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2012 NFL Mock Draft: San Diego Chargers

could LaMichael James bring back the element the Chargers are missing since the departure of Darren Sproles

The San Diego Chargers have had a reputation of being a very talented team, but the truth of the matter is that since they drafted Shawne Merriman in 2005, they have been more average then good in the draft.

Their first three rounds picks since 2005:

2006: Antonio Cromartie, Marcus McNeil, Charlie Whitehurst

2007: Craig Davis, Eric Weddle, and Anthony Waters

2008: Antoine Cason, Jacob Hester

2009: Larry English, Louis Vasquez

2010: Ryan Matthews, Donald Butler

That’s not fantastic.

Anyway, the Chargers do have some talent, but they have more needs than most people admit. They need outside linebacker help, they need someone to play safety next to Eric Weddle, they need another backup tight end because Gates has had a habit of missing games due to injuries. They need more OL depth, they could use another WR, and they definitely need more cornerbacks (unless they think Gilcrhist and Wright are the answer). Their cornerbacks have gotten abused much of this season (I don’t care if they are 8th in yards per game through the air on defense re-watch the Jets and Raiders game with two subpar passing games make big plays in the passing game all day).

This mock is hard to make because it is possible that A.J. Smith and/or Norv Turner will not be with the team next year.

I believe the Chargers have one pick in each round (7 picks). Right now I’m going to assume the Chargers are picking around 18th. If you click on the names of the players it will link to our scouting report for that player. Be sure to check out all of our scouting reports on our scouting report page

1st round: Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State University

Jenkins numbers are down this year, but that’s because hes’ playing more of a hybrid DE/OLB position and being asked to drop into coverage much more and take on double teams. He’s a really quality player who will benefit from the practice dropping into coverage. Larry English isn’t the answer for the Chargers outside. The Chargers need to find someone to pair with Shuan Phillips. Adding a good pass rusher is one way to help their secondary out as well.

2nd Round: LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

The Chargers offense doesn’t seem the same this year without Darren Sproles to make all of the plays he did. This is why I think a player like LaMichael James will really intrigue them if he’s available in the second round. James has dynamic speed and can be a receiver out of the backfield as well. He’s also larger than Sproles was and can run more traditional running plays. Ryan Matthews is having an awesome season, Mike Tolbert is a really nice player, but the element Sproles brought to this team is sorely missed, I’d be surprised if they don’ try to rectify that this year.

3rd Round: Winston Guy Jr. Kentucky

Winston Guy Jr. is an underrated player who the Chargers might be interested in, this might be a round too early, but we think he can be a very nice player at strong safety for a team.

4th Round: Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri

Egnew is having a real down season, but would be great value here. Egnew struggles are in part due to the transition the Missouri offense is going through this year from the departure of Blaine Gabbert. Egnew is tall and athletic,but has blocking ability too. Randy McMichael will be 33 next year and his best days are behind him. Antonio Gates is great, but he’ll be thirty two years old and he’s missed the past two seasons and been hampered by injuries even when he was on the field. Gates has been described as “fat and slow” this year by some, which I think is an exaggeration, but ti’s clear that the Chargers need to find someone to play the middle of the field for the foreseeable future and to be available if Gates has to miss time next year with injuries.

5th Round: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas

We’ve seen this story time and time again. Talented player has a bad injury can’t recover from it in time or does recover from the injury, but doesn’t play at the same level and drops much further in the draft than draftniks think. That could be the story of Greg Childs this year. Childs missed a lot of 2010 and has been battling injuries again in 2011. Childs doesn’t have dynamic speed which will also hurt his draft stock. Childs though is a big target who can make plays down the field in jump ball situations which is what the Chargers love to do.

6th Round: D.J. Holt, LB, California Golden Bears

Just some more depth for the middle linebacker spot for the Chargers. I’m not sure if it’s Holt who’s the best fit or what, but the Chargers have to continue to add depth on defense and players who can play special teams. Their special teams are not as bad as they were in 2010, but they are still not great. Donald Butler looks to have a promising career, but Takeo Spikes and Gerald Hayes are getting old and probably will not be viable options for much longer.

7th Round: Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State

If the Chargers don’t draft a cornerback early in the draft they should look to add cornerback at some point in the late round.

Thoughts Chargers fans?

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Be sure to check out all of our scouting reports on our scouting report page

Tags: 2012 Nfl Mock Draft Brandon Jenkins LaMichael James NFL Draft San Diego Chargers

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