On the Clock: San Diego Chargers

March, 31, 2009
3/31/09
9:30
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Team needs: Safety, inside linebacker, defensive end, right tackle

 
  Tim Larson/Icon SMI
  San Diego could consider LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson if he is available at No. 16.

Dream scenario: San Diego is working from a position of strength. Yes, the Chargers have needs, but they won't be pigeonholed into selecting any one position. Because San Diego doesn't have a second-round pick, it could potentially trade down from the No. 16 spot down 5-7 picks (maybe to take advantage of a team trying to catch a falling star such as a quarterback) to pick up a second-round pick and still be able to find a player who could help right away. Expect the Chargers to seriously consider USC linebacker Rey Maualuga and LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson if they are on the board. If Alabama tackle Andre Smith, who is slipping down the board, tumbles all the way to No. 16, San Diego could take him and move him to right tackle, giving it a nasty offensive line.

Plan B: If there are no trade options available and Maualuga, Jackson and Smith are all off the board, the Chargers will still have plenty of options because of no pressing needs. They could look at Ohio State inside linebacker James Laurinaitis to solidify the linebacking crew. There is also some thought that the Chargers could pull the trigger on a running back, even though they have nearly $13 million in 2009 salary tied up in LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. The team is visiting with both Knowshon Moreno of Georgia and Chris "Beanie" Wells of Ohio State prior to the draft. The Chargers are clearly looking at their post-Tomlinson life, but seeing them draft a running back would be a surprise because of the lack of an immediate need. Still, whatever San Diego does, it should be able to help itself.

PollCenter: On the Clock
What is the San Diego Chargers' biggest positional need? VOTE

Scouts Inc. take: "I believe San Diego's biggest need is strong safety, but there is no one available who'll be worth taking at No. 16. The Chargers may address that need later in the draft. Some people say they may no longer need an inside linebacker after signing Kevin Burnett from Dallas. But I think it would be hard for them to pass up Rey Maualuga if he was there. Maualuga is a great two-down player and Burnett is a very good coverage linebacker who can help on third down. I think that would be a good combination there." -- Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: A.J. Smith enters his seventh draft as the Chargers' general manager.

Now On the Clock: Houston Texans, April 1.

Previous On the Clock: New York Jets. The team-by-team series.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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