As you all may now know, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco got a three-year extension right before the start of the 2015 season. But did he deserve it? Here I breakdown his three draft classes, free agent classes and contract extensions. I will be grading by a very easy criteria: Performance (worth the draft pick, money, etc), Value (starter or depth) and if they’re still on the team. It will be broke down by a number scale of 0-10, 0 being very bad and 10 being very good. At the end of each section I will give a percentage and a letter grade to that category by adding up the number I give to the player and divide it by 10 (max number a player/move can get). 90-100% = A, 89-80% = B 79-70% = C, and anything below that is an F. Lets get to it:
His Draft Classes
***Note: these rankings are how they have played since joining the Chargers. 2015 draft class is too early to judge, I get that, but it’s on how they have played as a Charger.
2013: #11 OL DJ Fluker, #38 MLB Manti Te’o (traded up), #76 WR Keenan Allen, #145 CB Steve Williams, #179 OLB Tourek Williams, #221 QB Brad Sorenson
DJ Fluker: Started off as a Right Tackle and played fairly well in 2013 before injuries in 2014 set in and he was recently moved to Right Guard in the offseason. He didn’t play as well as hoped, but it was his first time ever being there so it wasn’t really unexpected. Grade: 6
Manti Te’o: Trading up in the draft for anyone who isn’t a playmaker is a very big loss no matter what you gave up to get said player. Manti has been battling injuries most his career and is still having troubles wrapping up and tackling NFL sized players. He isn’t terrible like Donald Butler and did play better next to Perryman. Grade: 5
Keenan Allen: This was the best draft pick Telesco has had and Keenan is quickly developing into one of the best receivers in the AFC. He was on a torrid pace this season leading the league in catches and yards and was well on his way to breaking records until he got hurt. Again. Ended the season on IR with a lacerated Kidney. Grade: 9
Steve Williams: Keenan’s roommate at Cal, he hasn’t really done much before this season and even ended his rookie year before it started. He’s looking more and more like depth than he is a solid part of the team and wouldn’t be missed in terms of production if cut. Grade: 3
Tourek Williams: Tourek hasn’t done anything either since his rookie season. He was injured the entire year this season and even ended up finishing the year on IR. Grade: 1
Brad Sorenson: Has never been listed as more than the third-string quarterback, he spent 2014 on another team and 2015 between free agency and practice squad. Grade: 0
2014: #25 CB Jason Verrett, #50 Jerry Attaochu (traded up), #89 OL Chris Watt, #165 DT Ryan Carrethers, #201 RB Marion Grice, #240 WR Tevin Reese
Jason Verrett: Verrett is quickly becoming a lockdown cornerback, if only he can stay healthy. He had 3 picks this season, one for 6, and was ranked the fifth best CB this season according to pro football focus. Grade: 8
Jerry Attaochu: Again, trading up in the draft for players who aren’t playmakers hurt your team no matter what you gave up. Attaochu is one of those guys. Chargers moved up to get him and he has been getting better, but isn’t a playmaker who can bring it from week to week yet. Grade: 5
Chris Watt: Watt was a reach when drafted and a guy the coaches are hoping to be the heir to Hardwick at the center position. It hasn’t worked and he hasn’t stayed healthy. In fact, he has been graded as one of the worst offensive linemen in football. Grade: 3
Ryan Carrethers: Carrethers shows promise but for some reason, the coaches don’t play him. Whether it’s work ethic or attitude, we don’t know. But for him being a second year, 5th round pick, it’s not really uncommon. Grade: 5
Marion Grice: Got beat out by undrafted free agent Brandon Oliver and then swooped up by Arizona. Grade: 0
Tevin Reese: Never had a chance at the NFL level because he was way too small. His speed was for real but his size and catching were not. Never made the roster. Grade: 0
2015: #15 RB Melvin Gordon (Traded up), #48 MLB Denzel Perryman, #83 CB Craig Mager, #153 OLB Kyle Emanuel, #192 DE Darius Philon
Melvin Gordon: For trading up in the draft, see Manti Te’o and Jerry Attaochu. Yes, ANOTHER trade up and this time for a running back. Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin was most everyone’s pick that were Charger fans. But he has shown tremendous flaws in his game and hasn’t been anywhere close to the guy the Chargers had hoped for. The line was a problem as well, no doubt about it. Grade: 2
Denzel Perryman: Perryman looks promising and has quickly become a fan favorite. By the end of the year, he took the starting job from Butler (and deservedly so) and shined. He is by far the best linebacker we have on this team and he only started in about 5 games. Grade: 7
Craig Mager: Mager couldn’t find the field in 2015. He was a very big reach in the third round to begin with, but I understand why he did it. He has a lot to work on to become valuable and it’s going to take a few years to see that most likely. Grade: 3
Kyle Emanuel: Emanuel started strong. First game of the year vs the Lions he had a sack and an interception and then eventually was nowhere to be seen. He has tackling issues and doesn’t seem to set the edge like an OLB needs to do. He does come from a small school and was a 5th round pick so it is warranted and excusable. Grade: 4
Darius Philon: A guy I really liked coming out of Arkansas, Philon has shown some promise but overall looks to be a very good rotational player. He was put on the IR-designated to return list during the season but was playing well before that. Grade: 3
Final result: 64/170 = 37%, F
His free agent signings (major ones only)
***Note: these are how the players have played since joining the Chargers
2013: RB Danny Woodhead, OT King Dunlap, CB Derek Cox, OG Chad Rinehart, TE John Phillips
Danny Woodhead: Probably Telesco’s best signing and a big reason why we made the playoffs in 2013. Woodhead brings that “security blanket” the team had been missing since Sproles signed with New Orleans. He was versatile up until the Bills game last season where he ended it with a broken fibula. Other than that, he’s been a rock. Grade: 9
King Dunlap: Another strong signing by Telesco. Dunlap wasn’t much in Philly but Chargers brought him in on a very team friendly deal and he excelled and actually earned a pay raise this last offseason. Another solid signing by Telesco that year. Grade: 8
Derek Cox: The biggest miss by Telesco in 2013. He was toast everytime he touched the field and eventually was benched and ended his time with the Chargers. Cut after his first season. Grade: 2
Chad Rinehart: He was average at the guard position in 2013 and awful there in 2014. He was a fill in for the future and expecting anything other than below average was a pipe dream. Grade: 4
John Phillips: Nothing flashy but he was the blocking Tight End that the team needed. Being mostly used as that, he has caught a few passes and even a touchdown. He was eventually cut by the team this season and brought back as well. Grade: 4
2014: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, MLB Kavell Connor, TE David Johnson. Quick note: Kellen Clemens was also signed, but as a backup QB it is unfair to grade so I left him off for those purposes
Donald Brown: Terrible signing by Telesco as he was brought in for RB depth and got $5 million a year. He went inactive for most of this season as well. Grade: 3
Brandon Flowers: As bad as the Brown signing was, is how good of a signing the Flowers one was. He really boosted this secondary and his lockdown play earned him his new contract in this past offseason, something I will get to in a bit. Grade: 8
Kavell Connor: Brought in for LB depth, Kavell had a big workload in 2014 as he filled in for oft injured Manti Te’o and played fairly well when called upon. Grade: 6
David Johnson: Brought in to be the FB, David Johnson is brutal. He constantly looks lost and doesn’t know where he’s going and doesn’t seem to find the field that often now as well. Grade: 3
2015: WR Jacoby Jones, OG Orlando Franklin, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Patrick Robinson, DB Jimmy Wilson
Jacoby Jones: He was brought in to give us a feared return game. He never lived up to that and in fact, wasn’t even half of what we expected. Cut halfway through the season. Grade: 0
Orlando Franklin: Big money linemen signing, Franklin has been a HUGE disappointment as he isn’t even close to the guy who Telesco thought he was signing. System fit, as they ran a zone scheme could be a huge factor of why, but overall he was as bad as Rinehart. Grade: 3
Stevie Johnson: Started out strong, pulling in touchdowns in each of his first two games played for San Diego, but then seemed to check out and then eventually got hurt. Grade: 6
Patrick Robinson: The sneakiest of signings, PRob may have been the best signing of Telesco’s tenure. He graded as a very solid corner this season by Pro Football Focus and was a bright spot in a secondary that had high expectations going into the season. Grade: 7
Jimmy Wilson: Jimmy Wilson was brought in to be a Marcus Gilchrist type safety. One that could play safety and cornerback but actually do it well. Well, he couldn’t and eventually got cut at the end of the season. Grade: 2
Final Result: 65/140 = 46%, F
His contract extensions/re-signings (major one’s only)
2013: K Nick Novak, RB Ronnie Brown
Nick Novak: There wasn’t many re-signings his first year, which wasn’t bad. But Novak was solid here as he was very reliable. Grade: 8
Ronnie Brown: Ronnie Brown was brought in as a veteran backup and one who was very reliable with the rock. He had one big touchdown vs the Benagls that sealed the deal in our first playoff win since 2008. So for that, he gets a little extra love from me in his grade. Grade: 7
2014: MLB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey, OG Chad Rinehart, CB Richard Marshall
Donald Butler: This couldn’t have gone any worse than it has. 2014 he was rated as one of the worst MLB’s in football and in 2015, rookie Denzel Perryman took his starting job and his time as a Charger may be over. Grade: 0
Darrell Stuckey: Solid as a special teamer, Stuckey was another sneaky good extension. He has made the pro bowl a few times as a special teamer but as a safety, he has been very limited in playing time. Grade: 6
Chad Rinehart: From an average 2013, to an awful 2014, Rinehart was below average for us. I understand the signing, but should have had a plan B. Grade: 3
Richard Marshall: Marshall had a knack at getting turnovers at the end of 2013, but most of that was due to him being in the right place at the right time. He was brought in for depth because he knew the system in 2014 but due to injuries, he played more than he should have. Grade: 3
2015: OT King Dunlap, CB Brandon Flowers
King Dunlap: Dunlap was a rock for us since 2013, but after his extension, he was very concussion prone again. Missed a chunk of the season and hasn’t lived up to his extension quite yet. Grade: 4
Brandon Flowers: Another player hit by injuries and possibly even coaching, Flowers under performed big time and was even rated as a bottom third corner this season. He really needs to have a bounceback season for his contract to not look so bad. Grade: 2
Final Result: 33/80 = 41%, F
Final overall result: 162/390 = 41%, F
Using my grading scale, Tom Telesco has gotten an ‘F’ grade as a general manager hitting on only 4 of every 10 personnel decisions. This doesn’t even include an undersized defense he has put together and coaches that are not good at what they do.
We all have differences of opinion on the different players aforementioned, but we can all agree that most his decisions have been sub-par.
Agree or disagree with my assessment? Did Telesco deserve this extension? I don’t think so, as my grading scale has proved. Let me know below!
With the 2015 NFL draft quickly approaching, Chargers fans are anxiously waiting to find out what General Manager (GM) Tom Telesco has up his sleeve. As usual, rumors are running rampant as fans, talking heads, writers, and so-called experts try to predict the future. Will Philip Rivers be traded? Will the Chargers look to bolster a weak defensive front, or will they look to add another play maker on offense? If the Chargers keep Rivers, will they draft an heir apparent? With all of these questions looming before the big day, Chargers fans have one thing in common. They have to place their trust in the hands of Tom Telesco.
Let us take a look at Telesco’s track record drafting players for the Bolts. The following is a list of all of the players that Telesco has drafted in the last two years, it they are a starter, and how each of them has done with the team. Take a look and decide for yourself if you think Telesco has an eye for talent.
Before you inspect Telesco’s acquisitions, remember that most people will tell you that it takes at least three years before you can truly assess the result of a draft. Some players are ready to start in their rookie season, others not until they have had a chance to learn. Still others just do not pan out. The word “bust” will not be used to describe any of the draft picks as the players who were drafted high have not had a long enough period of time to prove themselves. The players drafted in the later rounds were never expected to become stars in the first place so to label them a bust would be unfair to all involved.
Now, read the following list and let me know what you think of Telesco’ efforts so far.
Rd Player Position College
1 D.J. Fluker OL Alabama
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Played through injuries (started 31/32 games)
Notes: Fluker was an immediate impact player for the Chargers. His large body and nasty attitude was just what the battered offensive line needed. Fluker held down the starting right tackle position at a level rarely seen from a rookie. Fluker took what many would consider a step back in 2014. No one is sure whether his apparent regression was due to injury, or the rest of the league discovering that he struggles to cover the outside speed rush. There were even times last season when some of the stronger defenders in the league physically pushed Fluker around. That was not expected and leads one to believe that his injuries were greater than let on. Many have questioned if Fluker will be moved to right guard next season. At this point the Chargers say that they are happy with him at tackle. We will see what the draft brings.
2 Manti Te’o LB Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Missed much of rookie year (13 starts in ’14)
Notes: As a much heralded linebacker, coming out of college, hopes were high for Te’o. Some over-zealous Bolts fans even went so far as to hint that he may be the next coming of Junior Seau! Unfair expectations, a pre-draft scandal, and a serious injury combined to make his rookie season less than impressive, to say the least. In fact, those same fans that were calling him a savior were beginning to call him a bust. After so much time missed in his rookie season, Te’o came into 2014 as basically a red-shirt freshman. Throughout the season he continued to learn and grow as a player. He started 13 games in ’14 and recorded 80 tackles, one sack, and seven passes defended. He may not be the next coming of Junior, but there is every reason to be optimistic where Te’o is concerned.
3 Keenan Allan WR California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured late in ’14 season (29 of 32 starts)
Notes: Tom Telesco had to be happily surprised to find that Allen had not left the board by the time the Charges third round pick came around. It didn’t take long for Allen to define his role on the team as an impact player. In his rookie season, Allen excited Chargers fans as he racked up 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. With an average of over 14 yards per catch, it appeared that Allen was ready to take over as the Chargers number one receiver in 2014. A sophomore slump of sorts was the reality for Allen in 2014. He did not have a bad season. In fact, his reception total went up from 71 to 77 catches. The problem was that even with more receptions, his total yards dropped to just 783 yards for an average of just over 10 yards per catch. It appears that Allen is becoming a very good possession receiver, rather than a down field threat. With some new additions at WR for 2015, we may see Allen move to the slot where he will not be lined up against the number one defensive back. He should see resurgence in 2015.
5 Steve Williams DB California
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Injured for entire rookie season (10 tackles in ’14)
Notes: Steve Williams went down to injury almost immediately in his rookie season, so in his sophomore year he was more like a “red-shirt” freshman. He still had a lot to learn and had to get ready physically for the daily grind of the NFL. Williams only appeared in 13 games last season with just 10 tackles. Hopes are still high for Williams, although his time to progress is now. If Williams expects to be a weekly contributor to the Chargers defense, he must be greatly improved in 2015.
6 Tourek Williams DE Florida International
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Although Williams has not had any major injuries since joining the Chargers, he still has yet to show that he can be an impact player in the NFL. He did manage to rack up six starts his rookie season, but declined back to zero starts in 2014. Perhaps expecting more from a sixth round pick is unfair, but many Chargers fans are growing tired of having their front seven get pushed around in the trenches. Much like Steve Williams, if Tourek Williams wants to have a bright future in the NFL, he needs to step up his game now.
7 Brad Sorenson QB Southern Utah
Still on Team: Yes (PS) Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: The Chargers took a flyer on Sorenson in hopes that at the very least he could be a quality back-up for starter Philip Rivers. In his rookie season, Sorenson showed promise in the pre-season, but was only active on four game days. The Bolts let him go for part of the 2014 season as Tennessee snatched him off of their practice squad. After failing to impress in Tennessee, he found himself back on the Chargers practice squad later that season. This upcoming pre-season should be a make or break time for Sorenson’s career.
Rd Player Position College
1 Jason Verrett DB TCU
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Injured (6 games played in ’14)
Notes: It only took until week three of the 2014 season for Verrett to crack the starting lineup. His coverage skills along with his ability to tackle proved to Chargers fans that Chargers GM certainly got this pick right. Unfortunately, after only four starts, Verrett went down with a collar bone injury and was unable to return. If Verrett heals well and continues to show the skills he showed in his rookie season, he could be a huge asset for the Chargers defense. The only concern about Verrett is that at 5’9” and only 189 lbs, will his body be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL? Time will tell.
2 Jeremiah Attaochu LB Georgia Tech
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy (11 appearances in ’14)
Notes: Although his rookie year with the Bolts was not exactly remarkable, he did show signs that perhaps there he is a diamond in the rough. He never cracked the starting lineup in ’14, but with the departure of several linebackers, 2015 looks like his time to shine. It is still way too early in Attaochu’s career to decide if this pick was a winner or a bust.
3 Chris Watt OL Notre Dame
Still on Team: Yes Starter: Yes Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Drafted for immediate depth and a future starting role, Watt found himself thrown right into the mix in his rookie season. So much for learning by watching, he was given a baptism of fire in 2014. Not only did he play in 11 games, he started five of them! Not only did he start five games, but he started them at a position his was unfamiliar with, center. Yes, the early injury of legendary Charger Nick Hardwick was key turning point for the Chargers last season. Four different players tried to fill Hardwick’s shoes, but honestly none were up to the task. Considering Watt was new to the position and the league. Chargers coaches seemed more impressed with Watt and his potential than the other would-be centers. Currently, Watt is projected to start at center in the upcoming 2015 season.
5 Ryan Carrethers DT Arkansas State
Still on Team: Yes Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Carrethers had a tough time in his rookie season. Playing nose tackle (NT) is no easy task in the NFL and he found that out in a hurry. Carrethers appeared in six games for the Bolts in ’14 and had only one start. Unfortunately, the NT position proved to be an Achilles heel for the Chargers all season. Chargers NTs were being pushed around like they were on roller skates much of the season. Carrethers was no exception. Currently, the Chargers have not addressed their need at NT. It will be a battle between Carrethers and Sean Lissemore to see who starts next season.
6 Marion Grice RB Arizona State
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Grice had a decent pre-season for the Bolts, but it was not enough to beat out fan favorite Brandon Oliver at running back (RB). It didn’t take long for Grice to find a new home as he was signed by Arizona and played for the Cardinals the remainder of the season. His rookie year was less than impressive as he gained a modest 41 yards on 15 carries, with just one touchdown.
7 Tevin Reese WR Baylor
Still on Team: No Starter: No Health Status: Healthy
Notes: Reese did not do enough to make the Chargers roster in the 2014 pre-season. He did however show enough talent to land a spot on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. He did not make the active roster at any time for the Bengals last season.
So, after two drafts and 12 picks, Tom Telesco has found five starters, a large number of games missed due to injury, and two players signed to other teams. Not a bad haul after just two drafts, but not exactly what legendary GMs are made of. Just like the players, it is only fair to not judge too harshly the effectiveness of Tom Telesco. He has done a nice job of filling holes as they have arisen. He also did not have much cap space to work with after inheriting the mess that former GM, A.J. Smith, left him. Telesco deserves at least one more draft before anyone should celebrate or condemn the job he has done. One thing for sure, Telesco and his staff are doing everything they can to find the best talent available.
How do you feel about the job Telesco has done so far? Are you still a believer? Has he lost his luster? Let me know below. I look forward to answering your comments.
Undrafted rookie free agent Branden Oliver is making his mark in the San Diego backfield. After initially being one of 5 running backs on the team, he has been thrust into the starting role due to injuries to Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown. He has been spectacular and he is running with a purpose.
Oliver recently earned his second consecutive Pepsi Offensive Rookie of the Week award. He has two straight 100+ yard rushing games and he has proven to be a weapon out of the backfield as a receiving option, as well.
After losing Woodhead for the season, and Mathews for what looks to be at least a few more weeks, Branden has exceeded expectations. He has come in and shown an elusiveness and power combination that is hard to find in a running back. He is quicker than he is fast, but he is showing the fans and the organization that they made the right choice in picking him up. Tom Telesco and the scouting department did a tremendous job finding this diamond in the rough.
Although I am in 4 fantasy football leagues, I pay little attention to the percentage of people who pick up players. I trust what my eyes see having the background that I have in football. What I see in Branden Oliver is an explosive player that works hard, plays harder, and refuses to go down on first contact.
Many of you were upset by the fact that I said that Oliver would make the team over former Charger Marion Grice. Branden went undrafted and the Bolts used a sixth-round choice on Grice. When attending OTAs and training camp, Oliver clearly stood out.
Thanks to BoltBlitz.com staff writer Brian Scott, we were the first website to interview Oliver. I happen to be very proud of that fact.
For any of us to expect him to keep up this pace of torching defenses at a surprising rate would be too much. That being said, Oliver has a chip on his shoulder after being passed up during the draft about 256 times. That’s right. After 7 rounds of the 2014 draft, no team, including the Chargers, was willing to take a chance on the former Buffalo collegian.
If you happen to be on Twitter, you can find Branden Oliver @BoBelieves. He truly believes in himself, and you should believe in him too.
Look for Branden to exploit Kansas City’s 23rd ranked rushing defense as he might be able to gash them for his third consecutive 100+ yard rushing feat.
What are your thoughts? Can Oliver rack up his third straight game with 100 yards or more? Let me know by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
A month ago, it appeared that the Chargers had too much of a good thing with five running backs and only four positions available. As of this writing, the team now has four running back slots with two available running backs and two running backs injured (one, Danny Woodhead, out for the season).
One possible addition, Marion Grice, was taken from the practice squad and signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
So, what’s a general manager going to do to address this need?
I imagine Tom Telesco is doing one of three things:
1. He’s working the phones for available free agents.
2. He receiving calls from agents who represent available free agents.
Then there’s the gutsy, but unlikely, third possibility that Telesco may stand pat and play with what is currently on the roster.
The Chargers are heading into what maybe the softest part of their schedule. Homes games against the Jaguars, Jets, and Chiefs. Roads games against the Raiders and Broncos (remember, maybe).
Ryan Mathews may be back by the time the Chargers head north to face their nemesis, the Raiders. So, Telesco has a decision to make in regards to signing a short-term solution until Mathews’ return. However, exactly who is available?
Here’s a short list of who is still available, according to Spotrac.com: Ray Rice is suspended indefinitely, so not available. Rashard Mendenhall has retired and will probably stay retired. A few big names whose productive years are behind them are Michael Bush and Willis McGahee. A lot of the names are third stringers who probably held onto their jobs by their fingernails. One name who would make things interesting against the Raiders is George Atkinson III. His dad, George, is a former Raiders safety.
If we follow Arizona’s playbook, Telesco could sign Damien Thigpen. A former UCLA running back, Thigpen would be in a similar position to Grice, minus the practice squad membership.
If anything, the current unrestricted free agent running back class is filled with players who have bounced from practice squad to practice squad. Many backs available are under six feet and 200 lbs. The Chargers already have a running back of that stature: Brandon Oliver who rushed for 11 total yards last Sunday against Buffalo. Hopefully, he will see more carries in the upcoming games against Jacksonville.
One possibility I will discuss here briefly is the availability of three running backs who may have not reached their potential with the teams they were playing for. LaMichael James, a University of Oregon product going into his third season before his requested release from San Francisco, is a small back about Woodhead’s size. Speculation is that James would be playing with a chip on his shoulder considering he felt he was more than just a kick returner. Although he may not be around when the Chargers pay a visit to Levi’s Stadium later in the year, that attitude may just the ticket for the team.
Kahlil Bell, who last played for the Green Bay Packers, is a little bigger at six feet and 219 pounds with a 4.74 40 yard dash. His stat sheet at ESPN shows that Bell can not only run, but he can catch the ball which makes a possible dump-off receiver for Philip Rivers. Although he wouldn’t be a featured back, his size and ability to do different things for the team will help provide relief for Donald Brown.
Finally, Ben-Jarvis Green Ellis, who last played for Cincinnati, is another big back who could spell Brown when needed. Having a 4.6 40 yard dash, Green Ellis has done something other backs on this list haven’t done. And that is score touchdowns. He has 42 TDs to his credit (a career-high 13 TDs in 2010). Green Ellis’ release provided cap relief to Cincinnati after he was scheduled to make $2.3 million this season.
A major decision has to be made at Chargers Park. Both James and Green Ellis are getting looks from other teams. Injuries have been hitting other teams and not just the Chargers. In my opinion, the team cannot strictly rely on Rivers’ arm until Mathews’ return later this season. Like any faithful Charger fan, I’m sure Telesco knows what is best for the team going forward.
Either that or maybe the team tries talking Mendenhall out of retirement. It worked for Pittsburgh, who is re-signing James Harrison after he retired earlier this year.
So, if you were the Charger general manager, who would you like to see running the ball after Brown and Oliver?
The San Diego backfield was just dealt a huge blow. Danny Woodhead has been placed on season-ending injured reserve due to suffering a broken fibula in yesterday’s win over the Buffalo Bills.
The loss of Woodhead is a big problem for the Bolts. He is the safety valve for Philip Rivers in the Charger offense and a reliable runner. His all-around skillset is going to be hard to replace. In fact, I’m not sure that the team can do that. A portion of his game that is often overlooked is that he is a very good blocker in the backfield during passing situations.
After already losing Ryan Mathews to an MCL sprain for approximately the next month, San Diego is now without its top-two options at running back. The team currently has Donald Brown, Branden Oliver and Marion Grice available at their disposal to carry the rock in the running game.
Last year Danny Woodhead was the team’s second leading receiver behind Antonio Gates. He has great hands and he made some very difficult receptions. He actually finished second in the entire NFL for receptions by a running back.
It will be interesting to see how Tom Telesco handles this ordeal. Oliver was an undrafted free agent and Grice was selected in the sith round of the 2014 draft. It is hard to say how successful they’ll be if called upon to contribute in creased roles. Brown carried the ball 31 times yesterday for 62 yards. Although his yards per carry average was very low, he did prove that he can be the bell-cow during Mathews’ absence.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation and doing our best to keep you updated.
The day that Charger fans had been waiting for has finally come and gone. In the words of Mike McCoy during last night’s postgame press conference, ” There were some negative things and some positive things that can be taken from the game. But, it is the first preseason game.”
I would like to reiterate the last portion of his statement. It was only the first preseason game.
Before you induct Branden Oliver into the Hall of Fame, and before you act as though Kellen Clemens is the next savior at signal caller for the Charger offense, please take heed of the fact that there is very little that can be drawn from the first preseason game of the year.
I asked McCoy during the same press conference about playing against a team other than your own and he basically said that is what we were wanting to do as a staff, team and organization. Everyone was excited and glad to be lining up against a team wearing different helmets.
There were certainly some highlights last night that had several players deserving kudos. Below I am listing my takeaways from the victory of the Dallas Cowboys last night at Qualcomm stadium.
– In an effort to get it out-of-the-way, Branden Oliver looked solid. He racked up 64 yards on only 7 carries and managed to find the endzone on an impressive 14-yard run where he carried the last defender 4 yards with him in for the score. Additionally, and this needs to be said, he is not, I repeat, not Darren Sproles. I believe he is about 20 pounds heavier. He has quick feet – similar to Sproles, but not as quick – and he is a bit more physical. He runs with a very low center of gravity and his cuts are impressive. But, his foot-quickness is not on the same level as that of Sproles made popular. He’s looked good in camp and he also looked good last night.
– Dontrelle Inman continues to impress. Despite a fantastic showing of surprising speed on that 70-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Clemens, he beat a guy that was just signed by Dallas that had yet to practice with the team. He is another player that has impressed throughout the offseason. He has a big frame and capable hands. Inman is, without a doubt, going to continue to make a strong push for a spot on the 53-man roster.
– The Charger quarterbacks were very accurate. When looking at the trio of Philip Rivers, Clemens and Brad Sorensen, only two incompletions were thrown all night. Both of those were by Sorensen as both Rivers and Clemens finished with 100% completion percentage on the night.
The fact of the matter that remains, as it did prior to the game, if Rivers goes down it’s all over but the crying. If you want to crown the backup quarterbacks as capable starters, then crown their asses. <— Dennis Green voice
– Jerry Attaochu is fast. Really fast. Even though he lost contain due to biting on a play-action rollout, he was still able to turn and make the tackle after a minimal gain. His speed will be an asset to John Pagano’s defense and the quicker he learns the defensive scheme the sooner he’ll be making plays on a consistent basis.
– Ryan Mathews is fine and I would rather him lose a ball in the first preseason game than in any of the games that truly count. The man had only two fumbles last year after having over 300 touches. I have an article coming out this afternoon stating why I believe he’ll have the best year of his career in 2014. So, keep calm and realize the talent this man has. Do not forget, last year he ran as physically as any running back in the NFL and was a key cog to a successful Charger offense.
– Lawrence Guy suffered a shoulder injury after the devastating hit he put on Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden. To add insult to injury, Weeden managed to throw a touchdown pass on the very same play. At this time, I am not sure of the severity of the injury. I saw Guy in the locker room speaking to Coach McCoy while wearing a sling. He provides valuable depth on the defensive line and it could mean trouble for San Diego if he is out for an extended amount of time.
– Knowing this is the preseason, and the playcalling on defense will remain vanilla until the regular season, I wasn’t too surprised by the first-team defense’s inability to impose their will on the Dallas offense. The team did finish with three total sacks as both Thomas Keiser and Colton Underwood each had a sack while Reggie Walker and Cordarro Law shared a sack to end the game with a half a sack a piece. It is paramount that the team is able to generate a pass rush seeing that they play in a division with Peyton Manning. The lack of of a pass rush in 2013 must be remedied this year if the team wishes to contend in a tough AFC West.
– Darrell Stuckey for the Pro bowl will be something that I am going to begin lobbying for very early in the season. He’s a beast and he made a couple of plays that should remind fans of why he is so valuable on special teams.
– Craig Watts Jr. looked good and it is obvious the game is slowing down for him. While playing on both the offensive line, and some of the special teams units, he was impressive. He has improved each and every time that I have watched him. There is a steep learning curve going from West Texas A&M to the NFL. But with Craig’s intelligence and very strong work ethic, I stand by my prediction that he will be a San Diego Charger in 2014 and beyond.
– Marion Grice racked up 35 yards on 14 carries. If you take away his 18-yard run, he had a tough night. It’s not realistic to take out a play that happened, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. He also added a 4-yard reception as well.
– Both the kick and punt return games were pedestrian on limited opportunities. The three returns netted a total of 19 yards. The Chargers have not had a threat in the return game since the days of the Lightning Bug.
– The redzone offense is still a work in progress. This was also touched on by McCoy. It is too early to be concerned but when the regular season begins, I have no doubt that everyone will be paying close attention to how the teams performs inside the 20.
That is what I saw during last night’s game. I am curious to hear what you took away from the game. Let me know by leaving your comments below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
The roster bubble is a constantly moving boundary. What little we do know about General Manager Tom Telesco’s methodology includes his noticeably “anti-that last GM that was in San Diego” style of tinkering up until the day the season starts. Late offseason additions of players like Reggie Walker and Lawrence Guy, as they were released by their respective squads, paid huge dividends for the Bolts’ roster in 2013. Telesco likes to keep a few rotational roster spots on the back-end and wait for final cuts to come throughout the league. Cut down day can become a day for wins as well as losses for an opportunistic GM.
Getting the roster to 75 in August isn’t terribly difficult as many of the camp bodies are easy to identify and likely knew their time would be a struggle and simply a learning experience for future endeavors. Getting down to the final 53 is a bit trickier.
Looking over the current Charger roster, it’s clear that the depth is stronger than it has been in quite some time. Keeping in mind that Telesco will more than likely seek to snag a couple of strong releases from various teams in the twelfth hour, that leaves about 50 or so roster spots guaranteed. Again, looking over the current roster, this process begins to show the difficulty of some of these decisions.
Once the team is down to 53, here are some thoughts on the last five current Chargers to stay on the back-end of the roster, and the last five difficult guys that could be cut before the 2014 campaign officially begins.
Potential Last Few In:
DT Tenny Palepoi or Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe:
It’s clear that after last season John Pagano needs space eaters in the middle of his 3-4 defense. Sean Lissemore does a nice job getting pressure on passing downs, and in this pass-happy league, he was able to make a noticeable impact. What became obvious toward the end of the season, is that as winter and playoffs set in, the Chargers couldn’t stuff the run when it really counted. The addition of Ryan Carrethers shows a step in the right direction, but rotation and competition will be necessary. One of these two undrafted behemoths (6’1″ 298, 6’2″ 309 respectively) will likely find a spot on the bench and possibly on the field.
WR Dontrelle Inman:
Tevin Reese looks to be a nice surprise for a late round pick, but he’s another smaller guy in the receiving corps. The Chargers will be on the look out for affordable targets for Philip Rivers for several years to come. Vincent Brown hasn’t yet panned out, and most of the rest of the gang are average to small route runners moving the chains. Along with Malcolm Floyd (and the tight ends of course) look for the Bolts to hang on to a couple of other receivers to both fill out the roster and potentially make a special teams impact. Inman is 6’3″, making him one of the three tallest receivers on the roster. Improvement in the red zone is an offseason focus for coaches McCoy and Reich, if Inman’s hands are good enough, his size could be enough reason to keep him around.
LB Cordarro Law:
A CFL pass rush standout last year, Law looks to follow in the footsteps of Cameron Wake and make an impact in the NFL. With his skill set and experience, Law shouldn’t have a difficult time making the roster, but the position is now stacked. With Telesco guys like Tourek Williams and Reggie Walker already in the fold, Law will have to work to maintain a spot. Jarrett Johnson is on the decline, and until second round pick Jerry Attaochu or future Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney can prove accountable all season, Law should be kept on for talent sake.
CB Chris Davis:
The Chargers have a rich history of talented undrafted free agents. Davis was brought in along with many others in order to solidify a glaring area of need at cornerback. Now that Brandon Flowers has signed and Jason Verrett is cleared for practice, the depth is starting to show. Lucky for Davis, he’s known in the football world for one thing, and it happens to be another area of need for San Diego, the return game. Davis figures to be a near perfect special teamer. He’s played in plenty of big time situations, he is a stout hitter, and played starting corner at Auburn. Those skills mixed with the now fabled ability to return kicks, may land him a comfortable spot on the roster as a depth defensive back and Swiss Army knife special teams guy.
OT Nick Becton:
Another undrafted player Becton joined the Chargers out of Virginia Tech and spent 2013 on the practice squad. With Mike Harris nursing injuries, and the pure tackle position being thin, Nick could turn into a nice option for coach Joe D. At 6’6″ 323, Becton has hung around with the team long enough to say that he has something they like. Probably size and some athletic ability. King Dunlap is the only true left tackle to block the blind side from a year ago, and he certainly had his struggles with concision problems. Harris and Fluker both tried their hands on the left and both looked overmatched. Giving him more time with the line coaches this offseason, there may be a jump in production. He’s young and fits the size part well and could make his way into the future grooming role behind Dunlap.
Potential Last Few Out:
CB Marcus Cromartie:
The corner position is currently a crowded one. Aside from the clear top four, there’s Brandon Ghee and Steve Williams seeking nickel duties as well. Chris Davis may have an edge if he can be a contributor on special teams, and Crezdon Butler got to play some actual minutes last season, recording a very memorable goal line forced fumble against the Cowboys. Although talented and well liked by the team, it’ll be an uphill battle for Cromartie to make the final 53.
DT Kwame Geathers:
With his 6’6″ 335 frame and athleticism, any football fan would inherently want Kwame Geathers to work out for their team. Fact is, Geathers’ abilities never quite fit into Pagano’s scheme. Built like a young Albert Haynesworth doesn’t necessarily mean that he would have to play best as a 4-3 defensive tackle, but after seeing what he’s brought to the Chargers this far, it would appear that he may be better suited for it. The other DTs picked up this far in the Telesco era show a trend where Geathers doesn’t quite fit. Low to the ground and wide. Space eaters. Run stuffers. After drafting Ryan Carrethers out of Arkansas State and bringing in three others for a shot at the active roster, it would appear that Geathers is a man without a natural place on the line. If only he would be open to trying left tackle.
TE John Phillips:
Phillips is the perfect football player to have somewhere on your team. Well, he was. Having been injured most of last season, the mostly blocking tight end now has some competition for his spot. Veteran fullback Le’Ron McClain was let free in exchange for David Johnson, who can also be effective at tight end. Having the pleasure of choosing between Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green on any given down puts Phillips into a full-time backup role as it is. A versatile player like Johnson and some buzz around a young Michael Flacco could spell the impending end for an occasionally banged up veteran like Phillips.
RB Kerwynn Williams, Marion Grice, Branden Oliver:
One of these guys will stick, and the one that does will be well above the rest. The name of the game in this crowded backfield is versatility. Pass blocking, receiving, special teams, possibly returning, and oh yeah, running the ball. There will be a healthy competition until the last day for this fourth back roster spot, but it’ll likely go to the guy who can do the most to help the team in a variety of ways. All these guys are hard workers and show flashes, which is why I say they’ll be tougher to let go. But it looks like, in the end, Grice will likely fit the bill.
Honorable mention stiff competition:
Tourek Williams versus Thomas Keiser versus Jarrett Johnson
The team could feasibly hold all of these linebackers, as they did last year. All showed value on the field in 2013, and youth is certainly on the side of Williams and Keiser. Johnson is a valued team leader and mentor, but with Freeney healthy, Attaochu brought in, and Ingram eyeing a full season, the need for utility outside backers has hopefully gone down. Williams was drafted by Telesco which gives him a bit of an advantage, Keiser had off the field issues, and Johnson’s salary could be saved nicely. Johnson would be a surprise last out, but it could happen.
Looking over this roster, it’s difficult to want to envision releasing any further prospective Chargers. Due to Tom Telesco’s concept of how to build a roster, it must be stated that it will take quality work to stay on the back-end of this roster going into 2014. Here’s a sampling of roster bubble guys from around the league who could fit the bill on the bargain hunt:
WR Brandon Tate, Cincinnati Bengals:
Brandon has been in the league since 2009, and spent his first two years with the Patriots. He came out of North Carolina in a pair with fellow Tarheel Hakeem Nicks, although hasn’t had nearly the success. Tate has been a kick returner for the Bengals in recent years an is 6’1, 210 pounds. His experience in the league and special teams focus should net him a roster spot somewhere in the league in 2014.
WR Kenny Britt, St Louis Rams:
Britt has had a troubled NFL career after being selected in the first round of the ’09 draft by the Titans. A mix of behavior, attitude, and lack of elite play has him simply looking for a team to prove himself to these days. Britt has struggled through quarterback issues with Tennessee, and now is trying to stick with an up and down Sam Bradford. It’s possible that bringing him into a roster with a solidified quarterback and a well oiled offense could be a chance for him to finally shine. At 6’3″ 223, he has always had the physical tools.
G Cyril Richardson, Buffalo Bills:
Apparently this guy is not what he was thought to be coming out of college. Listed as one of the highest first round possibilities along the offensive line early in the draft process, he ended up being drafted in the fifth round, having been passed over by Telesco several times in an area of need. He’s big, as in huge (6’5″, 329) for a guard. If he doesn’t make the cut for some reason in Buffalo, Tom and Joe D may want to take a flier on the massive prospect.
I had the pleasure of being at the first day of Chargers training camp today. Due to the fact that there were no injuries, the only negative takeaway I have is that I am, slightly, resembling a lobster. I was offered sunscreen by my great friend, Chris Garcia ( @sportsbrain on Twitter ), yet I, regretfully, declined. I am burnt to a crisp.
But enough about me and my sunburn. There are a lot of positive takeaways from the first day of Charger training camp. One of which was getting to see Joel Price again. He runs the Chargers Twitter account – @Chargers – and you can find his personal account at @joelprice as well.
Let’s go straight to my analysis of the first day of training camp. I mean, it’s not lot the major networks are talking about it…. AT ALL!
1) Brandon Flowers is extremely aggressive. Do not let his size fool you. He was all over receivers and looked quick all practice long. He actually made me shudder on a few plays where he was right on top on Malcom Floyd. Lord knows we don’t want him to be the new Shareece Wright, in that he manages to find ways to hurt Charger players during previous training camps.
2) Donald Brown’s feet are much quicker than I expected. His ability to cut and change direction is very impressive in person. Way to go, Tom Telesco. This signing will pay dividends.
3) When watching Tevin Reese he bobbled,yet caught, and dropped, a few passes at the beginning of the day. But he finished strong by making at least three remarkable catches. There were a few other catches that were impressive as well. I am a bit concerned that he shows, at times, a propensity to not be able to secure the ball when it initially hits his hands. But his speed and quickness make him an asset to this team. Telesco made it clear that he wanted to add more speed. And he did just that with the acquisition of Reese. He made plays that other wide receivers would not be able to make.
4) Jason Verrett is great at high-pointing the ball and his instincts make you forget about his lack of height and size. Verrett is still not 100%. But watching him today makes me believe that the Chargers made an undeniably excellent choice with the 25th pick in the first round of this year’s draft. When you add in his aforementioned traits, and his quickness and speed, Jason is just what this Charger secondary needs in having a playmaker that can contribute right away.
5) These players were in on punt return duties: Tevin Reese, Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal. It would appear that, considering that Reese was the first man up to receive the first punt, the team is looking long and hard at Reese as a punt return guy. I am not a fan of using Keenan Allen back there; as most of you have read via my posts on BoltBlitz.com, tweets and Facebook posts. I refuse to be able to get behind using the team’s number one wide receiver as a punt returner. I don’t like Eddie Royal back there either. We all should be on the Tevin Reese train and hoping that he continues to produce on a consistent level.
6) Melvin Ingram had to pull up often. He was on the other side of the ball and, being a veteran, he knew that getting too close to Philip Rivers was not an option. He looks fast and ready to make an impact in 2014.
7) Marion Grice, although he didn’t look overly quick, had a few runs that reminded me of some of the tape I received from Arizona State. He also made a few catches that would make some wideouts jealous. He’s got great hands. I’m excited to see what he can do.
8) Craig Watts Jr. was effective when on the field. He needs to work on his footwork a bit, which I’ve told him via text. But his play at the point of attack will, without a doubt, land him on the practice squad. Book it. I would not be surprised if he made the 53-man roster.
9) In his time with the second and third units, Alden Darby was in the right place at the right time. His coverage was tight and I look forward to his progress once he makes the squad. Yup, he will make this team.
10) Marcus Gilchrist looks bigger, and more stout this year. His muscle mass seems more defined and it looks as though he has embraced his new role as a strong safety on the Bolts. Only time will tell.
11) Keenan Allen looks determined and focused. He absorbed all comments from coaches during today’s training camp willingly. His cuts in and out of breaks were so solid. His hands continued to prove reliable and I can’t wait to see what he can do during his sophomore campaign in 2014. Not only will there not be a sophomore slump for Allen, I see him having an even better year this season.
12) Sean Lissemore looks bigger. He created a solid push. Yes, they aren’t in full pads, but I might have been too quick to judge him as a starting nose tackle in John Pagano’s defense. Although I’d still prefer him as defensive end depth, he may be a stop-gap for the time being.
13) Philip Rivers has one of the quickest releases in the NFL. Some may question his arm strength, but he gets the ball out so fast. He is an elite quarterback and those of you that do not believe in him, you should completely reassess your evaluation.
14) Brad Sorensen was out of sync and threw behind receivers often. Fans near me wanted to credit the defensive backs for making good plays. Truth be told, he just didn’t look very impressive. Sorry to all of you that think “Sorensen is the Charger quarterback of the future,” I just don’t see it.
15) The battle at strong safety is hot and heated already. Although Marcus Gilchrist saw the starting snaps with the first team, Jahleel Addae is learning Pagano’s defense at a quick pace. I can’t wait for them to put on the pads and see what he can do. My biggest concern regarding Addae during training camp? He may hurt a fellow teammate.
16) Jeromey Clary was on the side cheering on his peers due to being on the PUP list. Johnnie Troutman saw snaps with the first team. I am not sure that is conducive to success for the offensive line, nor the offense as a whole. For those of you that are not in favor of Clary making the roster, be careful what you wish for. Be very careful.
There’s my incredibly premature breakdown after the first day of training camp for your San Diego Chargers. Be sure to leave your thoughts below and let me know what you think. I am especially interested in what you saw if you were there today to enjoy the festivities.
Thanks a lot for reading.
For starters, I have no problem admitting that I was a bit disappointed with the drafting of another running back in the this year’s draft. That being said, one of my senior writers is doing his best to get me on board with the selection. That writer is Jamie Hoyle. Hoyle is a huge Arizona State fan and alum. He has nothing but great things to say about the selection of Marion Grice in the sixth round. And from what I’ve watched on tape and heard via multiple people who I respect, he’s the real deal.
The jury is still out.
The Charger backfield is crowded. But is that a problem? I’m here to explain that it’s a great problem to have. The uncertainty regarding the health of Ryan Mathews is something to keep an eye on. Danny Woodhead was on the field nearly as often as Mathews in 2013. Despite Mathews having what could be his most successful season as a Bolt, there is uncertainty about his return following the 2014 season.
The addition of Donald Brown provides the Chargers with insurance in case of an injury, or future departure, while Ryan is still wearing lightning bolts. Let me be clear: I’m a huge fan of Ryan Mathews but I refuse to not be realistic. He’ll have to have a similar campaign to 2013 to continue his career in San Diego, in my opinion.
When looking at the Charger running game, having Mathews, Woodhead, Donald Brown and Marion Grice seems to be a portion of the offense that should be feared by opposing defenses. Each player has strengths that are necessary to an offense being effective on all parts of the field. It’s safe to say that each player is sufficient, or a serious weapon, in both the running and receiving of the ball in America’s finest city.
We must remind ourselves that Mathews is not a product of the new regime. They know more than we do. Though Mathews ran incredibly hard and aggressively, acting as though we can predict his future with San Diego is a mistake. Tom Telesco holds all of the cards. It would not surprise me if the team settled for a trio of Brown, Woodhead and Grice after 2014. But is that going to be the case? Are they willing to watch Mathews go and be a star elsewhere? If that’s not a huge question regarding the Bolts, then I’m not sure what is.
Danny Woodhead came in as free agent last year and, without a doubt, was incredibly impressive for the majority of 2013. He finished second on the team in receptions with 76 balls caught. He accumulated over 1,000 total yards and 10 touchdowns in his first year in San Diego. Thoughts are being spread around that, though this is his contract year, he’ll be a member of the Bolts for quite some time. Sounds good to me.
Donald Brown was a free agent acquisition that made a lot of fan’s jaws drop. Not me. I’m regretting the fact that I only tweeted about the need to add a player like Brown, as opposed to posting about it. Brown was under-utilized in Indianapolis; partially due to the trade of a first-round pick for Trent Richardson. Oops, Indy. Not a fan of guys that average, roughly, 3.5 yards per carry. Donald is a receiving threat out of the backfield. He’s also an underrated blocker from the running back spot. His addition will pay dividends to the Charger offense this year and going forward. Book it.
Now let’s talk about the Grice selection. He’s a guy, as illustrated by Hoyle, that is a monster in the redzone and has fantastic hands as a receiver. Some feel as though he’ll line up in the slot more than he will as a ball carrier. With his credible hands and the ability to make the first guy miss, I’m very comfortable with the addition of another weapon in the San Diego offensive arsenal.
This is where we analyze what the future production of Ryan Mathews plays into the 2014 Chargers. He ran as hard as any running back in the NFL last year. He still has a propensity to run into the back of his offensive lineman; patience is clearly not his strong-suit when running the ball. But Ryan ripped off multiple long runs in ’13. He looked very solid and gave me hope that we had our running back for the long-term. But, again, he’s a player that was drafted by the past regime; those that will not be named in this article. His future in San Diego is up in the air. And, quite frankly, I’m not certain that it should be. But the NFL is a business.
The Charger running back position may be crowded, but that’s a damn good problem to have. I expect this team to run the ball nearly 60% of the time in 2014. For an exact percentage, stay locked into BoltBlitz.com. I’d guess around a 56% running the ball with the rest of the gameplan being geared toward Rivers doing what he did in 2013. Efficiency and quick-timed passes will still remain the norm. I do expect the team to go down the field more often in the passing game. But that’s for another post, another day.
I have never done this before, but this post was a comment left by Nick Colonna on one of our articles on BoltBlitz.com. After checking with Nick, I’ve decided to post it so that more Charger fans get a look at what I find to be a very solid outlook on the Charger draft class. Enjoy.
I am guilty of making mock drafts way too early each year. Once the Superbowl is over, I dive straight into big boards, college tape, highlight reels, and start making my own mocks. I completed a full 7 round mock, addressing all 32 teams’ needs along the way. This made it pretty interesting after the real NFL Draft. I got to see where the Chargers’ talent was rated when I started doing mocks, and a final one a week before the actual draft. So to analyze, I’ll go through all our (Chargers) picks and a couple of undrafted free agents and say how they were ranked overall in comparison to all the guys coming out of college.
Chargers Draft 2014
Round 1: Jason Verrett, CB, 20th overall on my big board. I absolutely love Jason Verrett. His only knock is his size which is something he more than makes up for with his vertical, explosiveness, quickness, ball skills. I’ve always been a fan of Brent Grimes and Verrett reminds me of him. Short guy who plays big.
Round 2: Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, 33rd overall on my big board. A pass rush specialist who gets to learn from Freeney, pretty happy about that. Freeney contract is up at the end of this year and Johnson is getting up there in age, this pick (as long as it pans out) will solidify our starting OLBs for years to come (That’s if Ingram stays at OLB of course).
Round 3: Chris Watt, G, 146th overall on my big board. This pick caught me off guard (no pun intended) only because I thought there was value with other guys at this point. However, Watt could potentially be the replacement for Hardwick when he retires or the replacement for Clary or Rinehart if/when they leave. Jerome Watson, whom many fans of the Bolts know, broke his tape down in a great article which convinced me that this pick was alright.
Round 4: Traded away but we kind of got it back with a certain UDFA. I’ll get to that later.
Round 5: Ryan Carrethers, NT, 113th overall on my big board. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I had Keenan Allen flashbacks in the 3rd round. I kind of feel as if the Chargers were waiting on Louis Nix to continue his fall and they’d snatch him up in the 3rd round. A 1st round talent with issues so his draft stock plummeted. When Houston picked him, they went ahead and grabbed someone else they had targeted. My personal theory during draft day, I could be (and probably am) completely wrong. When I saw that Carrethers was still on the board in the 5th, I knew he’d be the pick. A big, strong, hole-plugging nose tackle who was surprisingly productive in college.
Round 6: Marion Grice, RB, 173rd overall on my big board. A TD machine who can do damage in the return game. This pick and the Donald Brown signing (ESPECIALLY the Donald Brown signing) felt like the beginning of the end for Mathews. It’ll be interesting to see how Grice is used with Brown, Mathews, and Woodhead already in rotation. Once injuries arise, he’ll be a key asset.
Round 7: Tevin Reese, WR. 246th overall on my big board. A speedster who will more-than-likely be fielding returns during OTAs and the preseason. If he can work on his catching, he could be a nice deep threat. He is very raw and needs work. Much like all late round picks, low risk, high reward.
Jeremiah Sirles, OT, 257th on my big board. If Dunlap/Harris can’t stay healthy for all 16 games, the Chargers are going to need another tackle to hold down the position. He has the size (6’6″, 315 lbs) but lacks fluid movement and explosiveness. NFL.com’s draft profile notes he “takes to coaching and is an extremely hard worker;” something the Chargers organization wants out of football players.
Alden Darby, SS, 218th on my big board. I love Jahleel Addae at SS but the Chargers could always more DB help (much like the o-line situation). Darby can play any DB position making him extremely versatile. He’s overcome a lot of adversity (grew up in a very bad neighborhood) and has continued to. He works extremely hard, was a team leader, had the honor of wearing the Pat Tillman jersey in practice (hard work and leadership) and has make-it intangibles that could resonate with a coaching staff and inspire a locker room (NFL.com).
Chris Davis, CB, 115th overall on my big board. This guy is the 4th round talent I was talking about. Most know him for his game against Alabama. He’s a very talented punt returner. According to CBSsports.com, he has “very good balance, elusiveness and vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hands as was evidenced in his kick-six return to beat Alabama.” Not only that, Davis can excel in the defensive scheme the Chargers run. He’s not a man-to-man guy, but can be great in a zone heavy scheme. I will be watching him a lot this offseason on TV and at Chargers Park during open practices.
Thanks go out to Nick for contributing this post to the site. He doesn’t know it yet, but he won the Manti Te’o autographed picture for his comment and allowance for the site to use it as a post.