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.