Carl Bradford

The 2014 NFL Draft is only a couple of months away and the big names in free agency have been snapped up.  As a result, numerous teams around the league have seen their draft needs change.  Taking into consideration these changes, while understanding that many teams maintain a “best available player” approach to the draft, I humbly submit my first mock draft.  Let’s get to it!

ROUND ONE:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Jason Verrett (CB – TCU)

Verrett TCU

 

At 5’10” some general managers have expressed concerns in matching up with bigger NFL receivers.  There are also some concerns with an injured Labrum in his shoulder that required surgery this spring.  It is this second guessing that could very well allow Verrett to slide to us at pick 25.  However, the TCU Horned Frog posted impressive numbers at the combine running a 4.38 40 yard dash and posting a 39 inch vertical jump.  Jason is very smooth in his back pedal and closes on the ball in a flash.  He doesn’t back down against taller receivers and attacks the ball at the catch point with regularity.  He plays with a confidence and swagger that I like!  Simply put, he plays bigger than his size and is a flat-out playmaker.

 

ROUND TWO:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Anthony Johnson (DT – LSU)

Johnson LSU

6’2″ and 300 pounds of explosive disruption up the middle.  Anthony has good strength at the point of attack and the ability to shoot the gap on passing downs.  The disappointing play of DE Kendall Reyes last season opened the eyes of many to the importance of a dominant DT to free up Reyes to do his thing.  Johnson isn’t just a space-eater though, he is a playmaker.  A player requiring double-team consideration by offensive coordinators.  Many NFL Draft writers have labeled him a “high-ceiling” guy who is likely to develop into a dominant force down the road.  Sounds like our kind of guy to me…

 

ROUND THREE:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Carl Bradford (OLB – Arizona St.)

Bradford ASU

Bradford has some size concerns at 6’1″ and 250 pounds – which is why I project him slipping a bit in the draft, allowing us to snag him in the 3rd round.  He has displayed difficulty in providing run support, but is without question a ferocious pass rusher.  His presence on the roster would provide insurance behind an aging Dwight Freeney, who is returning from a season ending torn quadriceps muscle.  Additionally, he would provide instant improvement in our kick coverage teams.  If we invest a year or two in improving his strength against the run, Bradford has the makings of a pro bowl caliber linebacker in the future.

 

ROUND FOUR:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Joel Bitonio (OG – Nevada)

Bitonio NEV

Joel played left tackle in college, but he projects as a guard in the NFL.  He has good hands and packs a punch.  Bitonio consistently drives defenders back in the running game.  The upside for the young man is great.  Moving to guard will present some adjustment time for pass protection skills, but with patience and good coaching, Joel has starter potential by the 2015 season.

ROUND FIVE:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Martavis Bryant (WR – Clemson)

Bryant CLEMSON

Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 200 pounds, Martavis presents a big-time matchup problem for many cornerbacks in the league.  He reminds me of a young Malcom Floyd with better speed.  Like Floyd, Bryant excels as a red zone threat.  His ability to run the fade and out jump the defender is tremendous.  Many in the media have given Martavis the dreaded “Boom-or-Bust” label heading into this year’s draft, which accounts for him being available here in the 5th round.  I’m betting he’d blossom in Mike McCoy’s system.

 

ROUND SIX:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Brandon Coleman (WR – Rutgers)

Coleman RUT

Another gigantic target for Philip Rivers at 6’6″, Coleman is a project with equally gigantic upside.  He is a good downfield blocker that would help turn 7 yard carries into 20 yard gashes.  He is good at “posting up” smaller cornerbacks with his massive frame and then soaring high in the air to snag the ball.  For a receiver his size, Coleman is surprisingly adept at tracking deep throws as well.  Straightline speed is a bit of a concern.  He clocked a 4.56 in the 40 yard dash at the combine, but he is good out of the break with decent hands.  He is very raw and will need time to develop but I see this guy as a diamond in the rough…

 

ROUND SEVEN:  The San Diego Chargers select…

Russell Bodine (C – North Carolina)

Bodine UNC

 Selecting in the seventh round, the Bolts land a player who could develop into Nick Hardwick’s replacement at center.  Russell Bodine has been a very good run blocker at the collegiate level.  He is technically sound and very intelligent.  He was able to get to the 2nd level smoothly and consistently during his tenure as a Tarheel.  The question with Russell is whether or not he’ll be able to do the same thing against NFL defensive tackles.  He’ll need to bulk up and add some strength to be able to hold up as a pass protector.  His upside makes him intriguing.  With time and coaching, Bodine should develop into a starting caliber center.

 

…and there you have it.  My take on this year’s draft picks.  This is a topic that always generates plenty of debate, so feel free to comment below.  Thanks for reading and remember to come back to BoltBlitz.com for your daily Chargers fix!

Keep Believin’!

– Coach

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