Is SD's secondary the primary issue?

CB Cletis Gordon (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

On draft day, the Chargers bolstered their most obvious vulnerability: the secondary. The off-season featured the losses of Drayton Florence and Marlon McCree, leaving the Chargers with some voids to fill, despite the emergence of Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie. Will the youngsters step up and keep the machine running smoothly?

The loss of Drayton Florence leaves the Chargers without a proven nickel back and slot cover guy, which is a problem in the pass-happy AFC. New England's Wes Welker, Denver's Brandon Stokley and Indianapolis' Anthony Gonzalez are all dangerous offensive weapons who use the slot to take advantage of matchups with backup defensive backs.

First-round pick Antoine Cason will be the corner who sees the most time against the No. 3 and 4 receivers. Cason, along with Cletis Gordon and DeJuan Tribble, will need to make up the 62 tackles, two interceptions and 10 passes breakups that Florence brought to the secondary.


CB DeJuan Tribble
Doug Benc/Getty

Replacing Marlon McCree won't be as hazardous, as Eric Weddle has proven himself ready for the promotion. Weddle could be a rising star after making several key contributions to last year's run to the AFC Championship Game, including an interception off Peyton Manning in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

If Weddle misses time with injury, safety becomes a serious question mark with Steve Gregory (only 23 career tackles, no interceptions) and Paul Oliver (zero games played) the only viable backups.

San Diego's secondary is less of a concern because of the modest passing attacks of the rest of the AFC West. In Denver, WR Brandon Marshall and QB Jay Cutler do not get along well. Marshall can't keep his name out of the paper and Cutler turns the ball over way too much.

Kansas City has an unproven quarterback in Brodie Croyle, who has a no-name receiving corps except for rising star Dwayne Bowe. There are also issues with an O-line that doesn't remind anyone of the dominant lines of the Priest Holmes era.

Oakland is only at the beginning of its rebuilding process. QB JaMarcus Russell is unproven and Al Davis spent way too much money for WR Javon Walker, who is often injured or unproductive. There are too many questions surrounding Oakland's passing game for it to be considered a worthy adversary for San Diego's secondary.

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