San Diego Super Chargers

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Out here in the small Suncoast area of Florida, it is extremely rare to find Charger fans.  I have met only a couple and much more recently had the pleasure of meeting Dino Rustin.  Not only was adding another Bolt Family member close by me a huge success, but the way we met was priceless.

 

I was at my daughter’s soccer game when I noticed someone sitting down and wearing a Chargers hat.  With that symbol being obscure out here, I of course had to shout “Go Chargers!”  Immediately he looked up and shook my hand with a smile.  He asked if I drove the blue Mazda with the Chargers emblem.  After confirming that it was indeed my car, he proceeded to tell me that he left me a note.  He stated that him and his family just moved from Oklahoma to Sarasota two days prior and when he noticed another Charger supporter, he had to connect somehow.  It just so happened that his daughter was playing against my daughter’s soccer team – that is Charger fate for sure.

 

Dino is a solid individual with so much passion for his work and the Chargers.  So without further ado, please welcome Dino Rustin to the Bolt Family!!

 

BWK:  Let’s start the interview with you giving the fans a short personal bio about yourself

Dino:  My name is Dino. I was born in 1980. I’m a native of Pacific Beach and have since moved across the country, now residing in Florida. I have two amazing daughters and a wonderful wife, all Charger fans. One of my daughters is named after Mr. Padre himself.

BWK:  When did you decide to become a diehard Chargers fan?

Dino:  See picture below

carney

BWK:  Who is your favorite Bolt player – former and current?

Dino:  My favorite current Charger is #85. I remember his first pre-season…the story building up around this guy who had never played football in college, but somehow he dazzled us with incredible hands, post-up jump-balls…and now a lengthy Hall-of-Fame career. My favorite former Charger is #3…John Carney. I remember throughout the 90s, the Chargers winning games with 18 or 15 points. He was automatic…and he was reliable…and he was the #1 player on my Fantasy Football team! Not to mention, I met him a few times and he was a SUPER cool guy! (pic below at UCSD training camp)  I would be remiss to not mention LT, Fouts, Seau…

kid

 

BWK:  What is your favorite moment/play in the team’s history?

Dino:  Not even a question… Jan 15, 1995….Neil O’Donnell-led Steelers lined up at the goal line, Barry Foster coming out of the backfield. Last play of the game. I was on my knees in the living room…no one was saying a word in the house. Out of nowhere comes #57 Dennis Gibson…the ball gets batted to the ground…game over…Chargers going to the Super Bowl!!! I cried…my family screamed and hugged…horns blared throughout Pacific Beach and the whole city. I ran outside and screamed…others were doing the same. I’ll never forget that moment! Adding more sweetness to the victory, I had chosen to save every Monday SDUT Sports page that season to make a scrapbook…just for fun…little did I know! As for Dennis Gibson, in my opinion, for one play in his entire career that mattered, he belongs in the Chargers Hall of Fame.

BWK:  Addressing this year’s team, tell me what players you would award for MVP, Comeback Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year. Briefly tell me why you selected the players you did.

Dino:  MVP – Rivers, with Gates as a close second. Rivers was clearly hurt and toughed it out. He laid a few eggs here and there, but I’d hate to think what would have happened without him taking snaps under center.

COMEBACK – M80…dude should have probably retired and he comes back with an 850 yard season with a few scores. Solid from a guy we needed to be solid…and he did it very quietly, which I appreciate, as it communicates steadiness over the whole of 16 games.

OFFENSIVE – This is going to Gates. Antonio was everything Rivers needed him to be this season.  After being riddled with injuries, I was excited that he put together back-to-back solid seasons, and found the end zone plenty.

DEFENSIVE – This may be controversial, but I appreciated how much Manti Te’o stepped up at the end of the season. I realize he had injuries to deal with and is still finding his game, but he was very solid in those final two games and it reshaped the entire defense as a force to be reckoned with.

ROOKIE – Branden Oliver. Who else was there? I think Verrett, Watt, and Attaochu will be good players when they actually get off the injury report and lock in to their positions.

BWK:  In your opinion, what is the most glaring needs for the team and what do you think management should do to address those needs?

Dino:  Clearly, the offensive line needs a lot of work. No team can go in thinking they could lose half a dozen O-lineman to IR, so their effort this season was commendable. We need to draft a couple linemen high, as well as go out and get a couple of vets. Having a seasoned center would be very beneficial. We need to get Mathews off the books, which is unfortunate, but he doesn’t play enough to merit a spot.  Then we need to sign or draft a guy who can run between the tackles and take a beating. We definitely need a KOS (Kickoff Specialist) who can kick it out of the end zone, as field position was a huge issue for us. I would sign Ndamakong Suh in a second, and pay him whatever he wants, to shore up the D-line.

BWK:  Do you follow any routine on Charger Game Day?  Any musical playlists that you listen to?

Dino:  I wear my Chargers tie to church, which is kinda fun. Of course, I have to find a place to watch the game since I’m on the east coast now. If we get the game on TV, I get my girls ready to watch…toss a football around with them on the floor when one is available. I call my dad about a dozen times to talk pre-game…and probably another dozen calls during the game. For primetime games, I start drinking coffee around 8:00pm so I can stay up. My family bumps the San Diego Super Chargers song all afternoon! The kids dance and love it…I really think the Chargers ought to ditch the new songs and go back to the classic!

BWK:  In your opinion, who is winning the Super Bowl this year?  This team you predicted – what page should the Chargers take from to ensure a Super Bowl run in America’s finest city?

Dino:  I think the Patriots put together a complete package this season and Brady knows how to win the big games. It’s gonna be tough for teams to come into New England and win in January. I think the Patriots have succeeded, like the Broncos, in aggressively pursuing game-changer type players. They identified a need, and went out and got the best guy possible from free agency.

BWK:  Would you like to see Frank Reich around for at least one more year or would you like to show him the door?  Defend your response.

Dino:  I was pretty indifferent on Reich. I think he could have been good for Buffalo if Rex didn’t sign.  I wouldn’t mind him sticking around, but I wasn’t super impressed either. I don’t get the sense that he ever got to dial up the offense he intended, due to all the injuries. Looking at the games where the Chargers just couldn’t score…which were quite a few…you have to at least kinda credit him with not dialing up something different in terms of adjustments.

BWK:  What player impressed you the most this season?  What player disappointed you the most?  Please explain why you choose who you did

Dino:  Impressed me the most…Melvin Ingram, coming back from that gnarly injury again. What a gamer…and he, like Te’o, really changed the whole vibe of the defense. Shout out of Brandon Flowers too…coming in here on the one year contract and playing really well in that corner role! Chris Watt gets a gold star…he was never supposed to come in here and be a starting center and he did what he could. Lastly, Dontrelle Inman looks like he could REALLY contribute in coming years. In terms of disappointment, I think we were all hoping for more out of Ladarius Green. I don’t think he was on the field enough, due to Gates’s solid year, but I think a lot of fans were expecting him to really emerge and takeover this year. Instead, Gates put up a pro-bowl caliber season, and Green faded into the background. He’s a weapon that could be utilized more.

BWK:  How do you feel about McCoy and his time thus far in San Diego?

Dino:  McCoy has been ok…I’m not overly impressed, but he’s found ways to win with a trash heap of a team. I think he’s solid, steady, and with more time and weapons, could really blossom.

BWK:  What game was your favorite to watch in the 2014-2015 season?  What game was your least favorite?

Dino:  Least is easy…the KC game. I came home to SD for the holidays…got to sit down with the fam and watch a game like the good old days…everything is riding on the line, and the Bolts lay an egg. It was really frustrating that I almost sensed they would lose the game by the first quarter. Favorite game has to be a toss-up between the Niners and Ravens game…I like a good nail biter, and those took me to another play of adrenaline.

BWK:  Being one of few teams that has yet to achieve Super Bowl Champion status, do you feel San Diego can bring home the Lombardi Trophy in the next few years?

Dino:  I think if they could spend their cap money wisely and put in place the pieces they are missing, then yes. If they keep dragging their feet in free agency and ending up with 2nd & 3rd tier players, there’s no way.

BWK:  What are your thoughts about Ryan Mathews? Talk about your feelings when he was drafted all the way through this past season.

Dino:  I was excited when Mathews was drafted. I never expected him to be LT, but I figured he could be a solid workhorse back. The fumbles were rough early on, and cost us some games. Then the injuries starting piling up and it took him off the field. When he plays, he’s great…he just doesn’t play enough. During his time, I would question his desire from time to time…wondered if he wanted to be a superstar in the NFL.  I am no doctor, and his injury history is unfortunate and no one’s fault, but it’s hard to grow up watching guys like Seau play with pinched nerves and Rivers having had ACL surgery before the playoff games.  Then thinking about Mathews and his injuries that kept him on the sidelines for crucial games.  That’s when doubts of his toughness come to my mind.

BWK:  Do you think Philip Rivers needs to win a ring in order to be voted into the Hall of Fame?

Dino:  I think that over the next decade, we’re gonna see a lot of quarterbacks putting up Rivers-like numbers. The league has become so pass-happy that Rivers, who had a 4,000+ yard season, is in the same ballpark with 11 or 12 other quarterbacks. My guess is that Rivers would need to put this team on his back and win a couple of rings, as well as an MVP award, to even be considered. By the time he retires, his numbers could look very ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Rivers and believe he will hold a special place in the hearts of Charger fans for the rest of our lives…I just don’t know that his numbers will translate to a HOF nod.

BWK:  Do you think the Chargers should address River’s replacement this offseason?

Dino:  I think we better start doing something now. This probably won’t be popular, but if RG3 is available in free agency, I think he’d be worth bringing in for a season or two to see if he can develop under Rivers’ tutelage. I think drafting a franchise QB is a huge risk, so I imagine our post-Rivers near-future is already in the league somewhere.

BWK:  With our cap room and looking at next season’s opponents, what are your early predictions for 2015-2016?

Dino:  I think if the Chargers could sign a couple of impact players and get a starter in the draft’s first round, we could do alright. Sign a beast of a RT, a seasoned center, Suh on D, another cornerback with Flowers and Verrett…draft Melvin Gordon?? That could be a really solid team. The schedule is the schedule…and it doesn’t look all that much easier than this season’s schedule. If we stay healthy, I think the Chargers will win four division games and win the AFC West at 11-5.

BWK:  Anything else you want to tell the Bolt Family about yourself?

Dino:  I will be a Chargers fan forever! Even though I don’t live in SD anymore, I will be heartbroken if they take the golden paycheck that is promised in LA. I wish that San Diego’s non-diehard-Charger fans would pull their heads out and start supporting a civic cause that is much bigger than any of us! The stadium means the Chargers…but it could mean so much more!

 

I want to thank Dino again for his time in conducting this interview.

 

– BWK

Heading into the 2014 season, the San Diego Chargers looked incredibly promising; even with one of the most difficult schedules in the league. General Manager, Tom Telesco, worked extremely hard in the offseason in order to add depth to the roster; even with an extremely small salary cap. To be specific, Telesco only had roughly $625,000 left in cap space after paying the offensive, defensive, and special teams’ salaries; the dead money hit alone was $16,335,000. Even under those circumstances, Telesco was able to beef up the backfield with multiple running backs, regain some game changing defensive players, and added a very talented draft class to the roster. Yet, the season didn’t play out as most expected when the pandemic of injuries hit the Chargers team. At that point, the motto “next man up” was adopted.

The next man up is a phrase that most professional teams technically want to reframe from using; it essentially indicates the starter is unable to play and another player has to fill in. Yet, the Chargers have embraced it since week one. Pro Bowler center, Nick Hardwick, was placed on injured reserve after the Arizona match-up, granting center Rich Ohrnberger the starting role. However, Ohrnberger struggled with injuries, forcing the Chargers to sign guard, Doug Legursky. Not even a month later, Legursky was placed on injured reserve, leaving an ailing Ohrnberger and rookie guard Chris Watt as the next men up. It doesn’t stop there, Ohrnberger was added to the growing injured reserve roster and Watt held the starting role at center. Who would have thought that Watt would then leave the Baltimore Ravens game with a calf injury; leaving the Chargers with their fifth center to play, Trevor Robinson.

The center position wasn’t the only one to face heartache. During the second week against the Seattle Seahawks, star running back Ryan Mathews sprained his MCL and was expected to miss a significant amount of time. If you ever think that lighting doesn’t strike twice, think again. The follow week, running back Danny Woodhead was placed on injured reserve due to a season ending leg injury. The originally stacked backfield wasn’t looking so stacked anymore and the Chargers soon expected undrafted rookie running back, Branden Oliver “Bo”, to fill in. Not only did he fill in, he impressed the entire league with over 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns in week’s five and six; awarding him with Pepsi’s Rookie of the Week in week 5. To add depth, Telesco brought back veteran running back Ronnie Brown who spent last year on the Chargers active roster.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Third year linebacker, Melvin Ingram, was placed on the Reserve-Injured list with the designation to return after suffering a hip injury in week two. The next week, second year linebacker Manti Te’o suffered a fractured foot which sidelined him until week eleven. Already missing two starting linebackers, rookie linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu was ailing a hamstring injury which limited his productivity and playing time. Again, next man up, fourth year linebacker Andrew Gachkar filled in for his injured teammates. Not only did he bring passion and fire to the field, he was able to accumulate 7 stuffs, 21 total tackles, and a fumble recovery.

Gachkar wasn’t the only one to step in, outside linebacker Cordarro Law has stepped up when given the green light. An undrafted free agent in 2012, Law signed with the Chargers in February of 2014. Spending much of his time on the practice squad, Law continues to get the job done. With veteran outside linebacker Dwight Freeney becoming a free agent after this season, there’s a no question that Law can earn a 53-man active roster spot if he continues the hard work he puts in.

Starting at cornerback was the Chargers first round draft pick, Jason Verrett. Impressively, he was making a contending run for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year by week 9. However, just after the bye week, Verrett was placed on injured reserve due to a torn labrum. At this point, you might be asking, “How does an NFL survive all these injures?” and the answer again is simply, next man up.

Not only has the offense and defense suffered from the injury bug, but the special teams took a big blow a few weeks ago. One of the league’s top punters, Mike Scifres, broke his clavicle during the New England Patriot Game; forcing Nick Novak, who had not punted a ball since high school, to take on the punting duties for the remainder of the game. Much can be said about a player filling in for a position they have no training on, but Novak impressed with what little he was given. Shortly after, Pro Bowl punter, Mat McBriar, was signed to replace Scifres. McBriar was a mentor to Darren Bennett, the Chargers longtime punter who preceded Scifres. He brings to the punting unit an average of 45.1 yards per attempt with 201 landing inside the 20.

The next man up saying isn’t exclusive to sidelining injuries, rather those playing through the bumps and bruises; quarterback Philip Rivers is a prime example. It’s no secret that El Capitan has been playing through some bruised ribs and a sore back. Along with Rivers, brute defensive end Corey Liuget is also playing through injuries. Just the other day, Liuget was seen sporting a walking boot; most commonly used to keep the player mobile as much as possible, yet still protecting the injured structure. Although these top Charger players give us a heart attack when we don’t see them at practice, they still show up on game day ready to get the win.

Heading into week 16, the Chargers are faced with more anguish. Veteran linebacker Donald Butler was placed on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated elbow against the Denver Broncos last week. A day later, it was announced that second year wide receiver, Keenan Allen, suffered a broken collarbone and ankle injury. With San Diego fighting for their lives to earn a spot into the post-season, the next man up motto is being used more than ever. In the much-needed win against the San Francisco 49ers, expected to be active is tight end Ladarius Green, wide receiver Seyi Ajurotutu, and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Let’s not forget the impact Branden Oliver and Donald Brown need to make against the stealthy 49ers defense as Mathews recovers from an ankle injury suffered in week 14.

Many would think that it’s impossible that a team could possibly have an 8-6 record with all the injures the Chargers have accrued this year. With nine players on injured reserve and a few other active roster injuries, any team would have faulted and given up hopes by now. Yet, these are the San Diego Super Chargers; the underdog, the dark horse, and let’s not forget the team that no one ever expects much from. It’s alright, the Chargers still have a chance at the post-season and the opportunity to prove that anything can be done. The next man up motto has been the staple of the organization all year, but why stop now? The season isn’t even close to being over…

 

Briana Soltis

gal-unis-chargers

Most of the time when you see a uniform color combination, you immediately know which sports team it’s associated with. In professional football, the color collegiate “powder” blue is undoubtedly the most recognized color in the NFL with only one team that comes to mind; the San Diego Super Chargers. This Sunday, the Chargers will be sporting the finest uniform in the NFL when they take on the New England Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium.

The powder blue jerseys have a long-lasting heritage that dates back to the 1960’s during the AFL (American Football League) era. In 1974, the color was changed from collegiate blue to dark blue. Team records indicate that the jersey first reappeared in 1994 during the league’s 75th anniversary season. However, every season since 2007, the throwback jerseys are worn twice a year as an alternate to the modern navy blue. It is so authentic, it’s even made its way to the NFL’s top 10 uniforms. Words do no justice for this infamous color.

Since 1994, the color has been worn 51 times; recently during the home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers have a 29-22 record when wearing the special blue; one of the most noteworthy wins have been when the Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the 2008 playoffs.

For this special event, I’m encouraging all fans to wear their powder blues. It doesn’t even have to be a jersey; a powder blue shirt will be just fine. This game is one of the most important games the Chargers will play all year and the team needs as much support as they can get. Can you imagine, a powder blue sea of people in the stands screaming and rooting at the top of their lungs? Again, words can’t explain how remarkable these uniforms look.

According to ESPN, Antonio Gates said “It symbolizes the historic moments here” while adding, “That’s the fine thing that comes to mind for me. And it’s a sweet color, man. The color to me is amazing. So when you wear it, you represent the organization at the present time…” Join me Sunday by wearing your blues proudly.

Keep in mind, this not all about a fashion statement. Many great former Chargers have worn this uniform during the grind of their playing days; including Dan Fouts and Charlie Joiner to name a few. When wearing these blues, remember the legacy of the Chargers organization. The more you hold onto this concept, the more you will believe that the Chargers are fully capable of defeating the 9-3 New England Patriots in front of the nation during Sunday Night Football.

Keep true to your blues and represent to the fullest. The San Diego Chargers need their fans more than ever on Sunday. Remember, it’s not about what you wear, it’s where you come from.

 

Briana Soltis

BoltPride1

 

( Photo Credit:  Jesse Arroyo  Jesse Arroyo Photography www.ArroyoPhotos.com )

 

 

 

 

Every team in the NFL has some terms and idioms that are very specific to their organization; terrible towel, the 12th man, and the red sea to name a few. As a San Diego Charger fan, there are five terms you should know and memorize in order to increase your knowledge of the organization and become an even better fan. Now, some of these have been used since before my time, even when my parents were young football fans. Don’t feel bad if you’re a little behind, because even the players and experts need to know the specific terminology used.

San Diego Super Chargers

If you have ever been to a Charger game at Qualcomm Stadium, you have heard the fight song. If you haven’t been to a game, you need to stop what you’re doing and buy tickets to the next home game. The song was written in 1979 and had an undoubtedly disco sound to it. It was re-written in 1989, excluding the disco flare, and is used at home games after scoring and victories. It’s so popular that I have met various NFL fans that know the words and can recite it. I can hear it now, San Diego Super Chargers, San Diego Super Chargers (very high voice).

The Murph

Not to be confused with a Crossfit workout called the Murph, but way back before many were even born, Qualcomm Stadium was named Jack Murphy Stadium. Yeah, it really is that old for all you kids born after 1998. The stadium was once named after Jack Murphy, a sportswriter who built the support for the stadium back in 1965. Before he died, Bob Murphy, a former New York Mets broadcaster and brother, still referred to the stadium as Jack Murphy Stadium. To this day, there are still those that call the stadium “The Murph”.

Bolo Knows 

Last year, the Chargers marched into Denver and defeated the Denver Broncos in a Thursday Night Football showdown. After the game, Deion Sanders and company interviewed Philip Rivers. What caught most eyes while watching the post-game show was Rivers’ shiny bolo tie that a fan made for him. Ever since then, the bolo tie has been a symbol of how well Rivers can play in clutch scenarios. It was so popular that you can now buy t-shirts with the logo on it. I haven’t seen this yet, but someone please wear one for the remaining home games.

One Charge

Have you seen this saying all over the Chargers website or even on tickets? It’s because the Bolts are a family that includes their fans and charging as one is one of the main goals of the organization. When fans gather in the stadium, getting as loud as possible when the other team is on third down is charging as one. Even gathering at a tailgate party or meetup defines this whole concept. Have you seen a team successful without working as one? I haven’t.

Bolt Up

This is a term used by a lot of fans, personnel, and experts. Basically, it means get ready and prepare for the Chargers to play some football. It can be used many ways, but if you notice on Facebook or even Twitter people say the term “Bolt Up” in a positive way. Anytime I say it, I’m usually pumped up, heart beating fast, Chargers jersey on, beer in hand, and ready for kick off. Even if you Google search Bolt Up, you won’t find much, but that’s ok it’s a Charger thing.

I guarantee that using these expressions will make you an even better Charger fan. Also, don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm for Bolt pride. Sure, I might sound silly screaming the Charger fight song in the middle of a Packers bar or referring to “The Murph” while living in Arizona, but I don’t care because I remain a fan; I know you all do too.

 

Briana Soltis

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  As of the beginning of this offseason, there is one phrase/term that stands out to me that could have been included in this article, “Next man up.”  Many fans are sick of hearing it, but, the fact of the matter is, it has been exercised and used to the fullest in San Diego.

BoltBlitz

 

 

The mock drafts that have been posted by the BoltBlitz.com staff have received a serious amount of traffic.  They have been the “busiest” articles on the site.  I guess it’s my turn.

Let’s not waste any time.  I’ve spent a really long time getting this ready for everybody.  I hope everyone likes it.

Hahahahaha!   Yeah, right.  It’s a mock draft.  There will be plenty of people who will call me crazy for my draft.

Crazy like a fox.

 

Round One – Pick 11   (trade 11th pick to St. Louis Rams and acquire pick 16 in 1st and pick 16 (78) in 3rd):

Star Lotulelei   DT    6’3″  311   Utah  –  Although Lotulelei is not the ideal size for a 3-4 NT, his strength and ability to use his hands in controlling offensive lineman will allow him to consume multiple blockers at a time.  Adding him to Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes would give us the best 3-4 Dline starters in the league.  You have to think versatility on this one.  Imagine the possibilities for our nickel package.  I heard this rumor that Peyton Manning received an early Christmas present in the form of Wes Welker.  We will need to get push in all of our sets, but I expect to be in nickel defense quite often.  The Tongan Lotulelei has a mean streak and is working on adding an arm over move to his repertoire.  I see no reason to not make what is already the strength of our team, the defensive line, as powerful as possible.

 

Round Two – Pick 15  (45):

Barrett Jones  C/G/RT   6’4″   306  Alabama – Jones can do it all as an offensive lineman.  He played every position on the offensive line, excluding left tackle.  He started 49 of his last 53 games and was part of a dominant line at Alabama.  Jones was the 2011 Outland trophy winner.  He would immediately start at guard as a rookie for the Chargers.  I would then expect him to slide to the center position when Nick Hardwick’s contract is up after this season.  He is not overly physical when taking on defenders but he is extremely sound technique-wise.  I expect he would fit very well in a zone blocking scheme.  If this helps any of the naysayers out there, Nick Saban has repeatedly compared him to Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.  When I heard that he said that I was immediat Enough said, in my opinion.

 

 

Round Three – Pick 14  (76):

Shamarko Thomas  SS  5’9″  213  Syracuse –  Thomas is not the ideal size for the strong safety position.  But what he lacks in height he makes up with speed and strength.  He ran a 4.42 forty yard dash at the combine while putting up 225 lbs 28 times.  He is an explosive hitter that is reminiscent of Bob Sanders.  But he doesn’t share the injury tendencies that formed the opinions, by some, as the only memorable mark that Sanders left. He’s a very instinctual player that could be a great asset under the tutelage of Eric Weddle.  He is a guy that could push for a starting job in his second year of the NFL is he progresses at a high pace.  I expect him to be quite the playmaker at the next level.

 

 

Round Three – Pick 16  (78) *acquired in trade with St. Louis Rams:

Kyle Long  OT   6’6″  313   Oregon – If you set aside Long’s pedigree –  son of Hall of Famer Howie Long and brother of Rams’ defensive end Chris Long –  you have an athlete to play offensive line for years to come.  This is another versatile athlete similar to the signings the Chargers have made in free agency.  He has played both left tackle and left guard.  I would prefer him at right tackle but it is still left to be seen whether or not the Bolts sign Eric Winston.  Long would not necessarily have to start in 2013.  That being said, I wouldn’t put it past him to work his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.

 

Round Four – Pick 13  (107):

Jon Bostic   ILB   6’1″  245  Florida –  Bostic is very physical and does not shy away from blockers.  He is a thumper-style linebacker and is very solid against the running game.  He is very physical and was a standout leader on the Gator defense.  I feel as though Bostic would be a great compliment to Donald Butler.  He is not consistent enough against the pass to be on the field for third down situations.  But I think he is a guy that would contribute immediately on special teams and push for a starting position halfway through his rookie campaign.

 

Round Five – Pick 12  (138):

Marcus Lattimore  RB  5’11”  221  South Carolina –  Despite Lattimore suffering one of the most gruesome knee injuries I’ve ever seen, this would be a huge steal.  Lattimore is not a speedy back and is still recovering from destroying his knee.  I expect him to fall to the fifth round due to his durability issues.  I just feel like there is something to this guy that will push him to succeed at the next level.  Getting him in the fifth would be a low-ish risk and extremely high reward situation for Lattimore.  He is also solid in pass protection and shows the effort needed to get better in this area.  This is Ryan Mathews’ last audition as a Charger, in my opinion, in the 2013 season.  I love the value that Lattimore could provide as a fifth round pick.  Value that the Chargers would only be able to take advantage of if he stays healthy.

 

Round Six – Pick 11  (169):

T.J. Barnes  NT  6’6″  369   Georgia Tech – Let me make this clear.  Barnes is insanely huge.  I also want to clarify that I trust my eyes more than I do some of the expert’s opinions.  I am not acting as though I know anything better than anyone.  But watching this giant go through drills at the combine had me wondering if I was seeing what I was seeing.  For a man his size, Barnes has very quick feet.  He is not overly strong but would most likely require two blockers due to his size alone.  There is a very good chance that he is drafted prior to the sixth round.  I have him here

 

 

Round Seven – Pick 15  (205):

Steve Williams   CB  5’9″  181  California –  Prior to judging this selection, check out what my thinking is for the 2013 season.  Derek Cox and Shareece Wright will be the starting cornerbacks.  Gilchrist will play the nickel and, perhaps, some multiple defensive back safety.  Williams is a guy that I feel could develop into a decent nickel corner in about 3 years.  He has good speed and utilizes his size to get low while taking on much bigger offensive players.  Don’t let his size fool you.  He is not afraid of contact which is evident by his 80 tackles as a senior at Cal.  I truly feel like Williams is a diamond in the rough player.  I don’t know that he’ll ever even make one pro bowl.  But I believe that he will have a solid career in the NFL.

 

UDFA:  Marcus Davis WR  6’3″ 233  Virginia Tech,  Ray Ray Armstrong SS  6’3″ 216 Miami,  Cooper Taylor  SS 6’4″  229 Richmond,  Damion Square DE  6’3″  293 Alabama,  Onterrio McCalebb  RB  5’10” 168  Auburn,  Knile Davis  RB  6’0″  227  Arkansas,  Sean Renfree  QB  6’3″  219  Duke,  Dustin Hopkins  K  6’2″  193  Florida State

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