Let's pretend for a few minutes that the Chargers are not trading up for Marcus Mariota, although at this point it looks like I am crazy for saying that. The Bolts have filled in a lot of their depth needs in free agency, but there are still plenty of spots on the roster that could use some young talent. I used Fanspeak's mock draft simulator and laid out four out of about 47 million different potential outcomes.
Note: These are not necessarily the picks I would make. I avoided picking the same player twice for variety in outcomes.
The "We are going to run the ball into the ground" draft:
- 1st Round: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- 2nd Round: Ereck Flowers, OL, Miami
- 3rd Round: Henry Anderson, DL, Stanford
- 4th Round: Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State
Upside to this draft: The starting offense would essentially have no holes after the first two rounds of this draft. Given that the Chargers have added Orlando Franklin, Gurley and the rest of the running back rotation could create one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. I also really, really like Henry Anderson. He would be an immediate starter on the defensive line.
Downside: Although Anderson would help, this group for the most fails to address the defense's lack of pass rush. Also, Gurley's recovery from a torn ACL and the overall shelf life of running backs makes him a very high risk/high reward prospect.
The "Strength of the draft" draft:
- 1st Round: Owa Odighizuwa, OLB, UCLA
- 2nd Round: Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State
- 3rd Round: Daryl Williams, OT, Oklahoma
- 4th Round: Ellis McCarthy, NT, UCLA
Upside to this draft: In my last article I detailed how the Chargers' offseason and shape of the draft pointed to OLB as a possible first round target. It the strength of the draft also falls in line well with the rest of their needs. They could get 3 potential starters with their first 3 picks as well as a developmental defensive lineman.
Downside: When you use free agency to set up how you want to draft, it could put you in a spot where you have to draft a better fit over a more talented player. In theory, this is a solid draft. However, if there is a run on a position the Bolts are targeting the situation could get tricky.
The "Boring" draft:
- 1st Round: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
- 2nd Round: Trey Flowers, OLB, Arkansas
- 3rd Round: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
- 4th Round: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
Upside to this draft: The Chargers get what they need. Drafting Fisher will allow the Chargers to move Fluker to guard. Flowers and Abdullah would see plenty of time in rotation at their respective positions as rookies and Dorsett adds blinding speed to a receiving corps that needs it.
Downside: I say "boring" because I am not in favor of taking offensive lineman in the first round. Their individual impact is not as big as say, a pass rusher. The drop off from the top 5 "first round" edge rushers to Trey Flowers is bigger than form a first round offensive lineman to a second round offensive lineman, but I realize that this is not a popular opinion. I believe if you have a shot at a potentially dominant edge rusher, you have to take it.
The "Needs be Damned" draft:
- 1st Round: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- 2nd Round: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
- 3rd Round: Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State
- 4th Round: Danielle Hunter, OLB, LSU
Upside to this draft: Well, look at these players. Marcus Peters is Kyle Posey's top player in this draft class, Williams is the consensus #1 tight end, and I really like Tyler Lockett as a light version of Steve Simth (the good one).
Downside: Most of these guys wouldn't make much of an impact in the first year, plus the Chargers already have a talented tight end they like to keep off the field. This scenario also puts Johnnie Troutman back in a starter role, which is less than ideal.
Which version do you like the most? What are some scenarios you have come up with?