Let us take a moment to reflect on the first two days of the 2014 NFL Draft for the San Diego Chargers.
Assuming that Tom Telesco doesn't do something to trade up into the 4th round, we can go ahead and act as if the first 4 rounds are essentially done. After 4 rounds, the Chargers have gained:
- A super-athletic Cornerback that is a bit undersized
- A raw, fiery pass-rushing OLB
- A Guard with 37 career starts in college
This is not where we were last year, when the team had drafted Fluker, Te'o and Allen by now. Those were three immediate starters with high ceilings. The only one who fits that bill from this year's draft is Verrett.
From what I've read, and what I saw myself on game film, Jason Verrett deserved his Round 1 grade. Jeremiah Attaochu, who the Chargers moved up to get (giving up their 4th round pick in the process), had a grade of Late 2nd-Early 3rd. The only way it makes sense to trade up for him is if Telesco was convinced a team at 50-56 was as in love with the kid as he was. (For what it's worth, the next pass-rusher taken was the higher-rated Kony Ealy at #60.)
Now, Chris Watt. I had him down as a Round 6-7 grade. Kyle and Jerome had him down as a Round 5 grade. Pretty good chance he would've been available in the 4th, but the team no longer had a 4th round pick. That, to me, says the team gave up so much more for Attaochu than they did for Verrett. Not only did they use a 2nd round pick and give up a 4th round pick, they missed an opportunity to get a 3rd round talent while holding out for Watt in the 4th. The trade, in a nutshell, screwed up everything.
This is shaping up to be a very A.J. Smith-like draft, actually. Every player taken so far has a lot of tape, they played a lot in college, and Telesco is making picks based off of what he has seen rather than what everyone else has. It's a risky game to play, because you're always one injury to Watt or Attaochu away from the fans of the team turning on the GM and the player.
Where Telesco won last year was in terms of "value". Fluker was worth his pick, Te'o was worth more (although the trade to move up and get him evened that out), and Keenan Allen was worth significantly more than his 3rd round pick. We knew this when they were drafted. Where's the value in this draft? So far, I'm getting nothing but a familiar feeling from a GM that appears to think he's smarter than everyone else.
Let's hope Saturday is a day for value for the Chargers draft board.