Editor’s note: The draft will take place Thursday (Round 1), Friday (Rounds 2-3) and Saturday (Rounds 4-7) in New York.
As the NFL Draft kicks off today, fans of the San Diego Chargers are keeping a close eye on the Bolts to see which direction management goes in.
Do they address needs on the offensive line? Will they look to fill some holes in the secondary? Can the Chargers be looking for another offensive weapon in either the backfield or at the receiver position? What about another pass rusher? Lots of questions, with answers to come over the next several days.
Here are six possible directions the Chargers management may go in between now and the end of the draft (San Diego’s picks are 1st round – 18; 2nd round – 49; 3rd round – 78; 4th round – 110; 5th round – 149; 6th round – 183; 7th round 226 and 250):
Mark Barron (Alabama) – Part of the Crimson Tide’s national championship team this past season, Barron would definitely fill a hole in the secondary for the Bolts. The question, however, is will Barron be available come the time San Diego drafts at number 18? Don’t be surprised to see a last-minute move by the Bolts to work their way up further in the draft order to grab Barron, who could be nice in tandem with All-Pro Eric Weddle;
David DeCastro (Stanford) – Another major need for San Diego is on the offensive line in order to keep QB Philip Rivers in one piece. After a record-setting year for INT’s a season ago, plus the departure of Kris Dielman and Marcus McNeill, the Bolts need immediate help on the OL. DeCastro, who helped block for likely number one pick Andrew Luck, could have an impact immediately for San Diego at the guard position, so he may be too good to pass on if available. Just like with Barron, however, Bolts would likely have to trade up in order to grab DeCastro;
Harrison Smith (Notre Dame) – GM AJ Smith has also had his eyes on the safety from South Bend. Smith, who finished with seven INTs his junior year but none a season ago, may not have received the publicity that Barron has, but he’s likely to be coveted by a host of teams;
Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) – Kirkpatrick was also an integral part of the Crimson Tide’s run to a national title a season ago. The corner, though, may be better utilized as a safety for the team that chooses him, given his slender size at 190 pounds;
Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) – The outside linebacker could help pressure the opposing QB’s, as San Diego’s pass rush a season ago was about as successful as getting a summer heatwave going in Buffalo in mid-January. Some question his ability to hang with running backs once they break the first wave of defense. Ingram also started only one season in Columbia, so experience could be a factor too;
Mike Adams (Ohio State) – At 6’7″ and 325 pounds, this offensive left tackle is a good looking specimen that opposing defenses will have trouble with. The big question will be can he leave behind his off the field issues that haunted him with the Buckeyes? Adams was suspended for a pair of games and cited for possession of drug paraphernalia – the charges were dropped – in 2009, and was suspended the first five games of last season as part of the tattoo-parlor scandal. If he has his act together on the field, however, could be a nice fit for the Bolts in giving Rivers more protection.
As you know, there are countless other possibilities that the Chargers have been and will continue to pursue right up until the clock expires.
Whatever decisions the Bolts make, look for management to address the most pressing needs first and foremost, hopefully getting the team back to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus.