Jan 1, 2012, Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith watches on the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 38-26. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

San Diego Chargers Q and A with Bolt Beat

Will A.J. Smith and I finally agree on what he does in the draft...stay tuned. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Leading up to the draft we’re going to have some Q and A with experts covering other teams to give you guys an insight into what other teams might be considering with their early picks, and what the teams needs are now that free agency is over. Today we have a little chat with Boltbeat a San Deigo Chargers blog
1). Has Philip Rivers said anything about letting the team lose Sproles, Vjax, their LT, and Tolbert–his favorite weapons all over the last two years?

Philip usually has said the right things around the media, but he has said that it hurt to lose a guy like Sproles last year. He also went onto the radio the day after Vincent Jackson had signed with Tampa and said that he couldn’t sleep well that night. He was excited in the morning to find out that we brought in Robert Meachem though.

2). Is this Turner/Smith regime going to figure this out?

We will be finding out soon enough. AJ Smith has already been taking a new approach to the off-season with all the signings that he has done so far. There are not huge names, but he is bringing in some players that can contribute. We will see what Norv does differently this coming season. Only time will tell.

3). After free agency what are the Chargers biggest needs?

After the draft, we shouldn’t have many needs. Our draft will be focused on the defense and should bring a pass rusher, a safety and some depth at o-line. If we bring in anyone else from free agency, it will be a veteran running back. We might kick the tires on Ronnie Brown.

4). Has there been a draft philosophy developed during Turner’s tenure?

Under AJ, we never choose and offensive lineman in the first round. We seem to always have a need for defense in our drafts and we usually will draft for that need.

5). How would you grade the last five years (overall) for the Chargers in the draft?

There is only one player left from the Chargers 2007 draft and he is Pro Bowler Eric Weddle and our first round pick was Buster Davis who was a Bust. 2008 brought us Antoine Cason and that is really all as well. Those 2 drafts didn’t bring many players, but we have two starters and one is a Pro Bowler.

Then we start moving into a few better drafts. 2009 was our Larry English draft and he still has not panned out, but we have a few starters from that class. Louis Vazquez, Tyronne Green and Vaughn Martin will all have big roles this season.
2010 we brought in Ryan Mathews and Donald Butler who are starters and Cam Thomas and Darrell Stuckey will be asked to do a lot this season.We are still waiting to see production from last season’s class. They had to endure the lockout and should get more action this season.

Overall, they get a C for their drafts during that time. Nothing over the top, but a couple of Pro Bowlers in that group.

6). Is there a player the Chargers seem to have taken a liking too?

There is a lot of buzz out here with the Chargers and Harrison Smith. Don’t think we will take him with our first pick, but we might move up from our second round spot and try to get him.

7). What player do the fans want in round one?

Everyone wants impact on defense. People want Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus or Courtney Upshaw. There are mixed feelings on all those players though. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got Mark Barron in the first round, if he lasts that far.

8). Are there any young players who could breakout to fill the needs (from Q 3)

Larry English if he can stay healthy. We need him to be able to add the pass rush we were hoping for when we got him. Darrell Stuckey could be someone that could make an impact for us on defense also.

9). Anything else to add?

AJ Smith knows that he needs to create a dominating dictating defense. Those are the words that he keeps using. Expect us to go hard on defense and hope that we strike gold with our picks.
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