Get to Know the Chargers: Interview with Brett Stott of Drafttek


Drafttek lent us Brett Stott their Chargers analyst to answer a few questions for us about the Chargers and hte draft.




1). What are the Chargers Biggest needs?

3 words – defense, defense, defense.  The Chargers need a player (or two) at every level of the defense. 

The biggest need is at defensive end, where the 2010 starting combination of Luis Castillo and Jacques Cesaire were arguably the worst starting tandem in the league.  Castillo has never really lived up to the immense expectations piled on after he signed his big extension, but he is still more than serviceable and does not appear in jeopardy of losing his starting job. Jacques Cesaire is aging and seems to be on the decline (despite what the stats suggest).  A young, penetrating 5-technique would do wonders for the Chargers defensive line.

After that, they need an outside linebacker opposite Shaun Phillips unless they think the light magically goes on for Larry English this year.  They could also add some strength and athleticism at inside linebacker.  Provided Eric Weddle stays, a starting safety with some range would be a great addition opposite him. 

With 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, I wouldn’t be surprised if 4 of them are on the defensive side of the ball. 

2). What’s Chargers fans opinion of Norv Turner…they have all this talent is he at fault for last season?
Judging simply by the volume of Norv Turner hate all over the web, I think Chargers fans have hit their limit with Turner.  Personally, at least if we’re talking about 2010, I assign more of the blame on AJ Smith for allowing his ego to influence personnel decisions (see Jackson, Vincent and McNeill, Marcus).  Not many teams could compete, regardless of their division, without their Pro Bowl Left Tackle and franchise WR for 6 and 13 weeks respectively.  

However, at some point the immense talent on this roster has to translate into more playoff success than they’ve seen or their proverbial window will close before they know it.  I believe Coach Turner will have a very short leash going into next year and if they start out too slow again, he could be sent packing mid-season a la Wade Phillips.

3). Why do they start so slow every year?
You know I think that’s actually a great mystery in Chargerland.  The theories range from Turner to special teams to lack of effort because this team believes their hype too much.  I think it’s probably a combination of the three of these things and maybe more.  The one thing I will say, regardless of why, is that I think the slow starts are a big part of why they can’t finish the deal come playoff time.

The old adage in sports is beware of the team that finishes strong.  This is usually due to the fact that a team has peaked at the right time and should thus make noise come playoff time.  I think there’s a caveat to that.  Due to the Chargers propensity for poor starts, they have way too many “must win” games from late October until the playoffs.  I think this leads to a playoff funk where this team has played too many key games in the regular season that the energy needed for the playoff run just isn’t there

 4). 2004 Draft Day the Giants want Eli Manning the Chargers get Rivers, what would turn out to be Merriman and Kaeding for Eli (one other player too?). Giants one superbowl victory, Rivers huge stats lots of playoff appearances and wins. Are Chargers fans happy with the way this has turned out? Would they do it again?

I think the Chargers have such disdain for Eli Manning that there’s not a chance in the world the majority of them would rather have Eli Manning over Philip Rivers, regardless of the other two players that came out of that deal.  And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think there’s a Chargers fan in the world who attributes that Super Bowl win to Eli Manning.  Honestly, I think they’d equate that victory to a Trent Dilfer-esque Super Bowl where he was carried by the rest of his team as opposed to a Joe Montana-putting-the-team-on-his-back win.

Now, are they happy that Eli has a ring and Rivers doesn’t?  Of course not.  But I still don’t think there’s a chance in hell they’d swap the two today.

5) Springboarding off that last question…do Chargers fans think Rivers would have the same success in NY’s media market and that Eli might have the same kind of success with Turner’s offensive mind and the great San Diego Weather (because Eli’s numbers in December are bad compared to what they are in the first three months, especially October)?
Though I can understand your train of thought, I just don’t buy the weather being the reason for the difference in their respective numbers.  Rivers hasn’t had the same exposure to the elements that Eli has had, but he has shown the ability to play in a variety of conditions.  Heck, even when Eli plays in nicer climes, whether that be Tampa Bay, indoors or elsewhere, he hasn’t shown the ability to play on the level that Philip has. 

If you were the GM, who would you rather have?  For me, it’s Rivers every day of the week.  Twice on Sunday. 

6) On to the draft…How are the last two draft classes coming along for the Bolts?
Prior to week 17 of 2010, when Ryan Mathews gave Chargers fans a taste of his potential, I might have called the past two drafts something closely resembling a write-off.  That might be an over-exaggeration, but the results have been less than inspiring thus far. 

The 14 picks of the past two drafts have produced two starters, RG Louis Vazquez and RB Ryan Mathews.  Six of the 14 aren’t even on the roster anymore.  The jury is still out on most of the remaining players. NT Cam Thomas and DE Vaughn Martin are both defensive line prospects who have shown potential.  OLB Larry English and S Darrell Stuckey will need to step up this year if either of them intends on having a meaningful impact on this team going forward. 

7). Who’s a player fans really want at 18th overall?
Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal.  I think there are a number of Charger fans who recognize the need along the defensive line and that Cameron Jordan, who played his college ball just down the road, would be the ideal prospect to fill their need.  Personally, I don’t think he’ll be there.  I’d argue that he’s the top senior prospect in the draft, and likely a top ten pick, but there are many people smarter than me who think the Chargers have a shot at landing Jordan at #18. We’ll see.

8). Who are some of your underrated/overrated prospects?
I could go into some great detail here, but since I cover the Wide Receivers for and that is certainly a position I think the Chargers will look to address, I’ll start there.  Jon Baldwin is a player that I think is supremely overrated.  Don’t get me wrong, I think he has all of the physical abilities in the world to excel in the NFL, but I question whether he has the mental make up to live up to the hype.  On film I see too many drops, poor route running, minimal blocking effort and a general inconsistency in his game.  I also question whether he’ll work hard enough and do the things necessary to become a starter if he isn’t drafted as one.  I think a player like Leonard Hankerson is a much safer pick and will end up having a better NFL career despite Baldwin’s higher ceiling.

On the underrated side, I think Jeremy Kerley from TCU could surprise some people in the NFL.  His forty time was less than inspiring, but Kerley was never known to be a burner.  Much like Dexter McCluster, who was drafted in the second round by the Chiefs last year, Kerley can get from zero to sixty faster than almost anyone in the draft with or without pads.  He also runs crisp routes, has strong hands and knows how to catch the ball with them.  Not sure if he’ll be drafted as early as McCluster, but he should be.  He’ll make some team very happy. 

On the defensive side of the ball, I think the most overrated prospect that I know many Chargers fans seem to be excited about is Dontay Moch.  If this guy didn’t run a 4.4 forty, no one would be talking about him.  Don’t be deceived by the quick time on the track, he doesn’t play anywhere near that speed in pads as he has little to no instincts as an outside linebacker.  He is easily blocked and gets pushed around by offensive linemen with ease.  He’s also a liability in coverage.  Basically, he runs a 4.4 forty and that’s it. I can’t see him living up to the expectations at the next level.

Personally, I think one of the more underrated OLB prospects is Brooks Reed.  I love his first step.  I love his tenacity and his motor.  He’s a strong tackler and shows good technique. To me he’s a first rounder, but I think he could be one of those players that falls to the 2nd or 3rd round who develops into an impact player early on.  He would be a great addition to the Chargers with one of those second rounders if he’s there.

Also, as a late-round sleeper, watch out for Chris Neild, DL, WVU.  He has a great motor, moves fairly well for a man of his stature, plays the run very well and is a strong tackler.  He impressed me in the off season workouts.  I think he’ll be a pleasant surprise to whomever drafts him.

9). Chargers best and worst draft picks of the last 10 years?
I’m going to leave out players like Drew Brees and Michael Turner, who had a greater impact on their free agent suitors than the Chargers, and the obvious choice of LT.  Apart from those, I’m going with Nick Hardwick (3rd round, 2004), Shaun Phillips (4th round, 2004), Vincent Jackson (2nd round, 2005) and Marcus McNeill (2nd round, 2006) as the best picks of the past ten years. 

The Chargers have had very few busts at the top of the draft over the past ten years, however, there are a couple head-scratchers.  Some of the worst picks include Sammy Davis, CB (30th overall, 2003) and Craig ‘Buster’ Davis, WR (30th overall, 2007) who was taken before some much better receivers including Sidney Rice and Steve Smith (NYG).  Like I said before, the jury is still out on Larry English, who could be added to this list next year.

 10). Tell us a little bit about how the Chargers front office works on draft day.

Just in case there are readers out there who don’t know AJ Smith, he has one of biggest egos in the game (if not the biggest).  Any Chargers fan will quickly point that out if asked.  He runs the ship and makes all the calls in the draft room.  Like any franchise, there is obviously a scouting department behind him, but the final decisions are all AJ.  

11). I know the Chargers target Massive WR, but are the other kind of players that they seem to target.
In general terms I don’t think there is necessarily a pattern as distinct as the big WRs, however there are some consistent traits I’ve seen in AJ Smith’s tenure. 

He seems to like tall and strong offensive linemen. I know what you’re thinking, “Who doesn’t?”, but Smith seems to like drafting project players like Jeromy Clary and Wesley Britt who are big, brutish tackles.  Results have been mixed thus far. 

Also, I think AJ yearns for a power running game based on the backs he’s drafted (apart from Darren Sproles).  Michael Turner and Jacob Hester (who was originally tried out at are prime examples of this with guys like Gartrell Johnson and Marcus Thomas as projects that didn’t really pan out.  

12). Tell us about what you do in the blogging world (is it just Drafttek?) and why our visitors should come check you out.

For the most part, I’ve clung to my role as an team analyst and, more recently, positional scout for Drafttek.  I’ve been I’ve dabbled into various blogging avenues, most notably a brief stint writing with Bleacher Report, but, as I’m not a journalist by trade, my real job became far too time consuming to branch out too much further.

Visitors should come check out because it’s truly a unique mock draft website that combines individual team expertise to input draft needs, scouting expertise to build the big board and the software functionality and logic to put it all together into a comprehensive, 7 round mock draft experience.  As a fan, if you don’t like what you see for your team, you can tell us and we’ll (usually) listen.  Or, you can go in, change the inputs and build your own mock draft with our Online Draft Simulator (ODS). 

Lastly, because our site is software based, we can quickly update our mock when free agents sign or trades occur (in a regular off season).  Also on draft day, when everyone else has an obsolete mock after the first few picks, we continually update our mock after every selection for the first few rounds.


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