With A.J. Smith and Norv Turner firmly on the hot seat prior to the start of the 2012 season, the two came together to produce a stellar draft. The majority of analyst give high grades to the Chargers’ draft along with the precluding offseason activity.
In the first round there was much discussion about what the team would do, move up for a safety, stay put and take a defensive end, outside linebacker or offensive linemen, or move back and collect more picks. A.J. ended up staying put feeling that there would be adequate talent to address the teams’ needs. He was right, in a big way. Melvin Ingram, the defensive stud out of South Carolina, ended up falling to the Chargers at 18. Most mock drafts had Ingram off the board by the 7th pick. The Bolts couldn’t have hoped for a better result in round 1. This pick addresses the most pressing need and should give the team a chance to relocate its identity as a top-tier pressure defense.
In the 2nd round the team had another pick fall to them in UConn’s DT Kendall Reyes. Believed to be a late 1st round talent he fell to the Chargers in the middle of the 2nd. Reyes along with Ingram will add to the defensive presence the Chargers have been missing and will immediately improve the teams defense. In the 3rd the team moved up 5 spots to get safety Brandon Taylor, who the team hopes will be able to take over the safety spot along side Eric Weddle.
The remainder of the Chargers’ picks included TE Ladarius Green who may be Antonio Gates’ heir apparent, OL Johnnie Troutman the only pick who didn’t make the most sense to everybody, David Molk the first team All-American center from Michigan, and Edwin Baker RB who many thought to be a 3rd - 4th round talent. All of these players have a very real chance at being on this year’s 53-man roster and making a definite impact. So far, it appears that A.J. Smith is feeling his seat cool just a smidge.