Mel Kiper Jr., the guru of all things NFL Draft (and hair gel), has released his second mock version of the upcoming real life version that takes place in April. For his first installment, Kiper had the San Diego Chargers selecting offensive tackle Eric Fisher to help alleviate some of the pressure on quarterback Philip Rivers. His second take didn’t really show much variation from the initial one in terms of where the Bolts should focus their attention.
The name may have changed, but the need being addressed did not. Kiper’s second mock has the Chargers taking Jonathan Cooper, guard from North Carolina to help sure up a shoddy line and reinvigorate what was a stagnant running attack in 2012. There really isn’t a position on the Bolts line outside of center stalwart Nick Hardwick where they don’t need help.
With Fisher’s draft stock now soaring after a stellar showing at the Senior Bowl, most believe he will be a top 10 pick. For the Chargers, that takes him off the table. That isn’t such a bad thing, however, as both guards Tyronne Green and Louis Vasquez are slated to become free agents. The Bolts will need to make some critical decisions regarding their futures with the franchise in the upcoming months.
In the switch to the zone blocking scheme, the Chargers will need more athletic guards who can move quickly and pull block on a regular basis. Both Green and Vasquez are less than mobile which may actually serve the team well in replacing them. Cooper would be a terrific fit at 6’3” 298lbs. with the athleticism to excel in space while still having enough lower body strength to anchor in pass protection. He uses textbook technique in his blocking and is often seen getting a block on more than one defender on any given play.
If Fisher is gone, this selection makes a lot of sense. San Diego must address their deficiencies along the offensive line this off-season with a serious overhaul in personnel. If the hair gel aficionado likes Cooper to the Bolts, it makes a lot of sense for the team in what is still early for this pre-draft process.