Saturday, April 6, 2013
San Diego Chargers draft options
By Bill Williamson
Let’s take a look at some possible targets of the San Diego Chargers, who have the No. 11 pick in the April 25-27 draft:
TAVON AUSTIN, RECEIVER, WEST VIRGINIA
Why is he a top prospect? He is ultra-fast and a big-time playmaker. Great film and great workouts.
How would he help? He could give some much-needed life to San Diego's offense -- a nice fit for a group that needs a smallish-type receiver.
What are the risks? He is tiny at 5-foot-8, 173 pounds. Teams always worry whether little guys can make the transition to the rigorous NFL.
How he could be the choice: I think he’d be a backup plan. But Austin would fill a need, and San Diego could be tempted to add an explosive piece.
JONATHAN COOPER, GUARD, NORTH CAROLINA
Why is he a top prospect? A player with few holes. Alabama guard Chance Warmack is one of the highest-rated guards to come into the NFL in years. Some scouts think Cooper is just as good.
How would he help? The Chargers have big needs on the offensive line. Cooper would be an instant starter.
What are the risks? Do you want to take a guard that high? Top guards are typically available later in the draft.
How he could be the choice: If the Chargers think he is better than Warmack or if Warmack is taken in the top 10, Cooper could be the pick if the left-tackle options are gone.
TYLER EIFERT, TIGHT END, NOTRE DAME
Why is he a top prospect? Huge target who has everything you look for in a tight end -- speed, hands and the ability to block.
How would he help? Antonio Gates is getting older and has long dealt with health issues. Eifert could help as an immediate weapon and as a long-term answer.
What are the risks? Taking a tight end at No. 11 might be a bit high.
How he could be the choice: Another backup option. Could be a target if the Chargers trade down.
D.J. FLUKER, TACKLE, ALABAMA
Why is he a top prospect? He is a massive man at 6-4, 335 pounds. You need to buy a passport to complete the trip around him.
How would he help? He projects as a right tackle in the NFL. He’d start right away.
What are the risks? The Chargers need a left tackle and a guard more than a right tackle. Fluker might be too clunky for a unit that wants to get sleeker.
How he could be the choice: If the Chargers love him more than some other linemen, he could be the selection.
LANE JOHNSON, LEFT TACKLE, OKLAHOMA
Why is he a top prospect? The former quarterback is super athletic, strong and fast. A sky-is-the-limit type.
How would he help? He would step in and be the Chargers’ left tackle.
What are the risks? There is real concern the Cardinals could take him at No. 7. Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are expected to be taken among the top five picks.
How he could be the choice: If Johnson is there, he very likely will be the choice.
STAR LOTULELEI, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, UTAH
Why is he a top prospect? Stellar anchor to a defensive line. He is versatile and productive.
How would he help? He would be a great nose tackle on what would be a great, young front three with ends Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes. A potentially awesome trio.
What are the risks? There were major health concerns when tests at the NFL combine in February showed Lotulelei had heart issues. He has been cleared; still, there would be worries in the back of some teams’ minds.
How he could be the choice: If Johnson is gone, I think the Chargers would have a hard time passing on this Star if he is on the board at No. 11.
DEE MILLINER, CORNERBACK, ALABAMA
Why is he a top prospect? Fast, polished, NFL-ready cover cornerback who has succeeded at the highest level.
How would he help? Milliner could step in and start along free-agent pickup Derek Cox, giving the Chargers a nice cornerback tandem.
What are the risks? He very well could be taken in the first six picks -- perhaps as high as No. 3 to Oakland.
How he could be the choice: If he is available, I think the Chargers will think long and hard about Milliner.
ALEC OGLETREE, LINEBACKER, GEORGIA
Why is he a top prospect? He is a freakish athlete who makes big plays. Top middle linebacker in the draft.
How would he help? He would be an inside linebacker in the 3-4 and be yet another excellent young front-seven player in San Diego.
What are the risks? He has a recent drunken driving arrest and other off-field concerns.
How he could be the choice: A backup plan. He could be intriguing if the Chargers drop back a few spots.
KENNY VACCARO, SAFETY, TEXAS
Why is he a top prospect? He can hit, run and cover.
How would he help? An Eric Weddle-Vaccaro safety tandem would be strong. It would give a nice identity to San Diego’s defense.
What are the risks? The 11th pick might be too high for a safety this year, considering it is a deep class.
How he could be the choice: Again, he might be an option if the Chargers slide back a few picks.
CHANCE WARMACK, GUARD, ALABAMA
Why is he a top prospect? A classic guard who has a chance to be dominant.
How would he help? He’d be the Chargers' best offensive lineman.
What are the risks? He might be off the board.
How he could be the choice: I think the Chargers will go into draft day envisioning Warmack as a real possibility to wear a lightning bolt on his helmet.