NFL San Diego Chargers

5 Potential First-Round Scenarios for the San Diego Chargers in 2014 NFL Draft

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5 Potential First-Round Scenarios for the San Diego Chargers

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

It’s debatable after the draft each year which team actually did the best at the league’s annual selection festivities. The best time to actually determine winners and losers from the NFL Draft, however, is after the season has been played and the rookies have had a chance to get their feet wet at the professional level.

With the 2013 season in the books, it seems fair to proclaim that the San Diego Chargers arguably received the biggest impact of any squad from their rookie class this past season. The Bolts were thought to have landed three immediate plug-and-play starters after the draft finished, and it turned out those assumptions were spot on as D.J. Fluker manned both right and left tackle during stretches of the season, Manti Te’o became a stalwart in the middle of the defense once healthy and wideout Keenan Allen was the best of the bunch as a third-round steal. The fact that Allen didn’t win Rookie of the Year was a bit of a sham actually as he became the most reliable pass catcher for quarterback Philip Rivers during the year and solidified himself as the team’s top receiver heading into 2014.

Though general manager Tom Telesco clearly gets two thumbs up for his inaugural draft class as the head personnel man with the Bolts, his 2014 class will be vital to continuing that success and building a consistent winner in San Diego. The team has several needs from nose tackle to offensive line and the secondary, and it is GM Telesco’s task to try and fill them all with limited resources this offseason.

There’s no question the draft will be a key part of that replenishment of talent, and any one of these five scenarios would really work out well for the Bolts in round one.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Trade Down and Select Keith McGill, CB, Utah

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Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Though it’s likely not what fans will want to see come draft day, trading down is often times the best way to maximize a haul from any given draft class. San Diego actually had conversations with Keith McGill at the Senior Bowl after watching the massive 6-foot-3, 214-pound cornerback do his thing at the collegiate All-Star event. The Seattle Seahawks provided the blueprint for a sizable successful secondary by winning the Super Bowl, and the Chargers are likely to try and be copycats this offeseason in overhauling their pass defense.

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4. Stay Put and Select Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This has been one of the stock picks for San Diego over the past month or so which is why it ranks lower on this list. That’s no slight on Justin Gilbert who has the potential to be one of the best corners from this class with his size (6-foot, 200-pounds) and ball skills on the edge. Getting a guy like Gilbert would go a long way toward helping repair a suspect secondary from the 2013 campaign. He’s still a bit unpolished in terms of his technique which makes him a little less desirable than some of the other prospects on this list.

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3. Stay Put and Select Dee Ford, LB, Auburn

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Another Senior Bowl standout, Dee Ford absolutely terrorized opposing tackles during the week in practice en route to an MVP-worthy performance in the game itself. His 6-foot-2, 243-pound frame is a bit on the small side for a rush outside linebacker at the NFL level, but his ability to get to the quarterback is undeniable. There’s no question the Bolts are in need of help in the pass rush department with the perennially disappointing Larry English finally set to the leave town, the aging and ailing Dwight Freeney’s status uncertain, Jarret Johnson not getting any younger and Melvin Ingram as the only true impact player coming off the edge. This pick would be a big help to a suspect secondary as well by not forcing them to cover as long on the back end due to the pressure.

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2. Trade Down and Select Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Back when the Bolts landed All-Pro safety Eric Weddle in the second-round, the team actually traded up to get him. This time around the preferred route would be moving down from round one to secure a mid second-round selection to land heavy-hitter Deone Bucannon out of Washington State. San Diego has really lacked a guy in the middle of the defense who can lay the lumber since Rodney Harrison left town, and landing a guy like Bucannon would add that presence to a secondary that sorely needs some added deterrence in terms of pass defense.

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1. Stay Put and Select Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame

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Matt Cashore-USA Today Sports

It’s a fairly simple concept really of building from the trenches back. This past season’s nose tackle Cam Thomas tried to solidify himself as a viable option moving forward, but his campaign was relatively disappointing as he didn’t hold up at the point of attack and failed to convince anyone that he is the man to hold down the middle of the defense moving forward.

Louis Nix III is the real enigma of the draft at this point with some projections having him going in the middle of round one and others having him sliding the whole way to the bottom or even out of the first-round altogether. It would be hard to believe that if a player with top 10 talent fell all the way to San Diego at No. 25 overall the team wouldn’t take him. He’s a massive space eater at 6-foot-3, 340-pounds the likes of which the Chargers hasn’t had since Jamal Williams departed back in the mid-2000s. There’s no doubt this would be the ideal fit for the team.

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