2014 NFL Draft: 5 Players San Diego Chargers Could Land with No. 25 Overall Pick

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5 Potential 2014 NFL Draft First-Round Targets

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There’s no doubt the San Diego Chargers are still a work in progress under the new regime of head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco. These two men led the Bolts to the most success the team has tasted in half a decade in year one, but the progress doesn’t end there.

Finding solutions to many of the issues that plagued the Chargers during the past campaign will be vital to this team continuing forward and not regressing in 2014. Addressing a lackluster secondary will obviously be one of the main focuses this offseason, but the offensive line is another area that could use some attention. Even a somewhat suspect run defense could really use a stopper up the middle to shore up that area of the team.

The 2014 NFL Draft will offer the Bolts an opportunity to address these issues and continue to build on what was an extremely successful 2013 draft class this offseason. GM Telesco had an outstanding first group of rookies to instantly solidify himself as the right man to make the personnel decisions for this franchise, but there’s no doubt coach McCoy has plenty of input on the players the team adds during the draft as well.

Just like the stellar additions found a year ago, this draft class will offer plenty of chances for the Chargers to improve on their weaknesses looking ahead to the upcoming season. On that note, here are five potential targets with the No. 25 overall pick that would help the Bolts take that next step and make an even deeper playoff run in 2014.

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5. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT

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He may be projected to go anywhere from the middle of the first-round to the latter stages, but there’s no question the Chargers would love to see D.J. Fluker’s former Alabama teammate Cyrus Kouandjio on the board when they’re put on the clock. At 6-foot-6, 310-pounds he would make a terrific bookend to pair with Fluker on the other side of the line and finally give quarterback Philip Rivers the adequate protection he’s deserved throughout his career. King Dunlap is still signed for the 2014 season, but concussions plagued him this past season and no one thinks he is an irreplaceable piece on the offensive front. Though it’s unlikely that he’ll still be available when the Bolts are selecting, it would certainly be a pleasant surprise if the left tackle were available.

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4. Cyril Richardson, OG

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Though the Chargers now employ a zone-blocking scheme that favors more agile offensive linemen, this 6-foot-5, 340-pound behemoth out of Baylor would be a nice compromise for the team. Cyril Richardson may be enormous, but he is surprisingly athletic for a player of his immense size. Of course he has the ridiculous physicality you would expect from a man so massive, but that doesn’t mean he can’t to the second level on blocks and pave the way for running backs down the field. His stock is currently borderline between a first and second-round selection, but if the pickings are slim the Chargers could definitely use some help on the interior of the line.

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3. Louis Nix III, NT

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In order to fix a defense with a weakness in the secondary, it might seem counter intuitive to start by adding a massive run-stuffer at nose tackle. That’s not exactly true, however, as taking away one aspect of an opponent’s arsenal entirely would put the defense in an advantageous position to focus on its weakest area. Though Louis Nix III might not address an immediate need currently, Cam Thomas’ impending free agent status could make this pick look much better if he walks for some decent money elsewhere. And given the way Thomas has performed on an on again, off again basis as a run-stuffer, maybe moving on in the right move for the Bolts.

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2. Justin Gilbert, CB

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Size is a key attribute for cornerbacks these days with the trees playing wide receiver around the league, and Justin Gilbert is one of the best examples of what the modern day corner needs to look like. At 6-foot, 200-pounds he has a large frame with a great wingspan to make plays on jump balls and prevent catches by the monsters he’s trying to defend on a weekly basis. He’s not going to run the fastest 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine and he isn’t going to wow anyone with his resume in man coverage, but Gilbert is super effective when lining up in zone and reading plays as they happen. The Chargers may have just allowed Quentin Jammer to leave via free agency last offseason, but they could find his doppelganger by drafting Gilbert as a replacement.

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1. Trade Down

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It might not be the most appealing choice to fans, but trading down could make the most sense given lack of players to fit the particular needs facing the Bolts this offseason at No. 25 overall. Clearly the board is bound to change between now and May 8 when the first-round actually takes place, but currently it looks like the Chargers could be left with lesser options to fit their needs at both corner and tackle. The team’s recent discussions with the top overall strong safety prospect Deone Bucannon of Washington State sort of hints at their desire to land him in round two and pair him with another former second-round pick in Eric Weddle. Those two would give the Bolts a truly formidable duo of safeties for the first time in a long time if that’s the route they choose. Given the value of an impact player on the back end in today’s NFL, it’d be hard to argue with sliding back into the early part of the second-round and adding a guy like Bucannon.

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