Old guys who are under-performing and getting paid too much usually stop receiving any money at all from their current teams in March, especially if said team is struggling, and thus rebuilding.
The San Diego Chargers are among the teams going through that financial metamorphosis this offseason, with Antonio Garay, Takeo Spikes, and Quentin Jammer jettisoned, while Louis Vasquez — Philip Rivers’ all-important blind-side protector — was allowed to walk.
The needs on this roster are widespread, as a guard, cornerback, safety, and pass rusher are all a possibility in the first round at 11th overall. Jeremy Meyer from Bolt Hype knows the name he’d like to hear on April 25.
1. There are glaring holes in multiple places on the defensive side of the ball. Which one should be the priority? The Chargers should have a shot at the second best cornerback in the draft (Xavier Rhodes), and arguably the best strong safety (Kenny Vaccaro).
The Chargers have had glaring holes for a while, but the new team management has made great strides to improve the defensive side of the ball. But I personally believe they should go after Vaccaro to add more power and skill to the strong safety position since they already signed Derek Cox as an upgrade at cornerback.
2. If they’re both available, who’s the better pick between Alec Ogletree and Star Lotulelei? Both would address needs and provide youth at key positions after Takeo Spikes and Antonio Garay were released.
One, I do not believe that both will be available, and even if they are when the Chargers pick 11th in the first round, they still need to add more talent at left tackle to protect the franchise quarterback. The Chargers should focus on that first, but the team does need more help at the linebacker position.
The thing is, Ogletree may not be strong enough for the NFL game, even if he is agile, fast, and flexible, and the biggest concern is his character. The Chargers can’t afford to take a risk early in the draft. Now, Star Lotulelei is a natural at his position. He has a great extension, and draft experts say that he’s a great athlete for someone his size at 6’3″, and 310 pounds. So, I say they should go with Lotuleilei over Ogletree, even if they just signed King Dunlap to a two-year contract.
3. What about a guard early if Chance Warmack or Johnathan Cooper are available? Tom Telesco will surely want to replace Louis Vasquez, but the defensive holes seem far more glaring. Should he wait until the second round?
No, since they signed Rich Ohrnberger in the offseason. There’s no need to waist draft picks on a guard, when a veteran was signed. But Johnathan Cooper is the better choice of the two after he played in the SEC for Alabama. He has great arm strength, and his shock value is a great asset to an offensive line that has not been very shocking. But Warmack has some of the same strengths, although his lack of height and bulk will be a problem at the NFL level.
If Telesco goes in this direction and considers a guard, I’d pick Warmack.
4. Will support for Ryan Mathews be pursued in the middle rounds, or was that need sufficiently addressed with the addition of Danny Woodhead?
Woodhead and Ronnie Brown should give Mathews the needed support to solidify the backfield. But the Chargers should still go after Stephen Taylor from Standford if he’s available in about round four.
5. Are there any late-round sleepers you’re eying?
I don’t know if he’s a sleeper, but I like Kenjon Barner from Oregon. He needs to bulk up to make sure that he can break tackles, but he has the natural ability to play the game.