2011 NFL Draft | San Diego Chargers Team Needs
The San Diego Chargers got off to a slow 2-5 start in 2010. Nothing new there, right? Well, for the first time in seemingly forever, the Chargers were never able to fully recover, and missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
Injuries were a major problem for the Chargers all season long, as Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd and others seemed to be nicked up all season long. It also didn’t help that former Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson missed the first 11 weeks of the season because of a contract dispute.
The AFC West is still a very winnable division, and the Chargers are likely to be the odds-on favorite to reclaim their crown in 2011.
Biggest Needs: WR, T
As mentioned above, the Chargers’ pass-catchers had problems staying healthy last season. While Philip Rivers was still able to put up huge numbers, offensive stability is a must in the NFL.
Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd will be free agents, and, while Antonio Gates is still the primary pass-catcher when healthy, a true No. 1 wide receiver is necessary. The Chargers have some more pressing needs that they’ll likely address with their higher picks, and there are some decent receiving prospects to keep an eye on in the later rounds.
North Carolina’ Greg Little, LSU’s Terrence Toliver, Oregon’s Jeff Maehl and Miami’s Leonard Hankerson may be of some intrigue.
The team also has a hole at right tackle. Jeromey Clary isn’t terrible, but more stability is needed. Gabe Carimi, Ben Ijalana and DeMarcus Love are some names to watch.
Biggest Needs: DE, OLB, ILB, SS
San Diego has far more problems on defense than on offense.
For one, they’ve lacked a difference-maker at defensive end since Igor Olshansky bolted for Dallas a couple of years ago. 3-4 defensive ends don’t grow on trees, but Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward, Wisconsin’s J.J. Watt and North Carolina’s Marvin Austin fit the bill.
San Diego is also in need of some young blood in the linebacking corps. LOLB Shaun Phillips is a productive player off-the-edge, but they could upgrade the other three spots at the position. Von Miller, Justin Houston and Jabaal Sheard are some top-tier outside linebacker prospects. On the inside, guys like Martez Wilson and Greg Jones may be available.
Eric Weddle is a very solid and versatile free safety, but there’s some flux on the other side for the Chargers. Nobody was able to step up and solidify the starting spot, so they’ll need to address it.
Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel is the top-rated strong safety right now, but Ahmad Black, Mark Barron and Joe Lefeged are a few other possible choices in the late rounds.