Justin Blackmon

Daryl

Chargers fans and NFL fans in general have their eyes focused on March 10, the day when free agency begins. For once, the Chargers have an abundance of spending cash and gaping holes that need to be filled on offense and defense. We’ve become used to and applauded GM Tom Telesco for doing a lot with very little financially. Its is going to be very interesting to see what he does with a pocket full of Benjamins instead of a pocket full of pennies.

Still, with all the needs to be addressed, the need to save money while still getting great value will always be a priority. In this column i’m going to give you three intriguing options that may very well achieve those goals. One has been discussed increasingly as days go by and two have been off the radar this past season. All three have one thing in common, troubled pasts.

  1. Justin Blackmon WR, Jacksonville.

If you saw my mock draft last year, you noticed I had the Chargers trading a 4th round draft pick for Blackmons’ rights. For those of you who’ve forgotten, Blackmon is a 6’1, 210 pound freak of nature out of Oklahoma State. A back-to-back winner in 2010 and 2011 of the Biletnikoff Award heralding college football’s best wideout, Blackmon was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Blackmon ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 at the 2012 combine and his speed is only enhanced by exceptional leaping ability and physical, aggressive nature when going up for the ball. All those things made Blackmon a bigger target than he is stature-wise.

In his rookie season, he burst on the scene catching 64 balls for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Blackmon’s downfall has come off the field in the form of substance abuse. His second season was marred by suspensions from arrests for DUI and driving under the influence of marijuana. Blackmon only played four games in the 2013 season and has not played a game since.

Jacksonville is hoping to know Blackmon’s status before the draft. He has to apply for reinstatement after his year-long suspension in the 2014-15 season and it looks like he has worn out his welcome. A change of scenery in a locker room filled with veteran leaders could be just what the doctor ordered. Blackmon turned 25 at the beginning of January. A season away has hopefully rekindled his desire to play and given him time to get his personal life in order.

Focused and reinvigorated, he would step in as a legitimate number one or two wide receiver. An incentive-laden two-year contract would  give the Chargers a low-risk, high reward potential player at a thinning position. A mid to late round draft pick would still be sufficient to get him out of the Sunshine State.

  1. Daryl Washington, ILB Arizona.

Living in Phoenix, I have seen a lot of Washington and listened to his coaches and teammates sing his praises since he was drafted in 2010. Like Blackmon, the 28-year old Washington seems to have run out of lives in Arizona.

Let’s count the offenses…

Washington was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, his second such offense. The first caused a four game suspension in 2013. In addition, he violated the league’s personal conduct policy stemming from an aggravated assault conviction of his ex-girlfriend. After pleading guilty, he received one year supervised probation.

On the field, Washington was an exceptional and a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball. He was one of the team captains, tasked with making sure the rest of the defense was in the right place and calling plays on defense. Despite missing four games in 2013 he was still third on the team with 81 tackles (59 solo), 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after amassing 134 tackles (107 solo), 9 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles and one interception.

Another big indicator he’s played his last game in a Cardinals uniform, during the 2013 offseason Cardinals GM Steve Keim said: “It’s completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position.” A player like Washington who is on the right side of 30, loaded with potential and spared a year of wear and tear on his body will come with a higher price tag but to get that kind of production from an inside linebacker helps everywhere else on defense. In four seasons he only missed one game aside from the games he missed due to suspension and durability is definitely a trait that has been seriously lacking in San Diego.

  1. Adrian Peterson RB, Minnesota.

This has been a name that has been popping up recently in connection with the Chargers. We all watched as the child abuse scandal unfolded before us last season. Peterson missed all but the first game of the season and after being removed from the Commissioners’ exempt list was suspended the final six games of the season without pay. He was bought to trial for disciplining his 4-year old son with a switch, leaving behind lashes that were used for evidence.

There hasn’t exactly been a groundswell of support for Peterson among the front office in Minnesota. The team seems to be looking to rebuild without him, leaning on the talents of 2014 first round draft pick, QB Teddy Bridgewater. After compiling a respectable 7-9 2014 campaign without AP, Minnesota seems to be headed in the right direction.

As the league’s highest paid running back, Peterson is scheduled to make 12.75 million this season and is still under contract for the next three years. He will also count 15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap which is another reason they look to be ready to cut ties with their star player.

After entering a no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless assault, Peterson received two years probation, 4000 in fines and 80 hours community service. He will be able to apply for reinstatement on April 15.

By adding Peterson, the Chargers would instantly become a Super Bowl favorite in the AFC. His signing would be akin to Peyton Manning coming to Denver. With a franchise quarterback leading what was the 10th ranked passing attack in the league last season already in place, a dominant feature back would put the Chargers over the top.

The last of the dominant every down running backs, Peterson is the anti-Mathews. In seven full seasons he only missed 8 games, half of those came from missing the final four games of the season after tearing his ACL in 2011. He then returned and ran for an astonishing 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to winning the NFL MVP award in 2012. A punishing runner, he has the ability to catch out of the backfield, elude and break tackles and possesses phenomenal breakaway speed.

Peterson will be 30 by the time the season starts but he has essentially had a full season off to heal his body. We’ve seen what he can do coming back from a devastating injury in record time, what will he be able to do returning completely fresh and determined to reestablish himself as the top back in the league? Defenses will have to jam the box with an extra defender (which still has minimal effect against AP) to contain him and that will leave the Chargers receivers and tight ends in favorable one-on-one matchups. A three-year contract for Peterson will give Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Eric Weddle and the longtime Chargers their greatest shot at a deserved Super Bowl championship since the Tomlinson era.

Chemistry is very important in a locker room. The question now is will Telesco give these three players serious consideration if and when they become available? We know the GM is big on high character, team-oriented players and he leans toward younger, high potential, multi-dimensional players. Was that because that’s truly his philosophy or because of the pennies in his pocket, that was the road he was forced to travel?

Keep in mind Telesco did offer a contract last offseason to veteran wide receiver Steve Smith (who’s had his fair share of on and off the field incidents) last year and would have got him if Baltimore didn’t have the team that exiled him, Carolina, on their schedule. The revenge factor was too great for Smith to pass up and he went on to a great season in Baltimore.

These players have endangered themselves and people around them through drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence and that should not be taken lightly. Their past transgressions should serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us. They have had a year or longer to get their lives back in order and (hopefully) come back to the game ready to perform and endear themselves to their new teammates, coaches and fan base. A change of scenery, a chance to play on a playoff-caliber team in a low media intensity city like San Diego and opportunity to start rebuilding their image will provide plenty of motivation and that will only benefit the Chargers. These players are game changers and that is what the bolts sorely need.

Morality is a slippery slope. These players have (or are soon to be) castoff from their teams because their behavior has become too big a distraction to keep them around. Who hasn’t made mistakes and been motivated to come through it better than you were before? We’re known as the land of opportunity. People come here from around the globe searching for a new start. In the end, we’re not considering these players to be the heads of our household, we’re considering these players to be standout components that will get us what we crave as Chargers fans: A Super Bowl championship.

My name is The Greg One, and I approve these players.

Bolt Up

#TelescoMagic

PetersonAdrian

 

Chargers fans and NFL fans in general have their eyes focused on March 10, the day when free agency begins. For once, the Chargers have an abundance of spending cash and gaping holes that need to be filled on offense and defense. We’ve become used to and applauded GM Tom Telesco for doing a lot with very little financially. It is going to be very interesting to see what he does with a pocket full of Benjamins instead of a pocket full of pennies.

Still, with all the needs to be addressed, the need to save money while still getting great value will always be a priority. In this column I’m going to give you three intriguing options that may achieve those very goals. One has been discussed increasingly as days go by and two have been off the radar this past season. All three have one thing in common, troubled pasts.

1. Justin Blackmon WR, Jacksonville.

If you saw my mock draft last year, you noticed I had the Chargers trading a 4th round draft pick for Blackmon’s rights. For those of you who’ve forgotten, Blackmon is a 6’1, 210 pound freak of nature out of Oklahoma State. A back-to-back winner in 2010 and 2011 of the Biletnikoff Award heralding college football’s best wideout, Blackmon was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Blackmon ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 at the 2012 combine and his speed is only enhanced by exceptional leaping ability and physical, aggressive nature when going up for the ball. All those things made Blackmon a bigger target than he is stature-wise.

In his rookie season, he burst on the scene catching 64 balls for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Blackmon’s downfall has come off the field in the form of substance abuse. His second season was marred by suspensions from arrests for DUI and driving under the influence of marijuana. Blackmon only played four games in the 2013 season and has not played a game since.

Jacksonville is hoping to know Blackmon’s status before the draft. He has to apply for reinstatement after his year-long suspension in the 2014-15 season and it looks like he has worn out his welcome. A change of scenery in a locker room filled with veteran leaders could be just what the doctor ordered. Blackmon turned 25 at the beginning of January. A season away has hopefully rekindled his desire to play and given him time to get his personal life in order.

Focused and reinvigorated, he would step in as a legitimate number one or two wide receiver. An incentive-laden two-year contract would  give the Chargers a low-risk, high reward potential player at a thinning position. A mid to late round draft pick would still be sufficient to get him out of the Sunshine State.

2. Daryl Washington, ILB Arizona.

Living in Phoenix, I have seen a lot of Washington and listened to his coaches and teammates sing his praises since he was drafted in 2010. Like Blackmon, the 28-year old Washington seems to have run out of lives in Arizona.

Let’s count the offenses…

Washington was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, his second such offense. The first caused a four game suspension in 2013. In addition, he violated the league’s personal conduct policy stemming from an aggravated assault conviction of his ex-girlfriend. After pleading guilty, he received one year supervised probation.

On the field, Washington was an exceptional and a disruptive force on the defensive side of the ball. He was one of the team captains, tasked with making sure the rest of the defense was in the right place and calling plays on defense. Despite missing four games in 2013 he was still third on the team with 81 tackles (59 solo), 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after amassing 134 tackles (107 solo), 9 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles and one interception.

Another big indicator he’s played his last game in a Cardinals uniform, during the 2013 offseason Cardinals GM Steve Keim said: “It’s completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position.” A player like Washington who is on the right side of 30, loaded with potential and spared a year of wear and tear on his body will come with a higher price tag but to get that kind of production from an inside linebacker helps everywhere else on defense. In four seasons he only missed one game aside from the games he missed due to suspension and durability is definitely a trait that has been seriously lacking in San Diego.

3. Adrian Peterson RB, Minnesota.

This has been a name that has been popping up recently in connection with the Chargers. We all watched as the child abuse scandal unfolded before us last season. Peterson missed all but the first game of the season and after being removed from the Commissioner’s exempt list was suspended the final six games of the season without pay. He was brought to trial for disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch, leaving behind lashes that were used for evidence.

There hasn’t exactly been a groundswell of support for Peterson among the front office in Minnesota. The team seems to be looking to rebuild without him, leaning on the talents of 2014 first round draft pick, QB Teddy Bridgewater. After compiling a respectable 7-9 2014 campaign without AP, Minnesota seems to be headed in the right direction.

As the league’s highest paid running back, Peterson is scheduled to make $12.75 million this season and is still under contract for the next three years. He will also count 15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap, which is another reason they look to be ready to cut ties with their star player.

After entering a no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless assault, Peterson received two years probation, $4,000.00 in fines and 80 hours community service. He will be able to apply for reinstatement on April 15.

By adding Peterson, the Chargers would instantly become a Super Bowl favorite in the AFC. His signing would be akin to Peyton Manning coming to Denver. With a franchise quarterback leading what was the 10th ranked passing attack in the league last season already in place, a dominant feature back would put the Chargers over the top.

The last of the dominant every down running backs, Peterson is the anti-Mathews. In seven full seasons he only missed 8 games, half of those came from missing the final four games of the season after tearing his ACL in 2011. He then returned and ran for an astonishing 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to winning the NFL MVP award in 2012. A punishing runner, he has the ability to catch out of the backfield, elude and break tackles and possesses phenomenal breakaway speed.

Peterson will be 30 by the time the season starts, but he has essentially had a full season off to heal his body. We’ve seen what he can do coming back from a devastating injury in record time, what will he be able to do returning completely fresh and determined to reestablish himself as the top back in the league? Defenses will have to jam the box with an extra defender (which still has minimal effect against AP) to contain him and that will leave the Chargers receivers and tight ends in favorable one-on-one matchups. A three-year contract for Peterson will give Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Eric Weddle and the longtime Chargers their greatest shot at a deserved Super Bowl championship.

Chemistry is very important in a locker room. The question now is will Telesco give these three players serious consideration if and when they become available? We know the GM is big on high character, team-oriented players and he leans toward younger, high potential, multi-dimensional players. Was that because that’s truly his philosophy or because of the pennies in his pocket, that was the road he was forced to travel?

Keep in mind Telesco did offer a contract last offseason to veteran wide receiver Steve Smith (who’s had his fair share of on and off the field incidents) last year and would have signed him if Baltimore didn’t have the team that exiled him, Carolina, on their schedule. The revenge factor was too great for Smith to pass up and he went on to have a great season in Baltimore.

These players have endangered themselves and people around them through drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. That should not be taken lightly. Their past transgressions should serve as a cautionary tale to the rest of us. They have had a year or longer to get their lives back in order and (hopefully) come back to the game ready to perform and endear themselves to their new teammates, coaches and fan base. A change of scenery, a chance to play on a playoff-caliber team in a low media intensity city like San Diego and an opportunity to start rebuilding their image will provide plenty of motivation and that will only benefit the Chargers. These players are game changers and that is what the Bolts sorely need.

Morality is a slippery slope. These players have (or are soon to be) cast-off from their teams because their behavior has become too big a distraction to keep them around. Who hasn’t made mistakes and been motivated to come through it better than you were before? We’re known as the land of opportunity. People come here from around the globe searching for a new start. In the end, we’re not considering these players to be the heads of our household, we’re considering these players to be standout components that will get us what we crave as Chargers fans: A Super Bowl championship.

My name is The Greg One, and I approve these players.

 

Bolt Up!!

 

#TelescoMagic

VanNoy

 

 

Everyone and their dog has a mock draft out these days. The Greg One is not one to be left out of the fun, so here it is, people. I’ll be adding one more to the ever growing list of seven-round educated (and not-so educated) guesses called a mock draft. I have been keeping an eye on prospects and listening to the talking heads on tv and radio for some perspective. Mind you, these are the same pundits who predicted the Chargers would finish at the bottom of the AFC West last season while your friend The Greg One correctly predicted the Chargers record within one game (my guess was 10-6) and the Chargers making the playoffs when none of the ‘experts’ would. Sometimes the best information comes from someone close, passionate about their team but also sees their team realistically. Suck on that ESPN!

Also keep in mind that in my 2013 Chargers mock draft I was one pick away from being dead on. I had the Chargers choosing Alabama guard Chance Warmack as the Chargers selection and he was chosen one pick before the Chargers selected, going to Tennessee with the 10th pick right before the Chargers picked at 11. The Chargers took Alabama right tackle DJ Fluker and had a great season. Still, I had the position (offensive line) and even the school (Alabama) correct, which is more than Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay did. Now that I’ve built my pundit resume to impossible, only a dead on pick will do kind of level,  here is my Chargers seven round mock draft!

Round One: Louis Nix III, DT Notre Dame.  The Chargers have a gaping hole at defensive tackle after the departure of Cam Thomas this offseason. The Chargers are left with Sean Lissemore and the injured Kwame Geathers as the only nose tackles on the roster. There is no one of note left on the free agent market which makes this the biggest priority to fill through the draft, slightly ahead of the secondary. CB’s Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard and Bradley Roby will be long gone as will safeties Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Calvin Pryor. Nix is the best pure nose tackle in the draft and will be reunited with teammate Manti Te’o, easing his transition to the team. Renewing the chemistry they had in college will be an added benefit on the field.

Round Two:  Kyle Van Noy DE/OLB BYU. The Chargers are keeping a close eye on Van Noy, who has had a visit with the team and has said he would love to play for the Chargers. Van Noy is a high motor, disruptive force blitzing from the edge. His specialty is rushing the passer but drops into coverage very well and is solid against the run. Van Noy will be a great addition from a depth standpoint and has outstanding veterans around him to learn from. Even with offenses designing plays to go away from him, Van Noy logged 68 tackles with 17.5 for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and seven batted balls.

Round Three:  Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama. Kouandjio stock is dropping after a sub-par showing at the combine including a failed physical. His surgically repaired knee has received a clean bill of health from the esteemed Dr. James Andrews. The Chargers will most likely trade up, sacrificing a late round pick (6 or 7) to get high enough in the order to make the selection, but taking advantage of another first round grade talent will be too impossible to ignore. The Chargers again reunite teammates as Kouandjio becomes the bookend on the left side to D.J. Fluker on the right side of the offensive line.

Round Four: The Chargers trade their pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for the rights to wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The troubled wide receiver was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft after two seasons as an All-American receiver for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Blackmon is currently suspended following his second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and was recently cited for a one-car incident when he ran his SUV into a guard rail  and landed in a ditch last month. Fortunately, there was no alcohol involved which would’ve lengthened his suspension. Blackmon can apply to be reinstated before the start of the 2014 season but chances are the Jaguars may be looking to rid the locker room of his presence.

A change of scenery and a fresh start with a new, contending team can be the perfect scenario for the 24-year old Blackmon. A bona fide deep threat, he will provide the perfect complement to Keenan Allen. Blackmon was only making 1.2 million so a new contract will be easy for GM Tom Telesco to negotiate.  If the opportunity is there, Telesco should make the deal.

Round Five: De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon. Telesco wants to improve team speed and you won’t find many in this draft faster than De’Anthony Thomas. At Oregon’s pro day Thomas posted a 4.34 and 4.35 40 yard dash times. Thomas is electric in the return game as he had four return touchdowns for Oregon in his three-year career. Thomas was a standout member of Oregon’s track and field team anchoring the 4×100 relay for the team that made it to the 2012 NCAA Championships.  Thomas is a great 10-15 carries per game running back but does not have the body to be an every down back. He can be a specialty back in the vein of Darren Sproles or Danny Woodhead as he is a great receiver out of the backfield and operates best in space.  Speaking of whom, Woodhead is on the second year of his two-year contract with the Chargers. Thomas would be a great insurance policy/heir apparent if Woodhead gets injured or leaves in free agency next season.

Round Six: Terrance Mitchell, DB Oregon.  Mitchell’s stock dropped at the draft combine when he ran  a 4.69 40-yard dash time. Mitchell is a little undersized at 5’11 but makes up for it with impressive ball skills and instincts. Mitchell stared 38 games for the Ducks and played in high-profile games against the best receivers the Pac-12 had to offer. Mitchell had five interceptions last season as a season-long starter. Mitchell’s excels in press coverage and knows how to use his hands and body in coverage. Mitchell is a playmaker who will also be a valuable contributor on special teams.

Round Seven: Michael Sam, DE Missouri. Sam was the story of the day for about a week when he came out, making him the first openly gay player to take the field in the NFL. However, the story didn’t do anything to his draft stock and he has been forgotten amidst all the draft hoopla. Sam would be a fantastic bargain here as the Chargers are woefully thin all across the defensive line. Like Te’o the year before him, San Diego will provide shelter from the harsh media scrutiny of other NFL cities and allow Sam to thrive.

The Chargers most likely won’t have a seventh round pick. I expect the seventh round pick to be used in a trade up scenario or in the Blackmon trade. Similarly, a team like the Ravens or Steelers will take Sam in an earlier round. However, he will be a late day three pick if he gets chosen at all. If he’s there the Chargers will take him but if he’s gone and the pick is not traded the Chargers will more than likely stash a quarterback like they did last season with Brad Sorensen.

I only took one defensive back because the Chargers will also gain the services of defensive back Stevie Williams, who was chosen with a fifth round pick in last season’s draft. Williams missed all season with a torn pectoral muscle.

The (mostly) unintentional coupling of past teammates will only serve to improve team chemistry and provide a mentor-like relationship in the cases of Fluker and Kouandjio; Te’o and Nix. The team adds valued speed with Blackmon and Thomas and the defense gets much-needed depth with a handful of blue chip prospects.

 

What do you think Boltfam?

 

Bolt Up!!

 

#TelescoMagic

 

 

The Greg One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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