Grade : B+
Round 1 Pick 25 – Jason Verrett CB
Round 2 Pick 50 – Jeremiah Attaochu LB
Round 3 Pick 89 – Chris Watt G
Round 5 Pick 165 – Ryan Carrethers DT
Round 6 Pick 201 – Marion Grice RB
Round 7 Pick 240 – Tevin Reese WR
Last season, the Chargers had the 29th best defense against the pass. In case you need reminding there are only 32 NFL teams. What made things worse for the Chargers is that if you want to win the AFC Championship and go to the Superbowl you need to get past the Denver Broncos.
Or more specifically you need to beat Peyton Manning. You need to be able to defend against the pass. In the 2014 draft the Chargers sent about ensuring that they can stop the pass.
Cornerback Jason Verrett is certainly an upgrade at the cornerback position and overall is a big boost to the Chargers secondary. Verrett is quick, aggressive, has good instincts and has the agility to chop and change directions quickly. Although only 5'10'' tall he plays bigger then his size (he blocked a field goal in 2012) and regularly shut out the best receivers in the college game. Verrett could be a difference maker for the Chargers in 2014.
If Verrett was picked to limit the damage of the pass second round pick Jeremiah Attaochu LB was chosen to make sure that ball doesn't get into the air at all. The Charger's traded up with Miami for the number 50th overall spot in order to draft Attaochu and they get themselves a bargain.
For my money Nigerian born Attaochu has a good chance of going to the pro-bowl in his rookie year as an outside linebacker. 4-3 teams seem to have been put off Attaochu because he lacks the size to play defensive end whilst others have likely been turned off by his weaknesses against the run.
For the Chargers who play a 3-4 and need to get after the QB Attaochu is perfect. Last season he collected 45 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and 12.5 sacks. That will do the Chargers very nicely. The thought of Attaochu and Melvin Ingram playing together on the same defense in scary for offensive lines but great fun for everyone else.
Plus the chargers drafted Ryan Carruthers in round five. The 330 pound nose tackle munches up the run game for fun. Last season he cooked up 93 tackles and with Carruthers taking care of the runs up the center the Chargers can afford the luxury of player like Attaochu who is weak against the run.
The Chargers continued filling needs as the draft continued. Third round pick Chris Watt exemplifies this perfectly. The interior of the Chargers line is getting on a bit and Chris Watt is the sort of solid player who provides extra depth right now and will likely be a solid if unspectacular starter at either left or right guard for seasons to come.
Perhaps the most interest of the Chargers draft picks were WR Tevin Reese and RB Marion Grice. The Chargers needed to improve the wide receiver corp and rather than invest in a higher round draft pick they have taken two developmental projects in rounds 6 and 7.
Round 7 pick Reese is a quick undersized wide receiver who ran a 4.46 40-yard-dash at the combine and registered a vertical leap of 41''. He should be a vertical threat in the NFL provided he can add a great deal of muscle to his 165 pound frame.
Whilst RB Marion Grice could be a running back in the Darren Sproules mould. At ASU Grice had 91 combined catches and 14 receiving touchdowns in his entire collegiate career. In a stellar 2013 Grice accumulated 996 yards rushing, 438 yards receiving, and 20 total touchdowns. He is also a excellent kick returner. Grice could be a real bargain
in round 6.
With a limited number of draft picks the Chargers constructed a very well crafted draft that managed to both build for the future and fulfil the Chargers current needs. I just wish they had taken a wide receiver higher up in the draft. Can this draft push the Chargers even deeper into the playoffs though?
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