Grading the Chargers draft

Grading the Chargers draft

The dust has settled – and so has my stomach. Grading the draft is often a next day treat but we need to soak it up first and analyze the analyzers. Which brings us to this point. Anyone who thought the San Diego Chargers needed a wide receiver and called it a need is an idiot. Now that I said that, I can move on with grading the draft.

Sort of. It gets tiring when out of towners say the Chargers need a wide receiver. The fact is they really don't. They spent a second round pick last year on wide receiver Vincent Jackson – does anyone remember that? Ok, he was hurt most of last year so it is easy to forget.

Specifically, the Bolts need speed from the wide receiving position – that's it. Breaking the five current wide receivers on the roster, however, won't be easy. So anyone who starts with that bull is not worth reading.

And the best player available was the guy they picked.

Round one – Antonio Cromartie

Look back at the draft board. There was simply no better fit in San Diego than Cromartie. He may be the most dynamic cornerback to come out in the last several years and you simply can't pass up on that.

A.J. Smith has shown that he is not above taking a risk and has been rewarded thus far. This pick could end up being his best yet as Cromartie will be brought along as a nickel back and will be starting before long.

Not only does Cromartie have the size to be a true shutdown cornerback, he has the speed to stay with the new era of receivers that combine both attributes.

Those who dogged the pick will be wishing they didn't years from now when Cromartie is racking up Pro Bowl appearances. You heard it here first – or maybe second.

Grade: A

Second round – Marcus McNeill

Fans, the media, the Chargers war room – they were all chanting, "Left offensive tackle. Left offensive tackle" when this pick rolled around.

Wish granted,

The only debate here is whether it should have been Winston selected. San Diego gets a player who has not given up a sack while playing offensive tackle in a strong conference. He is a massive specimen that provides much needed insurance to a line that was banking on Roman Oben's health.

Health was an issue with many of the tackles on the board. For McNeill, it was his back. If that hold up, he is a first round talent. It would not surprise to see him start as a rookie and anchor the line for years to come.

Grade: A-

Third round – Charlie Whitehurst

A classic example of an organization that has its head on straight – been a long time that was heard in connection with San Diego.

Why draft a quarterback in round seven only to get Seth Buford. And for all you Buford fans out there – oh, you aren't out there?

If you are drafting a quarterback, don't draft one with plans on him being a backup. Draft a quarterback you can groom to be a starter.

Then you can turn a Matt Schaub or, dare I say it, A.J. Feeley into a second round draft pick when you need it.

Whitehurst is a bit inconsistent but will have time to be molded into something special. One play away is the motto and developing quarterbacks will always put the organization in a position of strength.

Having said all of that, there were some need positions that could have been filled quite nicely here.

Grade: B

We will review day two grades in two days.

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