Evan Silva

Draft Analysis

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NFL Draft Needs: Chargers

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback


Silva's analysis


There wasn't a team in football with less effective cornerback play last season. Shareece Wright, Richard Marshall, and Derek Cox finished 1-2-3 on the Chargers in cornerback snaps, and all three ranked among Pro Football Focus' bottom-ten CBs, out of 110 qualifiers. Cox was cut, Marshall is back on a veteran minimum deal, and no upgrades were made due to cap limitations.


Norris' options


First day option: Jason Verrett, TCU - Do not pigeon hole Verrett as solely a slot corner. He is so much more. I know he is under 5’10”, but Verrett plays the ball at the catch point better than any other corner in this class thanks to vision, anticipation, aggression, and timing. He deflected, broke up, or intercepted one out of every three targets thrown his way in 2013. Verrett has a real chance of being the top corner from this class.


Second day possibility: Terrance Mitchell, Oregon - Mitchell is one of my favorite third- or fourth-round picks. I know he ran a 4.6+ forty at the Combine, but he allowed a low completion percentage on intermediate and vertical passes, per Greg Peshek. Mitchell played at a high level as a press corner or when giving his opposition space at the line of scrimmage.


Third day flier: Bene Benwikere, San Jose State - Benwikere has slot experience, something that is tough to find out of the college level. These types of prospects have to be cool in trash, as their vision might be blurred playing in tight spaces. Benwikere has very good ball skills. Some think he is on the path to moving to safety.


No. 2 Team Need: Nose Tackle


Silva's analysis


San Diego coughed up 4.59 yards per carry in 2013, the sixth highest clip in the NFL. Incumbent NT Cam Thomas left for Pittsburgh, while journeyman-type Sean Lissemore is left atop the depth chart at nose. Cornerback and "zero technique" are easily the biggest weaknesses on what otherwise should be an improved Bolts defense. DC John Pagano needs a space eater inside.


Norris' options


First day option: Louis Nix, Notre Dame - Nix is the only true zero-technique who should be selected in the first-round. In fact, I consider him a top 15 talent. Not only can Nix hold the point of attack to free up other defenders, he can reset the line of scrimmage when single blocked and shed to make a play at the line. I think Nix’s evaluation is more what he showed in 2012 rather than 2013.


Second day possibility: DaQuan Jones, Penn State - Jones is not frequently mentioned for this position, but I believe his skills could fit it. Jones can anchor very well, bending at the knee and absorbing in his lower half. I see a strong upper body and active hands with the hopes of creating separation and shedding.


Third day flier: Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss - I will go on record saying I would rather have Thornton in the fifth-round than draft Timmy Jernigan in the second. Thornton is more of an upfield penetrator thanks to his explosive first movements. He definitely needs to improve his backfield vision, however.


No. 3 Team Need: Wide Receiver


Silva's analysis


Rookie GM Tom Telesco stole Keenan Allen in last year's draft, but the rest of San Diego's wideout corps is subpar at best. Middling slot receiver Eddie Royal had to take a pay cut to return. Vincent Brown played so poorly in '13 that his roster spot may be in danger. Reports indicate 32-year-old Malcom Floyd's neck injury is career threatening, and Danario Alexander is a free agent. Complementing route-running maven Allen with a big-play perimeter threat would make sense.


Norris' options


First day option: Cody Latimer, Indiana - Latimer continues to draw first-round buzz. He checks many of the boxes: big, fast, strong and has a game that is progressing. I wish Latimer created a bit more separation on the ground, but he fights for positioning and rarely drops the ball. He flashes strength after the catch.


Second day possibility: Martavis Bryant, Clemson - Perhaps the most intriguing receiver in this class if the progression continues, Bryant has tons of straight-line speed and appeared to take a step forward down the stretch. He might take a Torrey Smith-like path, in terms of focusing on vertical routes early on while gaining more comfort in routes and contested catches.


Third day flier: Chandler Jones, San Jose State - Jones is a true day three pick, possibly even the sixth- or seventh-round. He isn’t overly exciting in any area, but Jones has enough speed, can time catches to win over corners, or work in the slot.


Video: Norris on San Diego's top need


Chargers 2014 Draft Picks (7)


First Round (No. 25)

Second Round (No. 57)

Third Round (No. 89)

Fourth Round (No. 125)

Fifth Round (No. 165)

Sixth Round (No. 201)

Seventh Round (No. 240)


Current Chargers First-Team Offense


QB: Philip Rivers

RB: Ryan Mathews

WR: Keenan Allen

WR: Eddie Royal

TE: Antonio Gates

TE: Ladarius Green

LT: King Dunlap

LG: Chad Rinehart

C: Nick Hardwick

RG: Jeromey Clary

RT: D.J. Fluker


Current Chargers First-Team Defense


RE: Corey Liuget

LE: Kendall Reyes

NT: Sean Lissemore

ILB: Manti Te'o

ILB: Donald Butler

OLB: Dwight Freeney

OLB: Melvin Ingram

LCB: Shareece Wright

RCB: Richard Marshall

FS: Eric Weddle

SS: Marcus Gilchrist



Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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