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Why the San Diego Chargers Should Use Their First Draft Pick on a Cornerback

Last week we discussed why the Chargers should draft an offensive lineman. This week we look at why San Diego should draft a Cornerback with the 25th pick.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Lets face it, the 2013 San Diego Chargers cornerbacks were not very good. They were actually worse than "not very good," they were downright terrible. The Chargers were the fourth–worst team in passing yards allowed with 4,139. They were fourth–worst in team interceptions with 11, a mark made even worse when the only starter still on the roster accounted for one INT.

We're not done.

San Diego was last in net yards gained per pass, allowing 7.1 yards per pass attempt. And just for good measure, the Chargers allowed the fifth-most first downs by passing with 208. I'll just stop there, because whether it was speedy receivers running past our corners untouched, or the inability stop a bubble screen pass, the cornerback position bobbled away any chances the Chargers had at a more successful 2013 season.

Taking the next step will require the Chargers to bolster the cornerback position immediately; as in, the 25th pick of the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft.

San Diego will face Peyton Manning and the Broncos at least twice this coming season. We also have dates with a potent Kansas City Chiefs offense, Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals, the Bill Belichick–coached New England Patriots, a fast Baltimore Ravens passing attack, a proven 49ers offense and the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. Plus, Jacksonville Jaguars phenom Justin Blackmon and the Jets newly–acquired Eric Decker. The San Diego Chargers are going to need a true shutdown corner because there isn't one on the roster now.

With the free agent signing of former Cincinnati Bengals free agent Brandon Ghee, the Chargers currently have 7 cornerbacks on the roster, one of which transitioned to safety last year. Ghee is a former 3rd–rounder who is entering his 5th year as a pro. He has 17 tackles with 5 passes defensed. Not in just the last season, but in his entire career! Ghee will get every shot to be a viable contributor this coming year, mostly because there isn't any other veteran presence from the other cornerbacks on the roster.

Shareece Wright enters his fourth year as the de facto starter on one side of the field. Wright had a solid and productive season, notching 56 tackles and the only interception from a returning cornerback. Coming from USC means he has the pedigree to be a top–caliber corner. This will be the year that will define if he is legitimately a starting corner in this league. He's still young, but much will be expected of him to take upon a leadership role because there isn't much of a safety net behind him.

  • Marcus Cromartie has yet to play an NFL game (Practice squad)
  • Steve Williams has yet to play an NFL game (Tore his pectoral muscle and spent 2013 on Injured Reserve)
  • Brandon Jones has yet to play an NFL game (Futures contract)
  • Crezdon Butler has played in 25 games, but he's also played on 6 different teams in 3 years.

Richard Marshall has re–signed with the Chargers adding some depth and a bit of relief to secondary coach Ron Milus. Milus now has 3 corners to work with on the roster, who at least have some game day experience. Marshall had 71 tackles in a 2013 campaign which saw him receive more playing time as the season progressed. He was certainly an upgrade to the Derek Cox experiment, but he's still far from the magic potion this defense needs.

Drafting a shutdown cornerback with the 25th pick of this years draft will not bring veteran leadership or experience. What it will bring is an opportunity to force opposing offenses to concentrate their efforts to half of the field. Too many times last year, QB's were able to find an open receiver to keep a drive alive. Too many times QB's picked apart our secondary to the tune of one too many thousand touchdowns. Too many times we have skipped on drafting a shutdown corner. Lets hope this is not too much to ask for.