Let me be honest with you, one of my biggest guilty pleasures is the NFL Draft. To say that I love it would be a drastic understatement. This time of year I eat, drink and breath draft coverage. I don’t know what it is- whether it is the possiblity of snagging that sure thing in the first round like Ndamukong Suh last year, or hitting on an un-drafted player like the Packers did with corner back Sam Shields. I love everything about it, I even love what my wife considers one of the most boring things ever put on TV, the NFL combine. If I am being this honest I might as well tell you that I even keep a notebook, categorized by positions and I rank each player, since I don’t get to go see the players with my own two eyes, I simply read everything written about them by the helmet head on ESPN’s website and anything else I can find. Then, a week before the draft I throw out all their rankings and come up with my own. That said, I really really love the draft.
Now onto the Chargers and their draft needs. In past years we have had the luxury of being able to say that we have no real needs and with that, the assumed strategy has been to go with the most talented player on the board, rather than drafting for “needs”. Well that has not exactly worked out. And so now as we come to this year’s draft, to some extent you can say that we don’t really have any needs, you know, real holes, and yet at the same time we kind of need one of everything. From our strongest position to our weakest they can all either use an improvement or a young back up just in case. Even at T.E. where we have one of the greatest to ever suit up at the position, as much as it pains me to say it, he is a bit of a glass man. Don’t get me wrong he is as tough as anyone and will play through the pain but it seems like every year there is a considerable amount of pain to play through.
And so where are the biggest areas for improvement? I would start by saying at the defensive end, while Jacques Cesaire is not a complete liability, he is starting to seem as wimpy as his French name would lead you to believe. He has been serviceable and yet has been no where near a play maker or a game changer. With the defensive end position in a 3-4 you typically either want another defensive tackle who is going to eat up blockers or a guy who is a bit more explosive and can occasionally get to the QB. With Jacques Ceaire you kind of have a guy that can do both and neither at the same time.
Therefore, I would say that the Defensive end spot is our biggest need. There are some great options coming out of the draft and yet there are really only two that I would consider being worth the first round pick and both are named Cameron. The one that I like more because of his upside is Cameron Heyward out of Ohio State, he is 6’5 278 lbs and can definitely wreak some havoc. The two big concerns with him are: whether or not he can give a consistent effort throughout the game, and whether or not there will be any more off the field issues. That said, I think at this point he would be my first choice. The other is Cameron Jordan out of Cal who is listed at almost the exact same size only about a half inch shorter. The truth is that he is higher on most peoples’ boards; but my guess is that it is only because of the two concerns that I listed above about Heyward. Jordan is a great player too. I would not consider him quite as much of a play maker as the other Cameron but in my opinion he still would be a good choice for the position.
If you look at the charts there are some other guys who are listed as early first round possible defensive ends but they are more of a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside line backer, which might be our second biggest area for improvement. I think that is enough for today, I will hit on that next time.
About the Author
Written by Jeff Burke
I am 25 years old living in sunny San Diego. I am married to my beautiful wife Kara. I have been a Chargers and Padres fan through the good times and the bad. I played baseball at Poway high school and Monterey Peninsula college. I have won eight fantasy championships on yahoo since 2001.