A crucial draft for the Chargers and A.J. Smith

By Kenny Gardner

The San Diego Chargers have the 18th, 17th, 15th, 15th, 14th, 13th, 19th and 43rd picks in rounds one through seven in the 2012 NFL Draft.  This will be A.J. Smith‘s 10th draft as general manager of the Chargers and is arguably his most important one.  San Diego needs to select a pass rusher on the defensive line, a strong safety for the future, add depth to the receiver position, add depth to the inside linebacker position and add depth to the cornerback position.  I suggested that San Diego should take 2011 NCAA sack leader Whitney Mercilus in the first round.

Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish strong safety Harrison Smith may not be available in the second round even if San Diego decides to trade up, and it could be a risk to take former Louisiana State Tigers strong safety Brandon Taylor because he is projected as a third round pick.  Brian Quick is a realistic option for a third round selection and had 71 receptions for 1,096 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions in 2011 for Appalachian State.

San Diego has not made the playoffs since the 2009 season and has not won a playoff game since the 2008 season.  This could be Smith’s last draft as San Diego’s GM and the last year for Norv Turner as San Diego’s head coach if the Chargers do not win at least two playoff games.  San Diego could make trades to get additional early round picks, which would help them get the best options for positions they were unable to improve at through free agency.



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