook a hamburger, I'm a playmaker baby, you just gotta let me play

Touche, Telvin.

Smith is one of the more passionate players that you'll find. He never shuts up, he keeps the game fun. He's also like another coach on the field. On the field he can cover anyone you ask, can beat lineman to their spots and can flat out fly. If Telesco wants to get more athletic at the position, he's your guy. If Donald Butler doesn't get re-signed, Smith would be a good replacement and would make the defense that much better on 3rd downs.

Terrance Mitchell (Oregon), CB

Another Duck makes the list, this one was over shadowed by his teammate opposite of him. But make no mistake Mitchell is talented. I watched 8 games of him, and he gave up 11 catches in 31 attempts. That's pretty impressive. He wins at the line of scrimmage, whether mirroring or redirecting with his jam. He's listed at 6'1, though I doubt he's that tall. The thing that worries me about Mitchell is his deep speed. It's clear he doesn't trust his speed. Fans should look to see his 40 time. Generally speaking, corners in the NFL that run worse than 4.55 just don't have a very good success rate.

Rashaad Reynolds (Oregon State), CB

This Pac-12 love fest stops here, I promise. Reynolds is another player that is vastly underrated. He's a guy that played on a bad team, but gets no love. Reynolds has the ball skills, length, and athleticism you look for in a corner. I know he has good straight line speed because he turned and ran with Marqise Lee and Paul Richardson, two of the faster players in the conference. Reynolds has the best change of direction skills I've seen in the class at the position. There's no real weakness to his game, I just hope he gets exposed for the better at the combine.

Drills & Positions

With the 40 yard dash, look for the 10 yard split more than the entire 40. It's more about burst in the NFL. Though the 40 does matter for defensive backs. Any sub 4.4 time is impressive. As for the 10 yard split and offensive lineman, anything under a 1.83 is legit.

The short shuttle matters most for skill position players, as it tells you who is light on their feet, and can get in and out of their breaks the fastest. Anything under 4.1 is moving.

The 3-cone drill is another agility drill that showcases your abilty to move north and south. For lineman anything under a 7.85 is very good. Shave about a second off for everyone else, maybe even down to a 6.75. Players who run this are the "fluid athletes."

Bench press, broad jump, and vertical jump are all self explanatory. Both jumps showcase explosiveness and the bench is a natural strength drill that to me doesn't hold much weight. Any vertical over 38" or broad jump over 10'7 feet shows impressive lower body explosion.

Those are my prospects to keep an eye on, which means there's no chance they get drafted by San Diego, who are you looking forward to seeing?