Monthly Archives: February 2014
1. Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
NFL Comparison Julius Peppers
Rare combination of size, athleticism and natural power. An explosive player who flashes greatness. Should be one of the greatest of all time if he dedicates himself. His work ethic has been questioned.
2. Greg Robinson OT Auburn
NFL Comparison Trent Williams
Powerful run blocker. Combination of size and power with a huge upside. Should dominate at running blocking from the beginning. Needs some work at pass blocking.
3. Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
NFL Comparison Joe Thomas
Smooth in pass protection. Excellent lateral quickness and balance to handle speed and counter moves. Lacks the nasty mean streak.
4. Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
NFL Comparison Torry Holt
An explosive player, who can take it the distance at any time. A smooth route runner, who has the vertical to go up and get the ball. Is tough to bring down after the catch.
5. Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
NFL Comparison Alshon Jeffery
A big WR who uses his size to shield off defenders. Has big strong hands and snatches everything thrown his way. Not a blazer, but ran well at the combine. A big time red zone threat.
6. Teddy Bridgewater QB Louisville
NFL Comparison Drew Brees
Very accurate. Mobile, who can throw on the run. Makes smart, good decisions. Doesn’t have the strongest arm.
7. Anthony Barr OLB UCLA
NFL Comparison Demarcus Ware
Elite playmaker off the edge. Possesses an explosive burst. Has long arms and reach. Disappears at times.
8. Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
NFL Comparison James Harrison
A complete linebacker. Could play in a 4-3 or 3-4. Explosive pass rusher, who uses power to get to the QB. Can play the run and cover on passing plays. Didn’t play top competition.
9. Blake Bortles QB Central Florida
NFL Comparison Ben Roethlisberger
Throws the ball with touch. Possesses an NFL arm. Smart player. Can avoid the rush and pick up yards with his legs. Extends plays and always has his eyes up looking downfield. Can be inaccurate at times.
10. Louis Nix NT Notre Dame
NFL Comparison Vince Wilfork
A dominant run stuffer. Hard to move such a big frame. Very strong at the point of attack. More athletic than most would think. Not much of a pass rusher.
11. Dominique Easley DT/DE Florida
NFL Comparison Justin Tuck
A versatile player who can play multiple positions on the line. Has quick hands and is strong enough to redirect offensive lineman. Explosive off the ball. Major injury concerns will drop him, but in 2-3 years should be a top 15 player in this draft.
12. Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma St
NFL Comparison Champ Bailey
Very athletic, who uses great technique. Fast and fluid. Can be used in the return game. Needs to become more physical.
13. Eric Ebron TE UNC
NFL Comparison Jermaine Gresham
Very athletic, who can get down the field. Impressive after the catch. Has great body control. Needs to work on his blocking.
14. Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan St
NFL Comparison Charles Tillman
Uses his hands well on WRs. Is physical, and isn’t afraid to tackle. Not the fastest player.
15. Calvin Pryor S Louisville
NFL Comparison Brian Dawkins
Good straight line speed, agility, balance, and hip flexibility. Loves to come up and hit. A sure tackler. Can get lost in coverage at times.
16. CJ Mosley MLB Alabama
NFL Comparison Navarro Bowman
Has the burst and athleticism to beat offensive lineman to the spot. A very smart player. Can overpursue at times.
17. Zack Martin OT Notre Dame
NFL Comparison Joe Staley
Has very quick feet. Good balance and has the strength to move defenders. Needs to get tougher.
18. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Alabama
NFL Comparison Kenny Vaccaro
Has good ball skills. Aggressive playing style. Will come up and hit. Takes bad angles.
19. Kareem Martin DE UNC
NFL Comparison Charles Johnson
Explosive off the ball. Plays the run and can get after the QB. A complete player. Needs to play faster at times.
20. Timmy Jernigan DT Florida St
NFL Comparison Nick Fairley
Very powerful in his lower body. Terrific burst off the ball. Needs to get better pass rushing moves.
21. Jason Verrett CB TCU
NFL comparison Brent Grimes
Fluid athlete who uses his hips well. A ballhawk. Not the best tackler in space.
22. Marqise Lee WR USC
NFL Comparison Marvin Harrison
A great route runner. Quick out of his break. Elusive with the ball. Dangerous after the catch. Injury concerns.
23. Morgan Moses OT Virginia
NFL Comparison Ryan Clady
Athletic for a big man. Quick feet. Better at pass blocking than run blocking.
24. Odell Beckham WR LSU
NFL Comparison Steve Smith
Plays much bigger than his size. Can go up and get the ball at the highest point. Excellent route runner. Not the tallest WR.
25. Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
NFL Comparison Russell Wilson
Very elusive. Can extend plays. Throws well on the run. Has a quick release. One of the hardest players to evaluate. Will his running style last in the NFL at his size? A competitor who seems to always come up with the big play.
26. Stephon Tuitt DE Notre Dame
NFL Comparison Justin Smith
A run stuffing DE in the 3-4 defense. Big body frame. Some weight concerns.
27. Kony Ealy DE Missouri
NFL Comparison Greg Hardy
Quick first step off the edge. Has a nice spin move as well as dipping under lineman. Needs to play the run better.
28. Deone Bucannon S Washington St
NFL Comparison Matt Elam
Has a knack of making big plays. Loves to hit players with a force. Not the best in coverage.
29. Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
NFL Comparison Tyson Alualu
Quick burst off the ball. Strong, heavy hands to control opponents. Dominated at the Senior Bowl. Inconsistent
30. Derek Carr QB Fresno St
NFL Comparison Marc Bulger
Quick release. Has zip on his passes. Very accurate on short to intermediate passes. Not that accurate on the long ball.
31. Dee Ford DE/OLB Auburn
NFL Comparison Trent Cole
Very quick first step off the ball. Shows great athleticism. Productive against great competition. Needs to get stronger.
32. Davonte Adams WR Fresno St
NFL Comparison Greg Jennings
Explosive after the catch. Has the agility to make defenders miss after the catch. Has speed but not a burner.
33. Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida St
NFL Comparison Plaxico Burress
Uses his height and size to go up and get a ball at its highest point. Big time red zone threat. Not the fastest or best route runner.
34. Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech
NFL comparison Brandon Flowers
Fast athlete, who will come up and tackle. Has great ball skills. Injury concerns.
35. Jake Amaro TE Texas Tech
NFL Comparison Jason Witten
A big nice target. Uses his body well to post up on defenders. Not the greatest athlete.
36. Ra’Shede Hageman DT Minnesota
NFL Comparison Jay Ratliff
Very strong at the point of attack. Is athletic enough to run side to side. Lazy at times.
37. Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama
NFL comparison DJ Fluker
Very strong. If he gets a hold of a defender he usually dominates him. Struggles against quick pass rushers. Better suited to play RT. Might have to move to OG. Huge injury concerns.
38. Roby Bradley CB Ohio St
NFL Comparison Brandon Carr
Uses his hands well, and can turn and run with WRs. Not as productive as I had hoped he would be.
39. Jarvis Landry WR LSU
NFL Comparison James Jones
Has the speed, and acceleration. Needs to be more consistent.
40. Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
NFL comparison Jake Long
Has the length, balance, and power. Many will have him much higher, but I question him on run blocking. Doesn’t seem to finish. Has some off the field issues.
41. Brandin Cooks WR Oregon St
NFL comparison Antonio Brown
A very fast, quick WR. Most likely will be lined up in the slot with his size. Has great hands. Not big enough to be a pro typical number one.
42. Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU
NFL Comparison Derrick Johnson
Versatile linebacker who can line up in different spots. Can attack the line of scrimmage as well as drop back in coverage. Not the most physical
43. Lamarcus Joyner CB/S Florida St
NFL Comparison Honeybadger
Versatile player who is at his best covering the slot and close to the line of scrimmage. Can play safety as well as corner. Loves to come up and hit despite his size. He is a great athlete. Height is his biggest concern.
44. David Yankey OG Stanford
NFL Comparison Ben Grubbs
He fires off the ball in the running game. He moves well getting to the second level. Has a tendency to lunge.
45. Ryan Shazier OLB Ohio St
NFL Comparison DeAndre Levy
He is very athletic. Can cover well, and run down ball carriers from sideline to sideline. Needs a little more explosion.
46. Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE Washington
NFL Comparison Aaron Hernandez
A huge, athletic player who has big hands. Can really extend and catch ball at a high point. Has huge off the field issues.
47. Loucheiz Purifoy CB Florida
NFL Comparison Chris Houston
A fluid player, who has excellent body control. Takes a lot of risks.
48. Allen Robinson WR Penn St
NFL comparison Dwayne Bowe
A good route runner, who can do damage after the catch. Can go up and get the ball. Will go over the middle. Occasionally drops the ball.
49. Carlos Hyde RB Ohio St
NFL Comparison Beanie Wells
Strong and physical downhill runner who punishes defenders. Very good balance. Has nimble feet for being so big. Lacks the extra gear to break long runs.
50. Marcus Roberson CB Florida
NFL Comparison Marcus Gilchrist
Good technique. Aggressive and strong in run defense. Has enough quickness play in the slot. Weak at the point of contest against bigger WRs.
Thanks go out to Craig Medeiros for another solid contribution to BoltBlitz.com with this piece. I have little doubt that this post will stir up some comments. Great job, Craig. Be sure to give Craig a follow on Twitter @craigmedy.
Alright, I tried to get this done and out before the combine started, better late than never I guess. As some of you know I am in Afghanistan right now and with the war winding down they are closing over half my base so we have had to move our sleeping tents and are moving our flightline. Due to this, I will be a little slow putting stuff up over the next month. Good news is, in 35 days…I will be back in AMERICA!!
But enough about me, lets get to the reason you are really here…football.
When putting this together I was trying to keep a few things in mind. First, all the holes we need to fill. Second, I ignored any potential free agents we might bring in for now. Third, what I think is important to bring to this team in a player.
I did throw one trade in here, I had us trading out of the 3rd round with the Browns. The Browns have a TON of picks this year which makes it easy for them to move up if the mood strikes them. There is no real basis for this trade, other than there were more players in the 4th that I wanted rather than settling for one in the 3rd.
To keep it semi-realistic I used Walterfootball.com’s Pick Value Chart so neither team was getting “ripped-off.” Our 3rd round pick (89) is worth 145 “points.” Their 2 4th round picks (102 + 129) are worth a combined 141 “points” which is close enough to work. I also used walterfootball.com’s mock drafts and player rankings to guesstimate where a player might be available.
So after all of that blabbing up there, on to the picks!
Round 1, Pick 25:
Ra’shede Hageman 6’6″ 310lbs (NT, Minnesota) / Kyle Van Noy 6’3″ 243lbs (OLB, BYU)
The pick here is Hageman, but Van Noy is my back up as Hageman may not be available. Hageman is a mountain of a man who is extremely athletic, plays with aggression, and forces opposing offenses to double team him. He is predicted by many to be the 2nd NT off the board after Louis Nix from Notre Dame. He is very long at 6’6 with 34 1/4″ arms and uses his length well, keeping offensive linemen from being able to engage and control him.
He has everything you want in a NT that can’t be coached such as size, power, and speed. Hageman will need coaching to reach his potential though, which is very high by the way. He does take plays off occasionally when he gets tired and he will need to learn to stay lower. Hageman would help end the drought of talented NT’s we have had since Jamal Williams and bring another athletic body to our defensive line between Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes.
If Hageman is gone, my pick would be Van Noy. Van Noy is a hyper athletic OLB. He has a a variety of pass rush moves and combines a very quick first step with a good anticipation of snap count to burst past the offensive line. Van Noy makes impact plays all over the field shown by his 26 sacks, 61.5 tackles for loss, 7 INT, 11 forced fumbles, 21 passes defended and 5 TD’s during his 4 years playing at BYU.
Van Noy would bring to the Chargers some much needed pass rush help, but also a defender in the pass game that the Bolts have not had since Donnie Edwards. With division opponents having a TE like Julius Thomas, and scrambling QB’s like Alex Smith and Terrelle Pryor an intelligent, fast LB like Van Noy would be invaluable.
Round 2, Pick 57:
Ja’Wuan James 6’6″ 311lbs* (OT, Tennessee)
James played RT at Tennessee, however his skill set would actually benefit him more at LT in the NFL. He is not a driving run blocker like D.J. Fluker, what he is is a great kick and slide mirroring pass blocker. James uses his long (35″) arms well, keeping pass rushers at bay. He does not have problems with speed rushers like almost all of our tackles have had recently, and is also big and strong enough to keep the bull rush at bay. Durability is very important to the Chargers going forward, especially with the recent run of injuries on the O-line, and James has that, starting all 49 of his college games.
Here is what walterfootball.com had to say about James’ day at the combine today:
“Tennessee right tackle Ja’Wuan James had a mixed day. He ran some slow times of 5.25 in the 40 with a 1.82 10-yard split. However, James really performed well in the field drills. He showed nice hip flexibility with great feet. He was relaxed and fluid in the mirror drills. James is an interesting prospect that could be steal on Day 2.”
He also received a good review from nfl.com:
“Big, strong, heavy pass protector with good balance, anchor strength and hand use to handle power and speed. Does not affect the run game the same way and almost appears more destined for the left side in the pros. Has instant-starter potential.”
Round 4, Pick 102:
Rashaad Reynolds 5’11” 191lbs (CB, Oregon State)
Reynolds is a gritty, scrappy CB. He is aggressive on the line in the press and has good speed to stick with WR’s downfield. Oregon State had him play a good mix of man coverage up on the line and in the zone lined up pretty far off the line like the Chargers often do. One of my favorite things about him is that if we picked him, he would show up to camp the best tackler in our secondary, he is that good. He shows good awareness and timing when turning to look for the ball. Reynolds is not afraid going up against bigger WR’s and sticks to everyone like velcro. While he doesn’t have elite speed, his instincts and football IQ keep him in good position to make plays on the ball. One thing that may hurt him in the NFL is that he is pretty “handsy” with WR’s and makes a little too much contact passed the 5 yard mark. Reynolds managed 10 interceptions and 29 passes defended during his time at Oregon State. He went out with a bang, returning 2 fumbles for TD’s in the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl against Boise State. Reynolds is also very durable, starting 38 consecutive games to end his career in college, something the Chargers desperately need.
Here is what nfl.com had to say about him:
“Good functional football player who capped his college career with a game-changing MVP performance in the Hawaii Bowl, where he returned two fumble recoveries for touchdowns. Has starter-quality physical traits and the positional skill to contribute readily in the pros. An underrated clingy cover man with a natural feel for the game.”
Round 4, Pick 121:
Michael Sam 6’2″ 261lbs (OLB, Missouri)
Ok, before anyone says anything, he is a football player and that is all I care about. The Chargers can always use more pass rushers especially with the injury history the Bolts have had lately. In the 4th round you can afford to take a player based on one spectacular season like Sam had and he would be one of the best pass rushers available at this point in the draft. This season Sam 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was always in the backfield. He has some drop back ability but he is mostly a situational pass rusher. Yes he would be somewhat of a media circus, but I think we have a positive enough locker room to deal with this, and I know Manti Te’o would be happy to have the spotlight on someone else.
Round 4, Pick 123:
Cody Hoffman 6’4″ 223lbs (WR, BYU)
I was looking for a big WR to pick up in the middle rounds and it was between Hoffman and Martavis Bryant from Clemson. I ended up going with Hoffman due to his much better hands, his kick return experience, and better body control. Hoffman goes up and attacks the ball at its highest point well and uses his big strong hands to secure the ball. He has great body control and can twist and turn in the air and on the run to go back for the ball. Watching him reminds me a lot of Malcom Floyd and would give us a big red zone target on the edge that Rivers missed this season. His negatives are his overall speed and his run blocking on the edge. He won’t break any speed records in the 40, but anything less than a 4.65 I would consider good for him especially after showing up to the combine 13 lbs over his listed playing weight from college. He finished college with 260 receptions for 3612 yards (13.9 YPC avg) and 33 TD’s. Hoffman also had 53 kick returns with a 25.1 yard per return avg.
Here is what nfl.com listed as his strenghts:
“Outstanding size with long arms. Extends outside his frame and can snag throws outside his body. Wide catching radius. Deceptively quick coming out of breaks. Has NFL pedigree. Experienced, four-year starter. Played through a shoulder injury during 2011 and ’12 seasons. Is tough and durable.”
Round 5, Pick 153:
Russel Bodine 6’3″ 310lbs (C, UNC)
This will most likely be Nick Hardwick’s last season. Behind Hardwick the Chargers did not have a true center last season, Guard Rich Ohrnberger filled in when he was out. According to chargers.com the bolts have 1 other Center on the roster, Nick McDonald. However according to nfl.com McDonald has 2 years experience in the NFL with 3 starts and time in 16 games overall, but as a Guard not a Center. Enter Russel Bodine. Bodine has already drawn some attention at the combine by putting up a Combine best, so far, of 42 reps on the bench. He has great size and strength and plays with a very nasty demeanor. We need to grab someone to groom behind Hardwick and I think Russel Bodine can be that player.
Here is what nfl.com says about him:
“STRENGTHS: Carries a load in his punch and plays with vinegar. Can seal and turn defenders in the run game to create small creases. Plays with a mean streak and likes to finish blocks. Is aggressive working up to the second level and efficient cutting linebackers. Rugged competitor. Stout anchor in pass protection. Versatile and has seen action at center and guard.
Round 6, Pick 185:
Darrin Reaves 5’10” 210lbs (RB, UAB)The Bolts need someone to replace the aging Ronnie Brown and to step in when Mathews gets hurt or tired. I believe Reaves was snubbed by the league not earning an invite to the combine. He is a solidly built RB who makes good quick cuts. Watching a highlight tape of his best runs he almost looked like he was greased up, arm tackles just fall off him as he runs and he pushes hard for yards. In 3 seasons, 2 as a starter, Reaves amassed 2343 yards on 496 carries (4.7 YPR avg), 27 TD’s (13 and 12 in the last two seasons). Reaves is also a good receiver out of the backfield with a lot of experience doing it hauling in 77 passes for 652 yards (8.5 YPC avg) and 3 TD’s.
Round 7, Pick 217:
Mike Pennel 6’4″ 332lbs (NT, CSU-Pueblo)
The Chargers need as much fresh depth on the defensive line as they can get. Mike Pennel comes from a small school but has perfect size for a NT. He is very strong at the point of attack. He will need coaching to maximize his potential since he is coming from a small school, but as the saying goes “you can’t teach size.”
Here is what nfl.com had to say about his strengths:
“Rare size and body mass. Looks the part with a well-distributed frame and carries his weight well for a 350-pounder. Is seldom moved off a spot. Can lock out and walk back blockers with sheer brute strength. Flashes some violence in his hands. Strong short-yardage/goal-line plugger.”
Well thanks for bearing with me through all that, let me know what you guys think, and feel free to submit your own picks and suggestions in the comments. Remember this is a very early mock draft. After the Combine, pro days, and what the team does in Free-Agency we will all have a better idea of what might happen and what our needs might be.
As some of you already know, Danario Alexander had a second surgery on his right knee due to infections in the knee. The more news that comes out about DX, the more depressing his story seems to get. I doubt that he looks at it that way. I am sure that he is staying upbeat and positive. But I cannot help but feel terrible for him.
As noted in the title, this is Alexander’s 7th knee surgery dating back to his college playing days. That number of 7 might not even be accurate. It could be even higher. He has had at least 5 procedures on his left knee and at least 2 on his right knee. In a report by Dan Hanzus of NFL.com, DX has now undergone “intense antibiotic treatment” due to infection after the latest surgery on his right knee.
Despite the impossibility of doing so, if you take away the injuries to Danario’s knees, there is no telling how good he could be and what kind of numbers he would put up. The guy has good speed and great hands. His ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point is fantastic. He does a great job of using his body to box-out defenders when going up for the ball. It is also worth mentioning that he is only 25 years old.
Just think about what he did after signing with San Diego in 2012. Though he played in 10 games during that season he only started 6 of them. In those 6 games he managed to contribute 37 receptions for 658 yards and 7 touchdowns. This was all done without an offseason with the team. After he started playing with the Bolts, I remember thinking how impressive it was that he and Philip Rivers had built up such a solid rapport with so little time to do so.
Going into the 2013 campaign, the excitement was building and the idea of what he would be able to produce with a full offseason began to become the talk of the town. Despite a bit of trepidation on the part of some, many fans were ready to crown Alexander as a top ten WR. I might have been one of them. And then August came.
The first week of August in 2013 brought on surgery prior to this most recent one. It was once again another torn ACL but this time it was his right knee. The day that it happened, I didn’t find out until I was on the air as a guest on The GridIron Nation with Gee Steelio and Brian Mejia. Talk about being thrown for a loop and not being prepared. I had been out all day with my kids and didn’t even attempt to check out the internet or social media that day.
That day I once again realized that I take this stuff too seriously. I was devastated when they told me. I was in a bad mood for 4 days. I felt terrible for him and the team. Following that period of moping and whining came the realization that he might have already played his last game in the NFL.
That is where the question lies now. Is there a team, including the Chargers, that is willing to take a chance on a guy that has so many knee issues? It pains me to say this, but I cannot imagine any team taking that risk, not even at the league minimum. I genuinely hope that I am incredibly wrong.
What do you think? Will Danario Alexander get another shot in the NFL? Or is he now a former player that will be forced to sit back and dream about what could have been? Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section. Thanks a lot for reading.
After running my Chargers 7 round mock draft last night, I thought it would be cool to throw together some posts with some highlight videos of some of the players that I mocked to San Diego. Our first player will be fullback J.C. Copeland. I have the Chargers taking him in the 7th round. If you missed the first edition of my Chargers 7 round mock draft, here is a link.
Despite the fact that the fullback position is now the dinosaur position in today’s NFL, scoring points in the redzone is still at a premium. Having a guy like Copeland in your short yardage and goal line packages truly enhances your chances of scoring. As a blocker he will fight through the whistle and he does a good job sealing off defenders in the hole. He also has adequate hands as a receiver. At right around 270 pounds, he is a bit quicker than you’d expect.
Take a look at a few videos that I found on YouTube and let me know what you think about J.C. Copeland landing in San Diego during May’s NFL draft.
We all know that these highlight videos intentionally leave out the bad plays and only show the positive ones. But you do get a little idea of what the player is capable of doing. Copeland looks like a guy that you might even be able to line up at tailback on the goal line at the next level and have him punch it in after getting a full head of steam. He did so in one of the videos above in a college all-star game and scored twice.
Let me know what you all think about Copeland by leaving a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay classy, San Diego.
It is that time of year again and some may even consider me late to the party. It’s mock draft season. Today will be my first attempt at mocking the draft selections by your San Diego Chargers. I actually get a little bit pumped up about the debates that come up due to these mocks. They tend to make for strong conversation pieces.
I have a run of 5 drafts in a row in which, while prepping my final mock, I have prognosticated one player that would be drafted as a Charger. The consecutive streak began in 2009 when I made had the misfortune of jinxing San Diego by mocking Vaughn Martin and Gartrell Johnson to the Bolts. Oops. My bad.
In 2010, I nailed both Ryan Mathews and Cam Thomas as future members in lightning bolts. Obviously I had no clue that the team would have to trade up from 28 to 12 to secure the services of Mathews, but I did have them trading up for him close to the middle of the first round. There was a similar story with Cam Thomas. I had him going to the Bolts in the 3rd round as opposed to the 5th.
The draft in 2011 seemed to be one of the easier drafts to peg a player to be drafted for the Chargers. Leading up to the draft, San Diego was not shy about their love for Vincent Brown. He was another that I was lucky enough to tab ending up in America’s finest city.
In 2012, while writing for BoltBeat.com, I mocked Ladarius Green to the be taken in the 4th round. And last year I mocked cornerback Steve Williams to the Chargers in the 5th round and that is where he was selected.
Now that I have shown that even the sun shines on a draftnik’s butt every now and then, let us get on with the proceedings. Without further ado, the first edition of my Chargers 7 round mock draft.
Louis Nix NT Notre Dame 6’2″ 345 pounds
This pick will probably have people split down the middle. Nix is coming off of a year that ended due to surgery for a torn meniscus. He is a mammoth of a man and can take on multiple blockers. He has the perfect size for a 3-4 NT and is a powerful man. He is not going to put up sack numbers but he will demand double teams. The Chargers are in dire need of a space-eater and Nix is the best that is available. He may not last until the 25th pick in the 1st round but for the sake of this mock he is there and snagged by the Bolts.
Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU 6’3″ 244 pounds
Despite seeing him in person from the press box at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, I wanted to see more of Van Noy. He finished the game with a sack and a couple of tackles. After returning home and watching 4 full games, I have come to the conclusion that he would be a great fit in the Charger defense. The guy is all over the place with a nose for the ball. He has very good instincts and his ability to drop into coverage from the OLB position should be very appealing. Much quicker than fast, he won’t wow you with his 40 yard dash time. Despite not being overly physical, he still makes more than his fair share of plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska 6’2″ 215 pounds
Although his hype is bit “louder” than his ability, Jean-Baptiste would be a solid pick in the late third round. The new craze in the NFL happens to be big cornerbacks and he is just that. But that is NOT why I have him being selected. He finished this season with 12 pass breakups and 4 interceptions. For a player his size he is not incredibly physical. He had a solid week at the Senior bowl in Mobile. He won’t blow you away with his speed but his length helps mask that in coverage. His hip turn was a lot better than I expected for a 6’2″ 215 pound cornerback. He still has some developing to do but he would be a nice 3rd round addition.
Donte Moncrief WR Ole Miss 6’3″ 226 pounds
Moncrief had a better year as a Junior than he did as a Senior. But don’t let that dissuade you. This is a big receiver that can stretch the field vertically. I think he’d be a good complement on the other side of Keenan Allen. One of my favorite aspects of his game is his willingness as a blocker in the running game. He has great hands, decisive cuts in and out of his breaks and the ability to go up and get the ball. It goes without saying that Philip Rivers loves to have jump-ball wideouts that can get up and attack the ball.
James Wilder Jr. RB Florida State 6’2″ 229 pounds
This guy just happens to be a great combination of power and speed. He is not blazing fast but he can run for a guy with his build. He has an NFL pedigree as his father, James Wilder, was a running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He keeps his legs churning through the muck showing impressive leg drive. One thing I noticed about Wilder Jr. is that he is always making progress forward at the end of plays, getting positive yards despite some poor blocking at times. Adding him to a backfield of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead would make for a solid stable of running backs.
Tyler Larsen C Utah State 6’4″ 317 pounds
Despite coming from small Utah State, Larsen received national recognition as a Rimington Award finalist. Larsen has started the last 51 consecutive games and shown that he has what it takes as a physical and cerebral blocker. His consecutive games streak shows his durability and toughness. He has a very fast punch to keep defenders on their heels. With the future of Nick Hardwick up in the air, it is important for the Chargers to have a plan in place. Even if Hardwick returns, drafting Larsen is a wise move for the future.
J.C. Copeland FB LSU 6’1″ 270 pounds ( approximately )
This former defensive lineman is a beast. He opens up holes like an extra offensive linemen with a bit of quickness. He can lay the wood with the best of them at the position and would be a great asset for a team that has trouble deciding to run the ball from inside the 1 yard line on 3 consecutive plays….. * crickets * Sorry for that. I would really like to see this guy in lightning bolts.
And there you have the first edition of my Chargers 7 round mock draft. I am REALLY looking forward to everyone telling me that Van Noy and Jean-Baptiste won’t fall to the respective rounds where I have them going. They might not slip but let us not pretend like any of us know anything at this point in the process.
Let the colorful banter begin!!
I saw a lot of comments to my Chargers’ Mt. Rushmore post, and some of them inspired a Mt. TRASHmore look at Bolts history, so here goes.
Topping the trash heap is none other than Ryan Leaf. Who else could possibly top this list in boltlore? Only thanks to JaMarcus Russell did Leaf fall from the #1 spot as draft bust of all time.
In two years with the Chargers, he won four games against 14 losses, posted a pedestrian completion percentage of 48 and threw 13 touchdowns against 33 picks. He managed to alienate most everyone on the team with his boorish personality and even tried to verbally take on Junior Seau.
Coming in at #2 has to be Craig BUSTer Davis. Drafted in the first round (#30 overall) in 2007, Davis could not stay healthy enough to live up to his #1 receiver billing at LSU. He had 20 catches for 188 yards in 14 games during his rookie season. The following year, he only played in four games due to injury. He played in one game in 2009 and seven in 2010 before being released.
Next up, David Boston. Boston signed a seven-year, $47 million contract ($12 million guaranteed) in 2003. He posted respectable stats (70 catches for 880 yards and seven touchdowns), but was suspended by Coach Schottenheimer for a game after cussing out one of the coaches. Our dear friend A.J. Smith traded him to Miami after the 2003 season because of his attitude and work habits. After the trade, he tested positive for steroids and tore up his knee.
Rounding up the top 4 is Mossy Cade. Mossy Cade? Who the heck is Mossy Cade? Cade was drafted in the first round of the 1984 draft (#6 overall) and never played a down for the Chargers. In fact, he played for the USFL’s Memphis Showboats in 1985 and also for Green Bay in 1985 and 1986. He was a real winner. In 1987, he was convicted of two counts of second degree sexual assault on a woman he was related to through marriage and spent 15 months in prison.
Who are your top four garbage Bolts? Let me know who yours are!
It would be completely understandable. It certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise if it ends up being the case. Nick Hardwick has completed his tenth year in the NFL with the Chargers and he is, again, contemplating retirement. Although I wasn’t too surprised he returned to give it another go in 2013, that sense of comfort is not in place for the 2014 season.
Hardwick had a Pro bowl-like campaign this past year. Despite not receiving enough votes to be named to the squad, he truly had a season that could have landed him in Hawaii. He was a constant on the offensive line that was so necessary. Though the offensive line as a whole had success, Hardwick was the glue that kept the unit together.
The Oline suffered numerous injuries throughout the year and Nick still did not miss even one start. In fact, he hasn’t missed a start since 2009. He left the week 13 contest against the Bengals with what was called a neck stinger and, eventually, a concussion. He returned the next week without missing a game and the Chargers went on a 4-game winning streak to end the regular season and make the playoffs.
Everyone knows the story of Kris Dielman and how he left the game. It is also known that Dielman and Hardwick are very close friends on and off the field. Dielman was, in a sense, forced to leave the game before he was done playing. It was almost as though the decision was made for him by the scary concussion/seizure that he sustained against the New York Jets in 2011. Sure, he could have kept playing but that was not what was determined to be in the best interest of him and his family. The move was absolutely respectable and he is still one of my favorite players to this day.
Another close friend of Hardwick’s happens to be Philip Rivers. They have a very strong bond as seen here. The duo entered the league together in the same draft class. Their connection and the success that they’ve shared together might be a factor in Nick’s final determination. When you look at the core vets on this team, Rivers, Hardwick, Antonio Gates and Eric Weddle, you can’t help but hope they all get one more shot together to obtain the ever-elusive Lombardi trophy as long as health is in the right place.
Hardwick, despite that late-season injury, walked away from the final 2013 game as healthy as could be expected after an NFL season that ended in the second round of the playoffs. Now he has been afforded an opportunity by the football gods to leave on his own terms or to return to play another year. You hear many players talk about wanting to walk away from the game on their own terms. They don’t want to hang around too long once their skills have diminished and they are shells of their former selves. This is one of the matters weighing on the mind of the center that has taken so many snaps in the last 10 seasons.
As I noted above, Hardwick had a solid performance this last year. It would appear that he is still near or at the top of his game. As a fan that happens to be a husband and a parent, I want him to do what he needs to do for his family. On the other side of the coin, as a fan that knows the Chargers might already need help on the offensive line even if Hardwick comes back, I hope he plays at least one more year.
This is obviously a situation worth keeping close tabs on for your San Diego Chargers. We’ll be doing our best to keep you updated on any rumblings that we hear regarding any news on the subject.
Thanks for reading.
In honor of Presidents’ Day, I thought I would take a look at who I would put on a Chargers-themed Mount Rushmore.
There are many worthy candidates, and some that would be considered snubbed by their omission. After looking at my choices, I’d like to hear who you think should be honored.
First on the list is Lance Alworth. Arguably, Bambi was the face of the early Chargers franchise. A Bolt from 1962-1970, he was AFL Western Division All-Star for seven consecutive years (1963-1969), he was United Press’ 1969 AFL MVP. He finished his career with 543 catches for over 10,000 yards. He formed a formidable tandem with Chargers quarterback John Hadl, and is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in all professional football during the 1960s. Alworth was the first player from the AFL to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Next up is Dan Fouts. Fouts piloted Air Coryell to four consecutive playoff appearances from 1979 -1982, including appearances in the 1980 and 1981 AFC Title Games. Fouts set NFL season passing yardage records in three consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1981 with totals of 4,082, 4,715, and 4,802 yards. He broke Joe Namath’s record of 4,007 set in 1967. These stood until 1984 when Dan Marino threw for over 5,000 yards.
Defensively, nobody deserves to be on Mt. Boltmore than Junior Seau. He was drafted in the first round of the 1990 draft (fifth overall). He was the face of the franchise from 1990-2002. He appeared in 12 consecutive ProBowls, beginning with the 1992 game. Nobody played the game with more youthful enthusiasm and passion than #55. He, one day soon, will be inducted into Canton. No Charger player will ever bear his jersey number.
Last, but certainly not least, the last Charger player to wear #21, Ladanian Tomlinson. “LT” was drafted in the first round (again, fifth overall) in 2001. His presence was immediately felt, running for 1,236 yards in his rookie season. He ran for over 1,000 yards in eight consecutive seasons, leading the league in 2006 (the same year he shattered the rushing touchdown record), and again in 2007. He led the league in rushing touchdowns a total of three times, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2002, 2004-2006.
There are many others deserving, but each of these Chargers have had their numbers retired (or soon will), Bambi and Fouts are already in Canton, and Seau and LT will when their turn comes.
Who are your four?
Going into the 2014 offseason it’s clear that the Chargers have some work to do at the cornerback position. Whether they address that need during free agency or the draft is the question. It wouldn’t be out of the question for them to add cornerbacks via both of those avenues.
For the sake of this poll, we’ll focus on the free agency piece. This is a good year to be in the market for a cornerback. There are some solid names that will be available to the highest bidders. Players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Denver Broncos and Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner are intriguing names while the class may be highlighted by the likes of former Dolphin Brent Grimes or ex-Patriot Aquib Talib. Former Packer Sam Shields is a player that I would love to see in lightning bolts. Free agent cornerback Vontae Davis was brought over to the Colts from the Dolphins in a move that occurred while Tom Telesco was still in Indianapolis; the familiarity is there and perhaps he would be another option.
As mentioned above, the need at the position is there for the Bolts. Although I am really high on 2013 5th round pick Steve Williams and I look forward to seeing him healthy in regular season action, it might be worth adding multiple corners to the roster. It is still too early to know which corners from last year will still be on the team. Thus, we aren’t quite sure how many vacancies there will be at the cornerback spot.
Below is a poll with some of the top names available in free agency at cornerback. Most of you know the drill. Place your vote and then leave your comment supporting why you voted who you voted for in this post. Thanks in advance for reading and voting!
I’m a huge football fan who has spent a lot of time watching games. I’m 32 years old and as the years have gone on I have realized more and more how important quality coaching is in the NFL. Most people look to see if a Head Coach can have his team prepared, motivated to play, and if they are disciplined. All those things are important, but there are a few other things that I look for to judge how a Head Coach is doing. I like to see how the coach puts his players in situations to best succeed, how he makes adjustments and how he manages the clock at the end of halves.
What I like most so far about San Diego Head Coach Mike McCoy is his ability to put his players in situations to have success. When McCoy was the offensive coordinator in Denver in 2011, the Broncos had Kyle Orton at QB running an offensive scheme that had Orton in the shotgun, mostly with 3-4 WR sets. McCoy knew Orton didn’t have the arm strength to throw deep, so they used a short to intermediate passing game.
Well, after the Broncos went 1-4 to start the season they pulled Orton and started Tim Tebow. Orton’s skills are completely different from those of Tim Tebow. Orton is a pocket QB who isn’t mobile and is accurate. Tebow, on the other hand, is very mobile but one of the least accurate quarterbacks ever. McCoy had to completely change his offensive scheme midway through a season. Not an easy task. McCoy went to the read option, which Tebow was comfortable with running. Now the Broncos didn’t light up the scoreboard like they did this year, but they found ways to win with their great defense and running game. They finished the season winning 7 of their next 11 games to finish a respectable 8-8 . Tebow isn’t even in the league anymore. For McCoy to get what he did out of Tebow is great coaching.
Under Norv Turner, the Chargers continued to run the same offensive scheme for the 7 years he was in San Diego. His offense had a lot of 7 step drops for Philip Rivers and the Chargers threw the intermediate and deep balls on most occasions. At first this style worked. But as the talent declined, Norv never adjusted. It amazed me how many offensive players did better on different teams after they left San Diego and Norv Turner’s handling. Sean Payton in New Orleans finds so many ways to get the best out of Darren Sproles. He finds ways to get him in space and utilize his talents. Norv, with the game on the line gives Sproles, one of the smallest RBs in the league, a run up the middle on 4th and 2 right at Ray Lewis. I would imagine that most of you remember that.
Vincent Jackson’s best season under Norv had him finish with 1,167 yards receiving. Since coming to Tampa Bay two seasons ago, he had more receiving yards in both years with 1,384 and 1,224. It’s not that big of a difference, but when you consider that he was catching passes from Philip Rivers in San Diego, compared to Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon, it makes you wonder. Also factor in that Greg Schiano is a defensive minded coach who relies on defense and running the ball. Since leaving Norv Turner, both Mike Tolbert and Louis Vasquez have made Pro Bowls. Neither made them with Norv coaching them. Players look better when put in the right situations.
When Mike McCoy came to San Diego in 2013, he took on a tough situation. Even the coach prior to McCoy’s arrival, said the Chargers were years away from making the playoffs. McCoy had to deal with significant injuries to Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd and Melvin Ingram, to name a few. But this 2013 Charger team never made excuses and kept fighting.
Mike McCoy and his offensive staff completely changed the offensive scheme that Norv Turner ran prior. McCoy’s staff ran a quick, short passing game. Philip Rivers got rid of the football much quicker. This limited the turnovers which was completely out of hand under Norv Turner’s scheme. The offensive line was much better under McCoy’s system. The Chargers brought in King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart via free agency. They then drafted DJ Fluker in the 1st round. When healthy, they all played well. A lot of the credit has to go to the coaching staff, as any team could have gotten Dunlap or Rinehart. The staff but the offensive line in the best situation it could to have success.
Ryan Mathews had his best year to date. As the season went on, the coaching staff believed more and more in Mathews. He ran for 100 yards or more in 6 of the last 10 games. He also had a 99 yard game in that stretch. Mathews was a key factor in how the Chargers managed to get to the playoffs this past year.
This would never have happened under Norv. He never trusted Mathews. He actually played Jackie Battle….. I repeat, Jackie Battle over him at times. Norv would also take Mathews out inside the 20. Mathews runs hard, is athletic, and has the ability to jump over the pile to score. Why would someone not have him inside the 20? It comes down to coaching.
Another player who excelled under McCoy’s staff who didn’t under Norv was Eddie Royal. Royal, in 2012 under Norv, had 234 yards and 1 TD. In 2013, he had 631 yards and 8 TDs. The staff put Royal in situations to use his skills. How many bubble screens did they run where Royal had big plays? That’s coaching.
In his 1st season as a Head Coach, McCoy and his staff made some nice adjustments. They started the season with a no-huddle, fast tempo offense. This caught some teams off guard. As teams got more film and prepared for it, the Chargers relied more on the running game. You have to love coaches who can make adjustments and don’t just stick to one thing. Bill Belichick is the master at this. They won Super Bowls running the ball and relying on a great defense. Since the defense diminished in talent, Belichick opened up the offense and relied more on the passing game. They were also the 1st team to really utilize the 2 TE set. You have to be creative.
Another thing Mike McCoy did well, but can get better at, is managing the clock. It amazes me how bad teams butcher the clock. Against the Chargers in week 2, the Eagles were trailing by 3 in the 4th quarter with the clock running at 2:20 and had a 1st down at the 14. Instead of letting the clock go to the 2 minute warning and leaving less time when San Diego got the ball back, the Eagles ran up to the line and threw an incomplete pass. They ended up throwing 3 incompletions in a row, giving San Diego 1:51 to go on the clock with the game tied and win could be had with a field goal. San Diego did just that.
No way should that type of stuff happen. McCoy did a good job with clock management this year. In week 1 against the Houston Texans, the Chargers had a drive of eight plays scoring a touchdown while leaving 18 seconds on the clock before the half giving the Texans not much time to score. He can get better at clock management but he has presented the beginnings of a great foundation in that department. As a rookie coach, it’s something that I believe he will indeed improve at sooner, rather than later.
The way Mike McCoy makes adjustments, puts his players in the best situations and manages the clock are some of the reasons that I think the Chargers should win a Super Bowl soon. It was amazing that the Chargers got to the playoffs this year. They were the only team to win in Cincinnati and in Denver. You have to be very impressed with what McCoy did his 1st year as a Head Coach. The Chargers need some help on the defense. I question if John Pagano is the best guy to be the defensive coordinator. This could be his last year to prove whether he is or isn’t the man for the job.
With a few more quality players via free agency and/or draft, the Chargers should be an elite team for years. The time is now. Charger fans have waited long enough. Let’s get our Super Bowl.
I’d like to thank Craig for the contributor’s piece to BoltBlitz. He’s helped us out a few times and has never disappointed. Be sure to follow Craig on Twitter @craigmedy and leave your thoughts below in the comment section. Thanks again!