Monthly Archives: March 2014
The NFL draft is still about seven weeks away. The league and its teams have been participating in this year’s free agent frenzy for the better part of a week. Most of the big names have changed teams, or re-signed with their respective teams.
The Chargers have added some much-needed depth at multiple positions. Tom Telesco has done a great job bringing in guys that help add to a team that finished last season in the second round of the playoffs. The questions now turn to the draft.
As the draft order currently sits, San Diego has the 25th pick in the first round. The importance of the Bolts hitting on that pick is crucial in building on last year’s performance. It’s no secret that Telesco had one of the best draft classes in the NFL. John Clayton of ESPN has been on the record of saying it was THE best.
The first round should give the Chargers some options on how and where to improve the team. Like many of you, I’ve been doing my homework trying to see who I would select if I were in Tom’s position. While doing so, I wondered how many first round draft picks the Chargers have made that panned out to be superstars. Which then led me to this post. After spending some time doing some research, I came up with who I would consider to be the top 5 first round draft selections by your San Diego Chargers. As per any post that is purely based on one’s opinion, there will be those of you that will have a completely different list. But, read on and you can see who I have decided are in my top-5.
5. Leslie O’Neal DE Oklahoma State 6’4″ 275 pounds
O’Neal was drafted with the 8th pick in the first round of the 1986 draft. He played both defensive end and outside linebacker for San Diego. O’Neal earned his way into 6 Pro bowl nods and finished his career with 132.5 sacks. After 9 years in America’s finest city, O’Neal spent two years a piece in both St. Louis and Kansas City.
4. Walt Sweeney OG Syracuse 6’4″ 256 pounds
Obviously Walt Sweeney and his tenure with the Chargers is far before my time. But it is impossible to not include him on this list after looking him up and then speaking with my father about him. He was the 2nd overall pick in the 1963 draft. Sweeney started 181 games during his career. Like O’Neal, he had a stint at the end of his playing days – two years in Washington – before retiring. He was a two-time 1st team All-pro selection and made the Pro bowl and impressive 9 times. Hopefully you can see why he had to be on this list.
3. Kellen Winslow TE Missouri 6’5″ 251 pounds
The image of Kellen Winslow being helped off the field after the triple-overtime victory over the Dolphins is one of the most iconic pictures in all of professional sports. Winslow revolutionized the tight end position in the NFL. His athleticism at the position was not common in those days. He was the 13th player chosen in the 1979 draft after the Bolts traded with the Browns to move up to select him. By the time Winslow decided to hang up his cleats, he had amassed 541 receptions for 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns. Additionally, he was selected as a 1st team All-pro 3 times and made the Pro bowl 5 times in his career. Winslow was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995 after being a finalist in 1993 and 1994.
2. LaDainian Tomlinson RB TCU 5’11” 221 pounds
To put it quite simply, LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the greatest running backs of all-time. His production over his career guarantee him a spot in Canton on the first ballot. Nicknamed LT, he was involved in one of the biggest draft day trades ever. The Chargers held the 1st pick in the 2001 draft and the Atlanta Falcons wanted to move up from the 5th pick to draft Michael Vick. We all know how that worked out. Tomlinson earned his way to 1st team All-pro 3 times while going to the Pro bowl 5 times. His career numbers are as follows:
Rushing – 3174 rushes 13,684 yards 145 touchdowns
Receiving – 624 receptions 4,772 yards 17 touchdowns
Passing – 8/12 143 yards 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Not too shabby, eh? In fact, I think I’ll just put a bow on this part of the article now.
1. Junior Seau LB USC 6’3″ 255 pounds
Buddy. Seau was taken with the 5th pick in the first round of the 1990 draft. He would go on to be the heart and soul of the Chargers for 13 seasons. He also played 3 years in Miami and 4 years in New England to finish up his career. By the time it was all said and done, Seau totaled 12 Pro bowls, all of which were with the Chargers and achieved consecutively, and was named a 1st team All-pro 6 times. A tackling machine, he had over 1,400 tackles during his time in the NFL. He also managed to snag 18 interceptions and 56.5 sacks. Seau was a force to be reckoned with at all times. He had a knack for timing snaps and was always around the ball. Opposing offenses, especially quarterbacks, had to know where Seau was at all times. Seau is eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year. That will be an emotional day for countless fans all over the world.
Honorable Mentions: Russ Washington, John Jefferson, Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, Billy Ray Smith, Quentin Jammer, Jim Lachey and Earl Faison
That was a fun post to research and to write. I hope everyone enjoys reading it. Feel free to leave me a comment on what you think. Thanks a lot for reading.
In a tweet by former NFL agent Joel Corry, Dwight Freeney has taken a pay cut. Freeney’s salary will now be reduced from $3.5M to $2.5M with a cap number that reduces from $4.75M to $3843,750.
To say that I have no clue what kind of cap space the Chargers currently have is an understatement. I have seen reports of numbers anywhere between $32,000 and over $5.5M.
Below is the tweet from Mr. Corry.
Dwight Freeney took a pay cut from $3.5M to $2.5M. His ’14 cap number goes from $4.75M to $3,843,750 in the process.
— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) March 15, 2014
If you’ve been keeping an eye on free agency for the Bolts this year, then you have probably noticed when a Charger has restructured, another player has soon been signed thereafter. It has not been the case every single time, but pretty darn close.
After missing out on both Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, could this be a move to make a run at a wide receiver like James Jones? He is the one guy remaining on the market that would certainly be of interest at the wide receiver position.
San Diego is also in the market for starters at both nose tackle and cornerback. If the restructure helps free up some money for either of those spots, or wide receiver, the fans would hopefully walk away from free agency knowing that we are now ready to focus on the draft. That’s not to say that a depth-signing here or there won’t occur, but the team is going to have to save some money to sign their draft class. Not to mention, you always have to have a reserve to sign free agents during the season in case of injuries or Adam Muema-like circumstances.
I’m not proud of that last part. I can’t seem to look away from the train wreck of what has become the situation for the former San Diego State running back.
The Chargers have been active in free agency but have yet to land what most would call a marquee player. My response to that, you ask? Good. Tom Telesco has been doing just as I have expected by signing depth and waiting to build this team through the draft. I am really looking forward to watching this all play out as he works his magic.
In what is infamously known as liar’s month, the period that runs from just before free agency all the way until the draft has been completed, rumors run rampant and team’s do their best to throw other teams off the scent of reality and truth. This is certainly a time where you have to be extremely careful what you do and don’t believe. Perhaps the best policy is to take all of it with a grain of salt. That is not always the case, however.
The Alabama Crimson Tide held their pro day on March 12th. The Chargers had some of their representatives there to see the workout take place. One of the members of the Bolts that attended the pro day was Ron Milus. He is the Chargers secondary coach. One player of note that was participating that day was free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
In an article on NFL.com, Milus kept Clinton-Dix busy as he ran the draft prospect through position drills, as is stated in the post. Ha Ha, which is a nickname he goes by instead of his birth name of Hasean, had a solid career at Alabama and is widely known as the top free safety prospect coming out in the draft. Milus also worked out cornerback Deion Belue as well. He is a mid-to-late round prospect. The Charger defense ranked in the bottom-5 of the league against the pass in 2013, largely in part to poor play in the secondary.
Let me say this, Clinton-Dix is a top-15 prospect in this draft class. The chances of him being there when the Chargers pick at 25 are slim and none. Of course, it’s not impossible but it is highly unlikely. The thing I take out of the article on NFL.com is that the Chargers are taking a look at players that would immediately help the team.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com this weekend for all of your Charger needs. We’ll have between 10-15 articles this weekend; including the second edition of my Chargers 7 round mock draft. We’ll be adding some more writers to the site, too. Thanks a lot for reading!
The Chargers have signed two cornerbacks in the last two days in Richard Marshall and Brandon Ghee. Neither one of them is the answer at the cornerback position opposite of Shareece Wright. We already know how the story goes when Marshall was forced into the starting lineup. In short, we’re all hoping that scenario doesn’t play itself out again.
After re-signing Marshall and signing Ghee, it is not likely that the team will add another corner via free agency. I suppose it is not out of the realm of possibility, but, again, I just don’t see it happening.
Knowing that they do not currently have the answer on the roster, San Diego is expected to address CB once again come May at the NFL draft. There are some solid players coming out that might provide the Chargers with the necessary playmaking the position so critically needs.
I have my small list of corners that I would be happy if the Bolts pulled the trigger on in the first round. But this post is not about my opinion. It’s about your opinion.
Below is a poll that has what some might consider the consensus group of cornerbacks that will possibly go in the first round. So I’ll leave it to you. Place your vote on the poll and let me know why you chose the corner you did by leaving a comment below.
Thanks a lot for reading and voting. I hope everyone will leave a comment and let us know their opinions!
Editor’s note: My last name is Peters, as you can see. I have earned the right to use that Sharon joke considering I heard it regarding my last name for over a quarter of a century. 🙂
In a move that was somewhat expected, the Chargers have re-signed Richard Marshall. The news was announced via Twitter by Michael Gehlken.
Chargers to re-sign Richard Marshall, but they’re not done addressing the cornerback spot: http://t.co/lou5LXezFY
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) March 14, 2014
Marshall was formerly of the Miami Dolphins. After starting 6 games during the regular season, replacing the newest Minnesota Viking Derek Cox, Marshall also started both of the team’s playoff games.
When the Bolts originally signed him he was thought to be acquired as depth. Well, once injuries and poor-play struck the Chargers in the face, Richard was called upon to step into one of the starting cornerback roles in John Pagano’s defense.
Everyone and their dog has been cognizant of the fact that San Diego was in dire need of help at the corner spot. Marshall’s signing marks the second day in a row that the team has signed a corner. Brandon Ghee, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals, was signed to a two-year deal.
As stated in Gehlken’s post, the Chargers are most likely going to add another cornerback via the draft in May. It is clear that another starter is necessary opposite of Shareece Wright. How early that need is addressed will be a hot topic for discussion among the fans and draftniks.
The Marshall re-signing is a decent one in that it provides more depth in a secondary that needs it. However, if called upon to return as a starter due to a similar situation as last year, it could mean another run as a bottom-tier passing defense.
Let’s just hope that it doesn’t come to that.
It appears that Mel Kiper Jr. has mocked Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby to the Chargers with the 25th pick in the first round. I say that it “appears” that way because it is listed on ESPN.com/NFL as an insider piece and I am not a part of that subscription. I found it in a post by Eric D. Williams right here.
Roby had a rough 2013 season. Any of you that watched Jared Abbrederis steal Roby’s lunch money repeatedly in their matchup can attest to some of the issues. There is some speculation the Roby played with a certain level of remorse for returning to school as opposed to taking the next step and going on to the NFL.
Although 2013 had more ups than downs, Roby is very athletic with great speed; he was timed at a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the combine while adding a 38.5-inch effort in the vertical jump. At a shade under 6’0″ and 192 pounds, Roby has good size for the position.
I am sure that I can speak on behalf of the entire fanbase when I say that both Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert would be more desirable if the team goes corner in round one, but chances are that they’ll both be gone. I’d actually prefer Jason Verrett and Kyle Fuller over Roby as well.
It may sound like I wouldn’t like the selection of Roby, but that is not the case. I would just prefer to either draft a different position or one of the other top-5 cornerbacks.
How would you feel if Kiper Jr. is right and the Bolts picked Roby? Leave me a comment below with your opinion on the matter.
Judson Richards is the Co-Host of the “Chargers Power Hour”, as well as “The Drive”. Judson also is the host of the “Chargers Post Game Show” on 1360AM after the Charger games are broadcast on the same station. If you’re a Charger fan and you are not following or listening to Judson, then you are truly missing out on some great Charger discussion.
Judson teamed up with Mike Costa on the radio. Costa is also the sideline reporter for the Charger games on the radio broadcast side. You might have also heard him on Aztec games or 105.3 FM.
So, what is the Chargers Power Hour and The Drive? As a good friend described to me, it’s Mancave Radio. They air Monday-Friday from 3-7PM. It is the place to get your daily dose of Charger news and discussion. Whether it’s during the season or off season, they’ve got you covered. Both of them are Charger fans, which makes the show very entertaining radio. Their afternoon show is one of the fastest growing shows on San Diego radio.
If you have a question about sports or the Chargers you can just call in, email them, or Tweet them. David Gascon runs the boards and provides weekly Charger grades after every game on Mondays.
IT’S A SHOW PUT ON BY CHARGER FANS, HOSTED BY CHARGER FANS, FOR CHARGER FANS! You know it’s hard to find sports radio hosts without over-inflated egos who talk down to the listeners. You don’t have any of that nonsense with Judson and Costa. They not only interact with Charger fans about the Chargers and sports in general, but both of them welcome it.
In today’s world, fans search the internet, Facebook and Twitter looking for Charger news. Honestly, you don’t have to look any further than The Drive. Don’t forget to Follow them at @judsonrichards @mikecosta and @davidgascon. Also a quick shout out to Brian Wilson and all the hard work he has put in at 1360am.
Now let’s get to know Judson Richards.
Tpowell: You were a minor league ball player for couple years. How does that experience of being in a locker room help you analyze and report on the Chargers?
Judson: Don’t kill me Thomas. But to be honest, I’m not sure it helps much at all. Being a guy who was drafted in round 33 (pick 1000 in 2004), I’m not about to compare my experiences to what Philip Rivers or Ryan Mathews may be going through. My reporting comes from research, and genuine opinions. When I do an interview I try to tackle these 3 things: 1) What would the advanced fan want to know? 2) What would the intermediate fan want to know? 3) What would the beginner fan want to know?
Tpowell: Tell us about that stint as a play by play for the Oklahoma minor league affiliate of the Texas Rangers? I spent some time in Oklahoma myself. Any good stories from your time there?
Judson: When I applied for that job I only had 1 year of baseball play by play under my belt. I was convinced I was going to get a job with a AA team. I didn’t. I was crushed. I actually applied for the AAA job in Oklahoma just to move on from disappointment. I thought I had no shot getting the job. But it’s amazing the jobs you can get in this industry when you’re willing to work just about nothing. Back to your first question, it absolutely helped that I had minor league experience. Stories: I did all the home game interviews. Had a chance to interview Buster Posey, Ryne Sandberg, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Jerrod Saltalamcchia… list goes on and on. Doing a broadcast littered with former major leaguers was honestly a thrill. I was in the United league a year earlier!! You never heard of it? Exactly.
Tpowell: You’ve risen pretty fast at 1360AM. Literally went from a intern,working the boards to your own show with Mike Costa. How’s the that been for you?
Judson: I moved back to San Diego in 2011 when ownership changed in OKC and I was not asked back. After two months In San Diego Brian Wilson emailed me back. (Very rarely people return phone calls/ emails in this industry when you are looking for a job) I wasn’t going to wait another 2 months. I walked in the building, asked to meet with BDub. He was gracious enough to speak with me for about 20 minutes. They had no openings, but I offered to intern just to get in the building. Interning turned into a few hours a month, then I produced for Chris and Ben, and then there was a change with the afternoon show. I could not be more grateful for the opportunities XTRA has given me. (To say the least it’s a lot more enjoyable than the valet and waiting tables jobs I had for about 6 months). Josh Rosenberg was also a big advocate for getting me on air. I’ll never forget that.
Tpowell: Who influenced you on your road to being in Talk Show Sports? If you don’t mind, could you share the influence your dad had on you?
Judson: All of the big names in sports talk I think have a hand in it. When I went back to school for broadcasting in 2007 I became a student of the game if you will. Interview styles, comedic styles, takes and opinions, contrarians, homers, I built opinions on what I thought made great radio and poor radio. I try to do the good radio. The duo of Matt Vasgersian and Mark Grant may be my greatest influence for choosing this profession. Neither of us have enough time for me to tell you the influence my father played, Thomas. My dad believed in chasing dreams, and stopping at nothing. Not a bad mantra right?
Tpowell: You and Mike Costa have a 4 hour show from 3-7PM. But the first hour is always Chargers Power Hour then leads into The Drive. Our readership is your targeted listening audience. Can you share a little about the Charger Power hour? What does it consist of?
Judson: It consists of Chargers talk, chargers talk, and chargers talk, sprinkled with some NFL coverage. It starts at 3pm, and its five days a week, 365 days a year. We want people to know we cover their favorite team year round. We also love talking Chargers football.
Tpowell: I believe you did some TV work in the past. Fox Sports San Diego has The Drive on for 30 minutes and replay of best moments in the evening. What obstacles or rewards are there from going from only radio to a TV audience? Any plans to make it a solid hour on FSSD?
Judson: The obstacle is for Costa and I to be interesting. The rewards are enormous. Great promotion for XTRA, we get to bring viewiers in our studio, they see what we look like, and they get to see facial expressions, real back and forth interaction. It’s very cool. FSSD is a first class operation and we are so happy to be associated with them. Although we often forget there are cameras in studio and have to be reminded not to pick our noses. True story.
Tpowell: You and Costa interview quite a bit of players and reporters on your show. Which ones stand out to you?
Judson: There are only a few times you feel like athletes really engage you in conversation. I’m sure it’s no surprise that Rivers is the best. His passion about football is contagious, and it comes across on the airwaves. It was a pleasure to interview Tony Gwynn. I read his hitting book so many times as a kid I was a little star struck when we got him on the phone. I made him laugh, I kind of geeked out on that. We’ve also had Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) form the office on the show twice. I love the office!
Tpowell: Your show consist of interactions on Social Media. What are your takes on Social Media and how it’s involved in sports today?
Judson: Social media is great for the show. Obviously that can back fire if you act a fool. But I really enjoy the interaction with listeners. Even when people disagree they are mostly respectful and I’m all for spirited debates. At the root of it that’s what sports talk is.
Tpowell: I think some fans aren’t aware of the Chargers Post Game Show. Some are out of San Diego or just watch the games on TV then search for information afterwards. Please take a minute to advertise for Brian Wilson. What happens on the Post Game Show? How do fans find the station if out of SD or it’s signal?
Judson: Chargers post game show can always be found on ROCK 105.3, and a majority of the time also on XTRA Sports 1360 (Sometimes XTRA is airing NFL games on Sundays). Mike Goff and I break down the game, have giveaways, and take a ton of phone calls. It’s a two hour show built upon what we just watched unfold. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We cover it all.
Tpowell: What are some of your thoughts on the new regime of the Chargers? What are some of the differences you see from the former regime to this one?
Judson: It’s a rejuvenated team. It’s a rejuvenated front office. It’s a rejuvenated coaching staff. I believe years from now the Tom Telesco hiring will be recognized as one of the greatest decisions the Chargers franchise ever made.
Tpowell: Lastly, this is a get to know Judson Richards article. What are some of the things you enjoy doing off the air? Tell the readers a little about what you enjoy?
Judson: I’m a mystery Thomas. And I’d like to keep it that way.
Our thanks go out to Judson for a great interview. Be sure to check him out on Xtra SPorts 1360AM, iHeart Radio and give him a follow on Twitter @Judson1360.
Let me begin this post by making it clear that although I would like to add either one of these guys, it will most likely not happen. The chances are very slim for multiple reasons.
But hey, it’s free agency time and, as fans, we’re allowed to do as much hoping as we’d like. So I’ll leave the question for you. Who would you prefer, if you were given the chance under the right circumstances, to sign Steve Smith or Hakeem Nicks? Again, I would be happy with either. I think that I’d prefer Steve Smith. But, to be quite honest, I just want someone to force coverage away from Keenan Allen.
You know the drill; place your vote and leave a comment at the bottom as to why you voted the way that you did.
As always, thanks a lot for reading and voting. Be sure to leave a comment below stating who you voted for and why.
Done deal: Chargers have reached three-year contract with Kavell Conner. Ex-Colt adds depth at inside linebacker.
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) March 13, 2014
We were all aware that Kavell Conner was visiting San Diego. It would now appear that he is here to stay. Per a tweet by Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego, Conner has agreed to a three-year contract.
Conner has ties to Telesco seeing as he was drafted while Tom was in the Indianapolis front office. He should provide solid depth at the inside linebacker and contribute on special teams. The Chargers decided not to tender Bront Bird and he is a free agent.
Conner will be the fourth former-Colt, joining Dwight Freeney, Lawrence Guy and Donald Brown, that Tom has signed to play for San Diego and is currently on the roster. The Bolts have quietly done exactly as expected in free agency; sign their own and pursue and sign solid depth.
Many fans out there have not liked the fact that the Chargers have yet to sign any big name players. They have also become upset that the team has yet to sign either a nose tackle or a cornerback. If I could give any advice to those of you that are down on the moves so far it would be this: be patient and have faith in Telesco. He obviously has a plan and I am looking forward to seeing it play out.
In the first round of last year’s draft, the San Diego Chargers selected DJ Fluker, offensive tackle from Alabama. We all know how it played out from there. From becoming a team leader in OTAs, showing maturity beyond his years, improving to a level of play that should have had him in the conversation as Rookie of the year and, basically, choke-slamming Sio Moore, Fluker showed that the Chargers and Tom Telesco knew exactly what they were doing.
Today just so happens to be DJ’s 23rd birthday. Yup, that’s right, he’s only 23-years-old. Meaning, we can all look forward to watching Fluker play for years to come. I know that I can speak on behalf of the entire #BoltFam when I say that we are all incredibly pleased with that.
On behalf of the entire staff at BoltBlitz.com, I’d like to wish you a happy birthday. Thank you for all that you’ve done thus far, both on and off the field, and we all hope you have a great day. Stay cool and keep grindin’!
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a fan and reading this post, be sure to leave a comment below wishing DJ a happy birthday. We did this with Corey Liuget and he really appreciated it.