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Thursday, April 16, 2009
Sound off responses

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The "sound off" question this week was, if the San Diego Chargers take a running back in the first round, who they should take, Georgia's Knowshon Moreno or Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells?

We get many, different answers. Many people hope the Chargers take Wells, who is bigger and more durable than Moreno. Many other people don't want the Chargers to draft a running back with the No. 16 pick. Instead, they want the Chargers to address defensive needs in the April 25-26 draft.

Below are some of your responses. Thanks to those who participated.

Brandon: First of all, AJ has been able to find RBs, and good ones [Sproles, Turner] and with the comp picks we picked up in the 4th round, it would make more sense to draft a RB there instead of the first round. As previously known, there already is a lot of salary cap going to RBs, and the Chargers do have more pressing needs. There are a number of better players that will be on the board that will help solidify the team. We aren't the Raiders. Al isn't drafting the best skilled player on O in our first rounds. Nor are we the Broncos. We don't trade away our future. Much like the Chiefs are doing, we build through the draft. Our needs are SS, DE / DT, G, and OT. Andre Smith, Jackson, or any other immediate impact player would be much better than a RB taking even more snaps away from our limited running game. To be honest, this is Rivers' team now, and with Norv for 1 more year, expect Rivers to excel beyond his previous seasons, our WR core is 1 one of the best in the league... Rivers put up more TDs than LT did during his record setting year. Just a thought.

San Diego: I'd like to see Moreno if a running back is picked, but I would much rather try to fill the hole Olshansky has left. That or trade down and grab Herman Johnson from LSU with the departure of Mike Goff.

Stephen from San Diego: Well, i'm still hoping that the bolts go defense (or OT) with #16, but if they HAD to go RB, i'm a little torn. I think Moreno might be the better all around back, but Wells has the speed/power mix. If they keep Sproles, Wells might work as a better complement. Wells injury history is an issue in my mind also.

BK from LA, CA: Re: Chargers: There is no question, if it is a back with the first round pick, it has to be Moreno. I don't trust Wells work-ethic and don't trust OSU backs in general. I would rather see the Bolts trade down but at the same time, if there is great value to be had at 16, it will be a rare chance that they get to pick that high.

Steven from Encinitas: While I would be shocked if the chargers spent their first pick on one of the top flight RBs, it seems like the best choice would be Beanie Wells. Drafting one of these two backs would signal the management's opinion of how long LT will remain a bolt, and Well's punishing style would provide a better 1 2 punch with Sproles' speed and agility than Knowshon Moreno.

Evan from San Diego: Bill, thanks for the daily updates, I check your blog everyday. Between Moreno and Wells, the choice would have to be Moreno. If the Chargers do draft an RB with #16 you're thinking long term replacement for LT, not a bruiser like Wells to compliment LT. Moreno is the more versatile and athletic back who is also better catching passes out of the backfield. Keep up the good work!

Matt from San Diego: Bill, The idea of taking an RB in the first makes me cringe! But if they're going to pick one of them, make it Beanie Wells. I have a bad feeling about Moreno. I don't think they're going to do this: it's all smoke. They might trade their first-rounder down (or trade off a player like Chambers) to try to get a 2nd rounder, and then use a third-rounder on a running back... but I think they need too much help on the line to spend their only first day pick on a skill position. Next year, different story, perhaps.

Nathan from Fort Worth, TX: The last position the Chargers should use in the 1st round is running back. They have depth and talent to get them through this year a possibly more. AJ Smith has a good track record of finding running backs in the middle rounds. Darren Sproles was drafted in the fourth round and Michael Turner was drafted in the fifth. The Chargers should draft the best available player that isn't a RB or QB in the first round, and sure up the RB position later in the draft if the right opportunity presents itself.

Dustin from Huntington Beach, CA: I believe Moreno would be a better pick than Wells for the chargers due to Wells injury history, and more importantly the fact that Moreno is a more all around back in the mold of an LT than Wells is. Obviously it would be pretty remarkable if Moreno is anywhere near as good as LT has been, but I believe he is a similar back and barring injury would have a chance to be very solid with the chargers. Finally, I think that Sproles is much more effective as a complimentary back than in a 2 back system and I think you would be able to use Moreno as your every down guy and keep Sproles role the same as it is now while still taking advantage of the big play potential he brings on special teams. I think Wells is more suited for a tandem than being an every down guy.

Dave Finley: Beannie all the way. We need a pounder, not another lightweight.

Mark from Oregon: The only thing that kept them out of the AFC champ or the SB was not being able to stop the run. Teams put together long drives and kept Rivers and Co off the field at the end of games. They need a defensive playmaker to stop these drives. Rey, Cushing, or maybe Jackson.

Ben from San Diego: Taking a runningback doesn't seem that bad of an idea, it would essentially lock up a healthy one for playoffs next year, I think the chargers don't want to have to depend on L.T.'s health or at least have it be an exuse again. Wells would compliment both L.T. and Sproles very well. I think that trio would be probably the most dangerous even more than Dallas.

Ross from San Diego: Bill, the Chargers taking a running back with their first round draft pick in two weeks would be a monumental mistake. Not only does the team have over 12 million dollars tied up in Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson (Not to mention Jacob Hester and Michael Bennett), but the running game wasn't a problem with the team last year. Sure, the running game wasn't what it has been accustomed to being in the past few years with Tomlinson hurt and the lack of a bruiser like Michael Turner or J
esse Chatman
, but the team still averaged 4.1 yards per carry, as opposed to 2007 when they averaged 4.2 yards per carry. With a healthy Tomlinson, that number is sure to rise in 2009. Add that to the fact that Moreno and Wells do not fit the profile for a Chargers running back (Neither have more than average receiving ability out of the backfield), and that's all the reason you need to not waste the Chargers' only first day pick on a running back, when someone like Tyson Jackson or Rey Maualuga, who will start immediately, are still on the board. When you look at the problems with the 2008 Chargers, it's the defense, not the offense.

Steve from San Diego, CA: I'd have to say Chris Wells. It's a perfect one-two punch with him and Sproles. Of course I'm looking down a year or two with LT still carrying the majority of the load this season. If Chargers are shopping Sproles for draft picks (wink-wink) they would be better off with Moreno who can be the slasher alongside LT and eventually take over for LT.

Adam K from Cedar Rapids, IA: If I were the San Diego Chargers, I would do neither because they need another playmaker on defense. However, if I were to pick between Beanie Wells and Knowshon, I think it's a no-brainer. It has to be Beanie Wells. The Chargers already have a future HOF in LT and another proven speedster in Darren Sproles. Both of those guys are more finesse running backs. What could help is a bruiser like Wells. He see's a hole and attacks. Barring any injuries, he could be a legit 1,000 yard rusher on any team.

Huntington Beach CA: I would like to see San Diego Draft Chris Wells. He is a great downhill runner and would be an excellent compliment to Sproles. I think the Chargers should let Wells develop this year sign Sproles to a multi-year contract. That would leave San Diego with a great "thunder and lighting" combination after LT leaves.

Millhouse from Los Angeles: Personally, I'd rather have the team draft an RB with one of their three fourth round picks, but between those two, I'd have to go with Moreno because he's more versatile. He's better at catching the ball out of the backfield and considering how the Bolts like to use LT and Sproles, Moreno could contribute right away. Knowshon can also run inside just as well as he can on the outside. I don't think you could go wrong with either back though. I'd much rather see Oher, Andre Smith, Jenkins, or Jackson holding that number '1' jersey come draft day though!

Will from Americas Finest City: Bill, this is a very easy decision for the Chargers to make.Chris "Beanie" Wells is the smartest choice because he compliments the existing offense already in place. San Diego is missing that 4th down back that can punch thru the defensive line and Wells has that explosive power. Moreno is a good back, but we already have 2 finesse backs in LT and Sproles. Look at it this way, before Michael Turner left, the Chargers had the perfect trio of backs that complimented each other. Could you imaging the Chargers getting that explosive power back with Wells? If they do infact draft Wells, how can you not consider this the most stacked offense in all of football?

Stan: There's more likelihood of a trade down than the draft of a running back at that position. If they keep the pick, and one of the top four OT is there, that's where they will go; otherwise, best defensive player available

Steve from Atlanta: Hey Bill, I read your blog daily. Being a Charger fan in Atlanta I have followed Moreno and would choose him. Moreno seems more versitle, he can catch out of the backfield and is very athletic in the open field. I haven't seen much of Wells; but he reminds me of a Marion Butts or Natrone Means. A big guy who you will only get 3-4 good years out of because while he is punishing defenses he will take a beating. Once again, Moreno... No question about it.