April 30th, 2013
The San Diego Chargers have played at a mediocre level each of the past three seasons, and missed the playoffs in each. As a result, the Chargers' ownership decided to do something about it. The Chargers fired the long-tenured Norv Turner and brought in Mike McCoy, who was the Broncos' offensive coordinator last year. Also, a new GM was brought in to help upgrade the San Diego's roster. While we do not know yet how McCoy will fare as a head coach, it is almost certain that the hiring of Tom Telesco as the new GM was the right move. Under the leadership of Telesco, the Chargers not only had their best draft since 2001, but they also had the best draft of any NFL team this year. Here is how the Chargers hit the jackpot.
1st pick: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama, #11 overall in the 1st round
Offensive tackle was a major need for San Diego and franchise quarterback Philip Rivers. Fluker is a big tackle from the tough SEC, and is coming off of 2 BCS Championships. Since Mike McCoy is a former offensive coordinator and is now the head coach, a tackle that would help the offense through run blocking and pass protecting was needed for his scheme. Fluker does both well, and he was worth using a first round pick on.
2nd pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame, #38th overall in the 2nd round
Anytime the Chargers select a linebacker whose last name sounds like "Hey, Ow", San Diego fans should get excited (see Junior Seau). Manti Te'o was a top-10 prospect and Heisman trophy finalist who dropped out of the first round because of one bad game and an embarrassing off the field issue. Te'o fills a need at inside linebacker, a position whose players are dubbed "quarterbacks of the defense". Te'o will undoubtedly help this defense A LOT!
3rd pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California, 76th overall in the 3rd round
Keenan Allen was thought to be a first round pick, but he dropped all the way to the 76th spot due to a poor performance at the NFL combine. There was no chance that the Chargers, who are short on play-making targets for Philip Rivers since Vincent Jackson left, would pass on Allen. Allen has all of the skills to be a great wide receiver in the NFL, and should make an impact in the offense early. In a seemingly anti-skill position draft, Allen could prove to be better than any of the wide receiver selected before him.
4th pick: Steve Williams, CB, California, 145th overall in the 5th round
The selection of Steve Williams filled a San Diego need in the secondary, a place where Williams' speed will help cover the speedy AFC wide receivers. The Chargers will especially need Williams when they face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. I would have liked for the Chargers to have gotten a starting corner, though, like Terry Hawthorne, but this was a solid 5th round pick.
5th pick: Tourek Williams, DE, FIU, 179th pick overall in the 6th round
The Chargers made a VERY good pick by getting a speedy pass rusher in Tourek Williams. Williams will learn behind Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget, but he will definitely see some action in big games. Now, with a ferocious pass rush that can pressure opposing quarterbacks every down, defensive backs like Eric Weddle will be able to make big plays in the San Diego secondary.
6th pick: Brad Sorenson, QB, Utah State, 221st pick in the 7th round
With their 7th round pick, the Chargers opted to get a third-string quarterback in Brad Sorenson. The virtually unknown Sorenson could be a late-round steal for the Chargers and is a great pocket passer. Sorenson will learn a lot from Philip Rivers and could be the next Tom Brady. I am actually interested to see preseason games.