Shawne Merriman was a first round pick for San Diego in 2005. Merriman missed 15 games in 2008, was not the same when he returned from injury, was placed on waivers and claimed by the Buffalo Bills.
Luis Castillo was a first round pick for the Lighting Bolts in 2005. Castillo missed six games in 2006, missed six games in 2007, missed 15 games in 2011 and was eventually released last year.
Antonio Cromartie was San Diego’s first round pick in 2006. After an All-Pro season in 2007, Cromartie played the 2008 season with a broken hip. Cromartie’s effort was questioned in a playoff loss during the 2009 season and he was eventually traded to the New York Jets prior to the 2010 season.
Craig Davis was San Diego’s first round pick in 2007. Davis missed 12 games in 2008 and missed nine games in 2010 before he was released in 2011.
Larry English was a first round pick for the Chargers in 2009. English missed eight games in 2010 while he missed 11 games during the 2011 season.
San Diego completed a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up and select Ryan Mathews in 2010. Mathews missed four games as a rookie and missed four games last season after breaking his clavicles.
Antoine Cason was San Diego’s first round pick in 2008 and he is the only one after 2004 to play more than two seasons with San Diego and avoid a major injury.
While 2011 first round pick Corey Liuget has avoided a major injury so far and 2012 first round pick Melvin Ingram did not miss a game in 2012, only time will tell if they are able to be effective and stay healthy.
Smith was fired after 10 seasons as San Diego’s general manager and Tom Telesco will take over for him. It will be interesting to see if Telesco selects guys who avoid injuries and are effective in the league.