Monthly Archives: April 2016
According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the Chargers have worked out/visited with former USC quarterback Cody Kessler.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 18, 2016
As you can see from the tweet, Kessler has reportedly worked out with the Saints, Browns and Lions, too.
Possessing a strong arm and decent accuracy deep, the former Trojan could merit some consideration as a developmental signal caller after the first two days of the draft.
When looking at Kessler as a player with the potential to come in and help immediately, you’d have a better chance of working with and cultivating Uncle Rico into an NFL-ready passer.
Clearly, that is a bit harsh, but that is my personal take on Kessler’s ability, or lack thereof, to contribute at the next level.
After talking with avid USC fan and senior writer of this site Brian Krich, he seems to agree with me; minus the horrendously malicious take on his ability to contribute. Krich believes that Kessler has a strong arm, but he does nothing spectacularly.
Sounds about right to me.
Former Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed is scheduled to visit with the Chargers on Tuesday, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle.
Reed is projected by many draft pundits to be selected in the latter portions of the first round of this year’s draft.
At 6-foot-3, 307 pounds, Reed has the size and skillset to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.
Here’s what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote about Reed:
Able to pack plenty of strength into his well-built frame. Plays with bend, leverage and plus core power. Two-gap machine who can eat blocks and come back for more. Rarely beaten at point of attack by single blocks. As an edge setter, grows roots and prevents running lanes from developing in gaps. Has catchers mitts for hands. Arms are a little short for the position but his hand quickness into blockers frame and instant arm extension make his arm length irrelevant. Engages, controls and slides down the line looking to finish the run before it gets started. Great vision and instincts to find ball quickly. Reads running backs lane choice and discards blocker with excellent timing. Run down specialist posting tremendous two-year production with 108 tackles despite playing in only 55 percent of the total snaps. Charted with no broken tackles or missed tackles for the entire season. Overcome adversity along road to success at Alabama.
Ineffective pass rusher. Was subbed out for on obvious passing downs. Straight-line pass rusher unable to turn a corner and generate heat inside the pocket. Had just two sacks and sixteen quarterback pressures during his two years with Alabama. Bullrush is missing. Average foot quickness and lacking upfield explosion out of stance to play in a one-gap scheme. His hand work is very average as a pass rusher.
Reed is an elite run defender with the lower body strength to command his gap, but the instincts and timing to be productive as a tackler rather than just a space eater. Reeds lack of pass rushing ability creates a potential glass ceiling on his draft stock; however, teams looking for a battle-tested run stuffer will find an instant upgrade who should be able to come in and start immediately if needed.
Additionally, here’s what Dane Brugler and Rob Rang of CBSSports.com had to say about Reed:
STRENGTHS: Reed was the anchor of Alabama’s defensive front with the power and coordination at the contact point to absorb blockers and leverage the point of attack. Changes directions surprisingly well for a big man, accelerates smoothly and hustles to the ball.He displays terrific sense perception to feel moving bodies around him, muddying the middle of the line and forcing offenses to run outside the hashes. As a tackler, he looks to punish the ballcarrier, driving his hips and finishing through the whistle.At the Senior Bowl, consistently stood up would-be blockers at the line of scrimmage, bottling up the running game.
WEAKNESSES: Good effort in pursuit but will tire quickly. Limited pass rush skills and doesn’t show the functional moves to beat blockers and infiltrate the pocket. Not a three-down player in every scheme. Will stand up at times off the snap, negating his ability to two-gap. Average overall range and pursuit speed with minimal impact outside the hashes.
IN OUR VIEW: Country strong with tree trunks for thighs and long arms, Reed is a classic two-gap run-stuffer stout enough to play inside at defensive tackle or outside at end. At 6-3, 311 pounds, Reed has the girth and strength to line up virtually anywhere along the defensive line, making him a fit for 3-4 and 4-3 teams, alike.
COMPARES TO: Dan Williams, DT, Oakland Raiders – Reed and Williams are well-built, nimble nose tackles who are capable of shutting down the run, appealing to various NFL schemes.
The San Diego Chargers find themselves poised to take the most talented player in the draft from where they sit in the number three slot. The top two slots, held by the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns respectively, will be used on quarterbacks. While Carson Wentz and Jared Goff both grade out to be the top two quarterback prospects in the draft, neither are viewed as a plug-and-play franchise quarterbacks but from where they will be selected in the draft that will be the expectation.
While the jury will be out on the top two picks for the next four years, it put the Chargers in control of their own destiny. The top choice on their big board will be available when their number is called. The right pick can result in a stalwart player who is a day one starter, perennial All-Pro and Hall Of Fame worthy. The wrong pick can set your team back years.
Should the Chargers consider trading down?
It depends on how far down and what the Bolts receive in return. The short answer is no. There is an embarrassment of riches at the top of the draft then it devolves into a guessing game with each passing selection.
Which player is the Chargers golden ticket?
There are only three names that need to be considered with the number three selection. That’s it, three. Any other selection is an out-an-out fail. Those three players are (in my order of preference):
1. Jalen Ramsey CB/FS Florida State:
Standing at 6″1′ and 209 pounds, Ramsey ran an impressive 4.41 in the forty-yard dash and recorded the best vertical (41.5 inches) and broad jump (135-inches) at his position at the NFL Combine last month. The first freshman to start at cornerback at Florida State since Deion Sanders, Ramsey is an exceptional athlete. In 2015 he won the ACC indoor and outdoor long jump titles.
Ramsey split time between cornerback and free safety in his three seasons at FSU. Over his career he compiled 181 tackles, 22 passes defensed, 15.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
Adding Ramsey to the Chargers secondary fills the void left by the departure of Eric Weddle. The Bolts added Dwight Lowery through free agency to fill that position so using Ramsey as a press corner makes a lot more sense. With Jason Verrett and Ramsey covering the top two receivers, Flowers and free agent addition Casey Heyward can come in as slot and nickel corners. The Chargers would instantly have one of the top secondaries in the league.
2. Deforest Buckner, DL, Oregon
Standing an imposing 6″7′, 291 pounds, with 34 3/8-inch arms and the largest hands of anyone at the draft (11 3/4-inch), Buckner is the definition of a freak athlete. He was able to parlay his brute strength and raw athleticism into a successful four-year career at Oregon. As an interior defensive lineman he was able to consistently push the pocket, often able to beat double teams. When he lined up as a defensive end he showed a great nose for the ball as he racked up sacks, pressures and tackles for loss.
At the NFL Combine, Buckner registered a 116-inch broad jump, 32-inch vertical jump and ran the 40 in 5.05 seconds. Those are remarkable numbers when you consider his position and his size. Placing Buckner on the interior defensive line in San Diego alongside Corey Liuget and free agent addition Brandon Mebane would be a huge upgrade and solidify a defensive line that finished 18th against the pass and 6th against the run. Pass rushing has long been a weakness for the Chargers. Adding Buckner to the existing unit greatly improves the pass rush which allows the secondary more time to make plays.
Coming out of Oregon, you know Buckner has a high motor and it shows in his game tape. Over his career he logged 232 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, 10 passes defensed and 2 forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. Last season, Buckner had 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss on the way to being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
3. Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss
Laremy Tunsil tips the scales at 6’5″, 310 pounds, 34 1/4-inch arms and 10″ hands. Largely considered to be the best tackle prospect in years, Tunsil has not seen his stock drop despite a tumultuous senior season. Tunsil missed time after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle in the 2014 Peach Bowl and ran into off-the-field trouble which caused the NCAA to suspend him for the first seven games of the season.
At the combine, Tunsil did not run or jump and stuck to doing positional drills. There, he wowed those in attendance with his size, fluidity and excellent footwork. At the Ole Miss Pro Day he improved his stock as he did 34 reps of 225-pounds, vertical jumped 28 1/2-inches and broad jumped 9’3″.
This isn’t a fast-forward effect.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 28, 2016
Tunsil is undoubtedly a franchise left tackle but it may raise more questions than it answers for San Diego. King Dunlap took less money to stay at left tackle, which includes playing time incentives due to his recent injury history. Joe Barksdale was re-signed to a four-year deal to stay at right tackle. They make too much money to come off the bench and fans will not be happy to see the Chargers number one selection sitting and waiting for his name to be called.
All three of these players have the potential to be Pro Bowl regulars and Hall Of Fame nominees if they can stay healthy. These are the three best at their position and arguably the three most gifted athletes on the board, period. These are the only three players the Chargers war room needs to be discussing and if any of these three are not the pick, personally, the draft itself was a failure.
What do you think Bolt Nation? Agree or disagree? What name would you add to this list? Remember, we’re talking about someone worthy of the third overall selection in the draft! Post your thoughts below.
The Greg One
On Thursday, a blockbuster trade was announced between the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans. In the deal, the Titans sent their first overall pick (1), and their fourth- and sixth-round picks to St. Louis. In return, the Rams sent Tennessee their first-round selection (15), two second-round picks and a third-round selection in the 2016 draft. In addition, the Rams include their first- and third-round picks in 2017.
Nevermind free agency, this is the best thing to happen to the San Diego Chargers this offseason. This mega-deal comes down to three main points:
1. The Rams are preparing to select their quarterback of the future. They need to continue the momentum from the euphoria of moving back to Los Angeles by adding star power. They need to stay in the news in a city like Los Angeles, which is not starving for sports selections. Every major league sport is now represented in Los Angeles with the return of the NFL. L.A. is about box office. The Rams may have a future star with Rookie of the Year running back Todd Gurley, but if there aren’t enough big names on the marquee, the fickle L.A. audience will forget you sooner rather than later. Adding the top quarterback in the draft will address their biggest need and be another name to add to the marquee.
2. The top two picks in the draft will be quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns select second in the draft and need a quarterback as badly or worse than the Rams do. North Dakota State signal caller Carson Wentz and California Bear Jared Goff are the consensus top-two quarterback prospects in this draft. They will be the first and second picks, the only question is the order in which they will be selected.
Is it possible the Browns could choose a player other than a quarterback with the second pick?
If the Browns are smart they will stay at two and pick their quarterback. If they were choosing anyone other than a quarterback then wise thing to do would be to trade out of the second spot for a nice boatload of picks like the Titans and add starter-quality players to their decrepit team. Then again, we are putting the Browns and smart in the same sentence. This is, after all, the team that burned the second of their two first-round picks on Johnny Manziel only two drafts ago.
3. San Diego will get the No. 1 player on their draft board. Despite what happens with the Cleveland pick, the odds of anything happening aside from Goff and Wentz going in the first two picks are slim and none. Thankfully, the Chargers do not need a quarterback, meaning they will have their choice of the entire draft field to choose from. With eight picks to use over seven rounds, they not only have the top of each round to select the best player available, they have the maneuverability to re-enter a round to accommodate a player who is falling or trade down for value.
The draft truly begins with the Chargers selection. The pressure is on GM Tom Telesco and his braintrust to not screw up this pick. After being left at the altar by the league in the race to L.A. sweepstakes, and not being able to come to an agreement with Rams owner Stan Krownke on co-habitation of the future L.A. mega-stadium, the Bolts should add Kroenke to their Christmas card list.
This trade assures order at the top of the draft. It assures the Chargers the pick of the litter of non-quarterback skill- position players. It’s assures the Bolts a King’s ransom for those other quarterback-hungry teams wishing to jump ahead of other quarterback-hungry teams sitting in the top half of the draft. (Think San Francisco, Philadelphia and possibly Dallas sitting at picks 7, 13 and 4, respectively).
The ball sits in the Bolts’ court. Who should they give it to? Leave your thoughts on whom they should select below.
The Greg One
On Wednesday, the San Diego Chargers had Ole Miss defensive end Robert Nkemdiche in for a visit. With the third overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the front office has had as many players as they can fit in at Chargers Park over the last couple weeks.
Six months ago, Nkemdiche was the odds-on favorite to be a top-10 selection in the draft. While his production on the field has mostly been excellent, off-the-field missteps and his own admission that he sometimes was “lazy” on the field have raised questions about his character and motivation. Now, some draftniks don’t have him getting selected until the second round.
Nkemdiche’s measurables jump off the page. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 294 pounds, with a near 34-inch wingspan and 10 3/4-inch hands. Leaving after his junior season at Ole Miss, Nkemdiche was a three-time All-American. As a freshman he played at defensive end and defensive tackle. In the following two seasons he spent most of his time at defensive tackle.
Over his 35-game tenure at Ole Miss, Nkemdiche compiled 98 tackles (49 solo), 19 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 5 passes defensed. Those numbers do not reflect his profound impact on his games. Offenses tailored their schemes to go around or away from Nkemdiche. Often he occupied two defenders allowing the Ole Miss defensive ends to take advantage of favorable matchups.
Known for his freakish strength and uncanny athleticism for a man of his size, he will be a great addition to the team that drafts him. If he does fall in the draft, would the Chargers pull the trigger at the top of the second round?
The Greg One
It might be a difficult thing to imagine. The reality of not seeing a blue or white jersey with the No. 85 stitched on the back, running out on to the field. That day is contractually expected to happen a couple of years from now, so let’s not get depressed about it yet.
Not one of the four tight ends who backed-up Antonio Gates in the 2015 campaign are with the team now. The most experienced of the players behind him now is 28-year-old Jeff Cumberland, formerly of the New York Jets. The question now is if general manager Tom Telesco can find a guy in the draft that Gates can groom to be his replacement. Or, maybe that person could end up mirroring the All-Pro tight end. After all, back in 2003, the only team that Gatesy had a tryout with was the Chargers. They signed the undrafted former Kent State Golden Flash player and the rest is history.
It’s possible that TT can find that nugget of gold in Ohio State’s Nick Vannett.
Weight: 260 pounds
40 Yard Dash: 4.85 seconds*
Vertical Jump: 30 1/2″*
Broad Jump: 9’3″*
Arm Size: 34 1/4″**
Hand Size: 10″**
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.20 seconds** (Top Performer)
Has the size, length and hand size that every scout looks for. Aggressive blocker who recognizes his assignments and makes accurate reads when identifying his man. Playing at Ohio State means lining up all over the formation and while there may not be much film to review, Vannett provides positional versatility to an offense. Has athleticism and ability to go up and make the tough catch in order to bail out his quarterback. Plucks the ball from the air and will use his body to shade defenders and keep them out of contention over the middle.
A forgotten man too often in the Buckeyes offense, Vannett’s lack of use is not a knock on his talent, just the scheme he played in. Though he has mitts for hands and a body like Gronkowski, Vannett has to learn to shake safeties and use his length to create separation from tight coverage.
His numbers may not be what is expected of a college prospect entering the pros (53 games/55 receptions for 585 yards/six touchdowns) but the talent is there. With Gates as a mentor to help him develop his craft while putting in reps on special teams, Vannett could be a prospect worth pulling the trigger on.
Thanks for reading!
The Chargers are hosting a Local Pro Day at Chargers Park on Thursday.
Among those participating is Nevada linebacker Ian Seau.
Does that name ring a bell?
Seau is the nephew of former Chargers great Junior Seau. He is joined by a long list of other draft hopefuls that reside in or near San Diego that will attend the event.
|NAME||POS.||SCHOOL||HOMETOWN (High School)|
|Dakota Gordon||FB||San Diego State||Clorvis, CA (Clovis HS)|
|Jemond Hazely||WR||San Diego State||Coronoa, CA (Santiago HS)|
|Troy Ware||WR||Boise State||Oceanside, CA (Vista HS)|
|Kevin Bowen||OT||East Central (OK)||San Diego, CA (Helix HS)|
|Darrell Greene||OG||San Diego State||Antioch, CA (Freedom HS)|
|Pono Keni||OT||University of San Diego||Honolulu, HI (St. Louis HS)|
|Pearce Slater||OT||San Diego State||Los Angeles, CA (William Howard Taft HS)|
|Miah Kose||ILB||Montana||Oceanside, CA (Vista HS)|
|Cory Littleton||OLB||Washington||Spring Valley, CA (Mount Miguel HS)|
|Ian Seau||OLB||Nevada||Oceanside, CA (La Costa Canyon HS)|
|Aaron Wallace||OLB||UCLA||Rancho Bernardo, CA (Rancho Bernardo HS)|
|Kweishi Brown||S||Arizona State||El Cajon, CA (Valhalla HS)|
|Donny Hageman||PK||San Diego State||La Verne, CA (Damien HS)|
|Jeff Overbaugh||LS||San Diego State||Anchorage, AL (Service HS)|
It is worth noting that six former San Diego State Aztecs have been invited to attend.
Whether or not any of these players will have a legitimate shot at earning a chance to contribute on the 2016 Chargers is yet to be seen.
The fact of the matter is, they really don’t have a chance in hell, to be honest. This is more of an exercise in trying not to overlook a potential sleeper from your team’s area.
I wish all of the participants the best of luck.
The Chargers announced on Wednesday that they have waived quarterback Brad Sorensen.
Sorensen, a former seventh-round selection in the 2013 draft, never threw a pass in a regular season game for the Bolts.
The team recently added former North Carolina Tar Heel Bryn Renner to the fold, making Sorensen expendable.
Though the team sits with Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens and Renner as their quarterbacks, it should not be a surprise should the team add a quarterback in the upcoming draft.
The organization should be looking to find the next passer to groom and, eventually, replace Rivers when his storied Chargers’ career comes to a close in a few years.
Sorensen was a fan darling during his preseason efforts as a Bolt.
Personally, I was never a fan of Sorensen, especially in comparison to the fans who believed that he was the heir apparent to Rivers.
Once Sorensen clears waivers, the free agent quarterback will be free to sign with any team his heart desires.
3: Round 1, Pick 3
Defensive end DEFOREST BUCKNER
6-foot-7, 291 pounds
Buckner is a mountain of a man, sporting hands as large as any other participant in Combine history. The former Oregon Duck made a living in opposing teams’ backfields, wreaking havoc play after play. The addition of Buckner would certainly please Corey Liuget, as he would finally have a dominant player opposite him on the line, freeing him up to make plays sans a double-team block each down.
Though Buckner does have a tendency to play “too tall” at times, his brute strength allows him to overcome that. The selection of Buckner makes perfect sense for the Bolts in Round 1, especially considering that defensive back Jalen Ramsey was already selected for the purpose of this mock.
35: Round 2, Pick 4
Safety KARL JOSEPH
5-foot-10, 205 pounds
Starting as a true freshman since coming to WVU, Joseph provides a hard-hitting presence in Mountaineer secondary. Despite being a bit undersized, Joseph does not shy away from contact.
Joseph needs to work on not overpursuing in the running game, but he does a solid job corralling ballcarriers. The 2014 All-Big 12 selection suffered an ACL tear in October of 2015, ending his season. His medical reports and the condition of his knee will ultimately determine where Joseph is taken in this year’s draft.
66: Round 3, Pick 3
Center NICK MARTIN
6-foot-4, 299 pounds
The younger brother of Dallas Cowboys’ offensive lineman Zack Martin, Nick displays solid footwork and strength for the position. Martin could come in and man the starting center position for the next 8-10 years, replacing the incumbent center, and former Notre Dame teammate, Chris Watt.
102: Round 4, Pick 4
Quarterback CARDALE JONES
6-foot-5, 253 pounds
I have gone on record multiple times stating how I am not a fan of this year’s quarterback draft class. It is my belief that if you are taking one of this year’s signal callers and expecting them to come in and start that you are in for a very long 2016 campaign.
There are, however, a couple of names that come to mind when thinking about drafting a guy who can sit on the bench and learn the quarterback position in the NFL from Philip Rivers. Cardale Jones rings a bell.
Jones is not going to be confused for an accurate passer; he struggles with even some of the most rudimentary of throws at times. That being said, he does have special arm talent. He can throw the ball deep downfield, showcasing his arm strength.
Jones would definitely be a work in progress. In San Diego, he wouldn’t be asked to do much more than hold a clipboard and study his ass off in the classroom his first few seasons in the league.
175: Round 5, Pick 36
Fullback Glenn Gronkowski
6-foot-2, 239 pounds
Just what San Diego needs in its life, a little Gronk! All joking aside, the Chargers, without a doubt, need a true fullback added to the mix in the running game. There isn’t anything too flashy about Gronkowski, but he is versatile in that he can play fullback, h-back, tight end and special teams.
Gronkowski does a solid job of getting to the second level in the running game, sealing off defenders while opening holes for his running backs.
As a runner, he runs a bit too high, but he won’t be asked to carry the ball that often in the NFL.
179: Round 6, Pick 4
Defensive tackle D.J. READER
6-foot-3, 327 pounds
The Chargers solidified the nose tackle position on the team by signing Brandon Mebane in free agency this offseason. However, Mebane, 31, is not a long-term answer for the Bolts.
Drafting a player like D.J. Reader would give the team another young member to come in and split reps with Mebane and third-year player Ryan Carrethers. When healthy, Carrethers has shown that he can come in and make plays, or eat up multiple blockers.
Reader would be a solid selection this late in the draft. He moves very well for a man his size, showing impressive athletic ability.
The major concern with Reader is that he left the Tigers due to unspecified personal reasons. He did return to the squad, earning an invite to the Senior Bowl. Reader had a strong performance in the National Championship game against Alabama.
198: Round 6, Pick 23
Wide receiver DEMARCUS ROBINSON
6-foot-1, 203 pounds
When looking at the wide receiving corps in America’s finest city, one may be under the impression that the group is set for 2016. I couldn’t disagree more, seeing as Stevie Johnson isn’t getting any younger and players like Dontrelle Inman and Javontee Herndon are not starting caliber players in the NFL. Additionally, as much as I like Tyrell Williams, he is still incredibly raw.
Drafting Robinson would give the Bolts another developmental player with a lot of upside. I would have preferred to snag a receiver earlier, but this is how the draft played out.
Robinson is highly athletic, possessing nifty feet in the open field after securing the catch. He does an above average job of highpointing receptions, and then making the most of his opportunities with elusiveness after the catch.
224: Round 7, Pick 3
Punter DREW KASER
6-foot-2, 212 pounds
Although you cold probably wait until the draft is over and attempt to sign him as an undrafted free agent, Kaser has the strongest leg of all of the punters in the draft class. He broke Shane Lechler’s Texas A & M record for net-yards-per-punt average with 46.3.
In his three seasons as A&M’s punter he never had a punt blocked. He needs to work on his placement/accuracy while also learning how to get more hang-time on his punts, as opposed to distance. He has a tendency to outkick his coverage.
Drafting Kaser would obviously mean the end of Mike Scifres’ tenure with the Chargers. Scifres has had a remarkable career with the Bolts, but his skills have diminished in recent years. Releasing Scifres would also save the team much-needed money against the salary cap.
Former Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is visiting with the Chargers on Monday, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 11, 2016
He is also scheduled to visit with the Titans on Tuesday.
Tunsil is regarded by many in the scouting world as the No. 1 prospect in the entire 2016 draft class.
Though the Chargers recently re-signed left tackle King Dunlap to a multi-year contract prior to the 2015 season, his inability to stay on the field for 16 games has caused a bit of fluctuation at the position.
Tunsil looks to be a future 10-year starter at the position, and if he remains on the board while the Chargers are on the clock with the No. 3 pick, he certainly should warrant some consideration with the selection.