While Thursday’s upcoming draft is not the deepest at the middle linebacker spot, the San Diego Chargers may seriously want to consider adding some dept at the position. The Bolts as of now are not particularly deep talent wise at the defensive anchor spot.
Aside from primary special teamers the team has Donald Butler, Takeo Spikes, Jonas Mouton, and Demorrio Williams listed on the depth chart. While both Butler and Spikes did a very solid job in 2011 collecting 96 and 105 tackles respectively, they are not going to be paired together much longer. Spikes who is heading into his 15th year in the league has a lot of wear on his tires and will be 36 years old by season’s end. He has had a great career but age catches up to everyone. Butler on the other hand will be turning 24 this year and has shown a great deal of promise and should anchor down his spot for years to come. Mouton, 2nd year man out of Michigan, has a lot of potential and the Bolts are high on him, but has yet to produce at an elite level. Williams will be 32 before season’s start and has had a solid career but is nothing more than a temporary fix to the current problem.
While the Chargers have more pressing needs to address in the earlier rounds they should take a long look at linebackers in the later rounds. One who would be a very interesting selection would be Arizona State combine “no-show” Vontaze Burfict. While he electrified the college football world with his aggressive play style and hard-hitting in 2010, Burfict showed a significant drop in play in 2011. While this obviously raises concerns as the one-time-first round projection has tumbled towards the back of the draft, he still has limitless potential and talent waiting to be tapped. If the Chargers spent a 6th round pick on Burfict, the risk/reward factor would be well worth it.
Another backer to consider is TCU’s Tank Carder, who led the Horned Frogs to consistently having one of the nation’s top defenses. Whoever they hone in on, the middle linebacker spot should not fall by the wayside in the upcoming draft.