The fans of the blue and gold should be feeling pretty good about this year’s draft. Depending on your point of view, either Christmas came early or it came late. Glass half-full or half-empty? Mine is half-full.
The Chargers’ GM, Tom Telesco, addressed two of my biggest concerns for the upcoming football calendar. Those were center and fullback. Yes, I’m aware that there was a hole left in the secondary with the departure of Eric Weddle. However, the two most glaring chasms on the offensive side of the ball were the aforementioned spots.
We expected to see an electrified offense after Telesco moved up two spots in the 2015 draft to take running back Melvin Gordon (first round, 15th overall via trade with the 49ers).
To say that the Bolts’ offense was in tatters for the second year in a row is a fair assessment. They may not have had five centers in-and-out like 2014, but it they were still unable to provide much assistance to either help keep Philip Rivers from being pounded, or create seams for any of the Chargers’ ball carriers.
Whether you like all or a few of the choices the team’s general manager made last week, I hope that seeing Derek Watt lining up in front of Gordon in the Bolts’ backfield is one of them. The two played together at the University of Wisconsin, and both are excited to get that chemistry going once more.
Watt is 6’2″ and comes in at 236 pounds. He had 24 starts in 47 games for the Badgers, compiling 309 yards on 30 receptions and a lone touchdown. He was the 2012 Rookie of the Year for UW, as well as being named to the Academic All-Big 10 every year from 2012 thru 2015. On the down side, he missed five games in 2014 due to a foot fracture. In 13 games last season, he had 15 receptions for 139 yards to go along with 45 yards on nine rushes. It was his second best statistical year going back to his freshman days.
Whatever schemes offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt can put together for his newest two backs, I cannot help but look towards the future with excitement. There has not been a fullback on the roster since 2013 when Le’Ron McClain last played. Prior to McClain, San Diego had the likes of Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester (2008-2011), who blocked for Darren Sproles from 2005-2010. Let’s not forget that Lorenzo Neal (one of my favorites), who is considered to be one of the best blocking fullbacks in NFL history, spent five seasons here in front of good ol’ No. 21 himself, LaDainian Tomlinson!
Should Watt and Gordon be able to get into that groove they had going on at the University of Wisconsin, I think we will see a tremendous leap from ranking 31st in 2015 with a league average 84.9 rushing yards per game.
All in all, it is my fervent wish that the San Diego Chargers get their running game back on track with the one-two punch of Watt blocking for his former college teammate, Gordon.
Thank you, Tom Telesco, for that selection. You recognized that need for the offense to excel this year.
The situation with the stadium/convention center proposal being what it is right now, there is an onus on the team to not only come out strong, but to also stay strong as the season progresses.
Looking forward to minicamp followed by preseason!
Thanks for reading!!
In honor of the upcoming NFL draft, today will be, almost, 100% committed to draft articles.
As promised, there will be a contest giveaway later this evening too. I would suggest you read the article on how to get a head start on the rest of the competition. It’s as simple as following the staff here at BoltBlitz.com, hitting the subscribe and the Facebook like buttons on the homepage, and being prepared for some Charger and random movie trivia.
But we should move on.
Let me make something clear, so there is no confusion. I am aware that it is 2013. But, the successful teams in the NFL are able to draft players that stick around for longer than five seasons. That is not to say that they keep the entire draft class for five years. But when you look at San Diego’s draft class of 2008, not a single player still remains on the roster. Even worse is the fact that only two of them are still in the NFL.
I have another article that covers the fact that only Eric Weddle is still a Charger from the classes that were selected between the years of 2007 and 2009. This piece will focus solely on the 2008 group.
Here is the how the draft stacked up in 2008 for the Bolts.
1st round: Antoine Cason CB Arizona
3rd round: Jacob Hester RB/FB/ST
5th round: Marcus Thomas RB UTEP
6th round: DeJaun Tribble DB Boston College
7th round: Corey Clark OT Texas A&M
Cason, a former Thorpe award winner in college, has returned to the state where he went to school. The Chargers did not desire to bring him back and the free agent signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Although Cason was not nearly as bad as most of the fans portrayed him to be, he had more than his share of poor plays in San Diego. The fact that he was a first rounder makes his exit that much more of a sore spot.
Having no selection in the second round, the Chargers picked Jacob Hester in the third. The team had no second round choice due to the move up to acquire Eric Weddle in the previous year’s draft. That one worked out just fine, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, in hindsight, the Chargers moving up to select Hester did not pan out as hoped. He flashed a couple positive moments, particularly on special teams, but became one of the more frustrating draft selections for the team in recent memory. I am not, by any means, saying he is Buster Davis. But he was definitely not a success in lightning bolts.
Thomas and Tribble barely saw any action in the NFL whatsoever. Clark stuck around on the Charger bench for a few seasons and was brought in during a couple of team’s training camps as a camp body.
The 2008 class is done. As already mentioned, Cason is in Arizona, while Hester relocated to within the division in Denver. Needless to say, A.J. Smith really blew it in 2008.
Later today, I’ll have some more draft articles about other selections, and classes, that can almost be considered a collective group of busts.
Thanks a lot for reading.