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NFL San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition

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San Diego Chargers' 7-Round Mock: Post-Combine Edition

Kevin Jairaj – USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers culminated their surprising 2013 season with a wild card playoff berth and a divisional playoff appearance. It was the franchise’s first playoff berth in four seasons and it was led by a resurgent year by franchise quarterback Philip Rivers. Not only was Rivers named the AP Comeback Player of the Year, but he ranked in the top five for completions, passing yardage, touchdowns and passer rating. Rivers was one of the elite quarterbacks in 2013.

The Chargers clinched a playoff berth with a wild overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. Although Rivers was impressive and running back Ryan Matthews finally proved he could be a starting running back in the NFL, the offense was inconsistent at times. Even worse, the defensive unit was a mess.

The unit ranked just 29th in pass defense and had just 11 interceptions in 2013 – 26th in the NFL. With the Chargers lining up in the 3-4 defense, you would expect the unit to have great pass rushers. That was not the case in 2013.

With key injuries to Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney, the Chargers’ pass rush was decimated by injuries. The unit had just 35 sacks, ranking 23rd in the NFL. Positions that will need to be addressed in order to ensure the Chargers remain a playoff contender will be the following: cornerback, outside linebacker and offensive guard.

The Chargers had a successful 2013 season, but the team needs to shore up the interior of the offensive line and its defense. There were too many games that were lost due to the weaknesses of these units.

Here is the Chargers’ seven-round mock draft following the combine.

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First Round - CB Jason Verrett

Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

Simply put, it is an absolute necessity the Chargers address their lack of quality cornerbacks with the No. 25 overall pick in the draft. Some might say a pass rusher at outside linebacker, but the team needs a consistent force to defend against quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Alex Smith in the AFC West. Welcome TCU's Jason Verrett to San Diego.

Verrett stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs 189-pounds. Some consider Verrett to be best suited as a nickel cornerback, but with the emphasis on three-wide receiver sets in today's NFL, nickel cornerbacks are just as valuable as pass rushers in today's pass-happy NFL. Verrett will provide the Chargers with a consistent force in the defensive backfield and will be an upgrade for the unit entering 2014.

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Second Round - OG Cyril Richardson

Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

The Chargers need to upgrade along the interior of the offensive line. Alabama's Cyril Richardson is their best bet in the second round. Richardson started 25 games at left guard during his collegiate career and also started 13 games at left tackle during his sophomore season. The Chargers' offensive line was hampered by injuries in 2013. Richardson provides the ability to start at left guard or left tackle, depending upon the Chargers' offensive line situation.

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Third Round - OLB Jeremiah Attaochu

Daniel Shirey - USA Today Sports

Jeremiah Attaochu of Georgia Tech has everything the Chargers want in an OLB/DE tweener. Attaochu played mostly at outside linebacker for the Yellow Jackets but also lined up as a defensive end. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2013 as he racked up 12 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.

Capable of playing in the stand-up or hand-in-the-dirt positions, Attaochu is a versatile tweener who can drop back into coverage and rush the passer. That is exactly the player the Chargers need to draft in the top rounds.

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Fourth Round - CB Keith McGill

Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

It’s an understatement to say that the Chargers’ three-man cornerback lineup of Derek Cox, Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall stunk up the joint. Likely the biggest reason which prevented the Chargers from being a true threat was the play of their defensive backfield.

The Chargers will spend two picks on corners in this draft, and the last one should be on Keith McGill of Utah. At 6-foot-3 and 211-pounds, he possesses great length to combat the taller receivers in the AFC West such as Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Dwayne Bowe. McGill also has experience playing on special teams units as the gunner.

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Fifth Round - DE James Gayle

Jeremy Brevard- USA Today Sports

The Chargers need pass rushers and they will continue to find them in the later rounds. Defensive end James Gayle of Virginia Tech started 53 games during his career with the Hokies. Gayle played out of the two-point and three-point stance and possesses the ability to play in the 4-3 or 3-4 defense as a pass rusher. That's a bingo for the Chargers. If Gayle can crack the defensive rotation in his rookie season, this will be one of their better picks.

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Sixth Round - DT Deandre Coleman

Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports

The Chargers have a need at defensive tackle because they have just two DTs under contract for 2014. Deandre Coleman of California has the talent to be a draft pick in the top three rounds, but the decreasing importance of defensive tackles in a pass-heavy NFL has decreased his stock. He will likely go in the sixth round.

Coleman’s specialty is as a run-stopper, and at 6-foot-5 and 314-pounds he has tremendous size. He can line up as a nose guard or a five-technique tackle. The Chargers get a value pick with Coleman in the sixth round.

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Seventh Round - QB Tajh Boyd

Rich Barnes - USA Today Sports

You can never have enough quality quarterbacks on an NFL roster. With backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst a free agent, the Chargers will draft a quarterback in the later rounds regardless of whether Whitehurst is re-signed or not.

Clemson’s Tajh Boyd was one of the most dynamic quarterbacks during his collegiate career. He was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and set conference records for touchdowns in a single game (eight) and a single-season (41).

The Chargers risk nothing with this pick.