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!!