NFL San Diego Chargers

2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the San Diego Chargers

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2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for the San Diego Chargers

Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

It was another disappointing season for the San Diego Chargers in 2012, as the team continuously found ways to lose games, ultimately finishing with a 7-9 record in what was easily the worst division in the NFL. The silver lining of the season is that it was finally enough to fire head coach Norv Turner and replace him with Mike McCoy, one of the best offensive-minded young coaches in the sport. With McCoy in place, a new era in San Diego is about to commence.

Thus far the Chargers have yet to make a splash in free agency, so the changes that need to be made before the start of the 2013 season will have to come in the draft. San Diego is in the enviable position of not needing to draft a quarterback in such a weak year at that position. However, Philip Rivers has already shown signs of decline and may not have more than two or three years left in which to get the Chargers in a position to get to the playoffs and make a run. Furthermore, San Diego has a long way to go to reach the Denver Broncos, and they may have a fight on their hands with the Kansas City Chiefs for second place in the division. That means the Chargers have to make improvements quickly and do what they can to help out Rivers as much as possible.

Obviously, the Chargers can’t afford to ignore their defensive needs, but this should be an offensive-heavy draft for them. Let’s take a look at their draft priorities, and see what they’ll be doing to help support Rivers this season:

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5. Wide Receiver

Christopher Hanewinckel - USATODAY Sports

The Chargers have made a few moves this offseason to add depth at wide receiver, but they’d still like to give Philip Rivers another target to throw to. They have Malcom Floyd as a reliable playmaker and got a promising effort from Danario Alexander last year, but Rivers is going to need more than that. They pick early enough in the third round to get a quality receiver, but they may be willing to wait another round or two after that before they try to add an offensive playmaker.

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4. Defensive Tackle

Chuck Cook - USATODAY Sports

Defensive tackle isn’t a huge need for San Diego, but if things fall through on some of their other needs in the second and third rounds, they may look to bolster an already strong defensive line. There are several rather large, space-clogging defensive tackles available, and if the Chargers can grab one of them to put in between Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, they could have one heck of a defensive front in place for years to come.

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3. Cornerback

Chris Humphreys - USATODAY Sports

The Chargers didn’t exactly have a great secondary last year, and they really need to get younger at the cornerback position. There should be a few good options available for them in the second round. If not, then they’ll need to scout well and look for a steal later in the draft, because Quentin Jammer is getting on in years and may not be re-signed. The Chargers will need to add a cornerback at some point during the draft.

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2. Offensive Guard

David Butler II - USATODAY Sports

San Diego had a myriad of issues and injuries with its offensive line last season, and they need to get some stability up front. If there’s a chance to add a top-notch guard like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper in the first round, the Chargers may take it. But it may be more important to draft multiple guards to try to build some depth along the offensive line as a way to protect themselves from some of the issues they had last year.

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1. Left Tackle

Jake Roth - USATODAY Sports

The best thing the Chargers can do to help Philip Rivers is to get someone who can help protect is back. If either Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson drops outside the top 10, expect San Diego to jump on them with the 11th overall pick. But if that doesn’t happen, they may need to reach for someone in either the second or third round, because they need a left tackle and they need one that can start right away. They must prevent Rivers from getting sacked the second most times of any quarterback in the league, as was the case last year.