If you think there is no sense of urgency in the San Diego
Charger camp, think again. The Chargers have signed all seven of their 2012
draft picks and although they have lost key offensive personnel to free agency
in wide receiver Anthony Jackson and fullback Mike Tolbert, AJ Smith has
reloaded with key free agent signings like former Saints wide receiver Robert
Meacham and former Denver wide out Eddie
Royal from the Broncos.
More importantly the
Bolts will not have top players holding out when training camp begins in July.
After failing to make the playoffs for the second year in a row in the 2011
season, many San Diegan’s were calling for Charger general manager AJ Smith and
head coach Norv Turner’s heads. Smith has responded with his best off season
yet as general manager of the Chargers and may have landed the best defensive
player in the draft in first round pick and 18th overall, Melvin
Ingram, an outside linebacker from South Carolina. And for the first time since
I can remember, all draft picks are signed in May, are in off season camp
and will be ready to roll when regular training camp arrives in July.
I hated to see Jackson go but filling Tolbert’s void may be
far more challenging. Not only was Tolbert a great change of pace at running
back spilling Ryan Mathews in key situations, Tolbert also was a key special
teams player for a very much improved special teams group in the 2011 season.
Bolt special teams were horrible in 2010 and cost the Chargers a trip to the
The Charger draft had great balance although Ingram is the
key player. Kendall Reyes the defensive end from Connecticut was the Chargers
second round pick and 49th player overall and is lauded as a quick
and versatile defender especially for his 6’4” 300 pound frame. LSU safety
Brandon Taylor was the captain on the Tigers physical defense and will be a
fantastic fit in the safety position alongside Eric Weddle.
It is Ingram who excites the Charger brass. Possibly the
most exciting defensive player since the late Junior Seau, Ingram is quick
fast, versatile and athletic enough that he could run the ball on offense if he
With the key retirement of offensive center Kris Dielman, AJ
went out and drafted the best center in college football in Michigan’s David
Molk, a 6’1” 290 pound 7th round pick. Molk may be thrown into the
fire immediately but his intelligence and work ethic will certainly give him an
excellent chance to excel
Robert Meacham, Eddie Royal and Roscoe Parrish all were free
agent signings to fill the void left at wide receiver with the departing of
Jackson. Parrish and Royal are also outstanding return men.
AJ Smith has put together a very talented group for Norv
Turner and his staff to compete with in 2012. I have not always agreed with
what Smith has done even though he was once alongside the late Charger GM John
Butler who I knew and loved and thought was the best general manager San Diego
has ever had. To Smith’s credit he rose to the challenged and put together his
best off season since taking over for Butler.
As always, the Bolts will be exciting on offense but
defensively, this team may be dangerous and certainly will be much improved off
of last year’s disappointing team. The Chargers are much better on paper. The
key? Can it transfer to on field performance.
About the Author
Written by Steve Perdue
Semi retired football and baseball coach after 30+ years at the high school and college level, I just graduated with BS/MS in Psychology with magna cum laude honors from Capella University on March 24. Blogging about the Chargers will be second nature to me since I have been a Charger fan all of my life.