One of the more difficult draft minds to predict belongs to San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith.
Smith has made plenty of first-round picks made by that have been under the radar. Few expected him to take Illinois defensive end Corey Liuget last season or Northern Illinois pass-rusher Larry English in 2009.
Don’t be surprised if Smith springs another surprise this year with the Chargers' No. 18 pick.
A lot of people (myself included) think the Chargers will take a pass-rusher such as Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus, Syracuse’s Chandler Jones or USC’s Nick Perry or an offensive lineman such as Stanford’s David DeCastro or Georgia’s Cordy Glenn.
But I think it would be a mistake to simply think in such a limited scope.
If Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd is available, I could see him being the choice despite the heavy focus on receivers in free agency. Floyd is a special talent and the Chargers like him.
San Diego could also draft a cornerback such as Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick or South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore. Cornerback isn’t a major need area, but if the Chargers like a certain player there, a case could be made.
I know the Chargers like their inside linebackers, so maybe Smith will nab Alabama’s Dont'a Hightower. Why can’t an impact defender be a classic inside 3-4 linebacker?
What does this all mean?
We’re dealing with Smith and that means everything is on the table, pressing needs or not.