1. Jason Verrett, CB TCU 1. Jason Verrett, CB TCU 1. Jason Verrett, CB TCU

2014 NFL Draft Review: San Diego Chargers

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Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers helmet lays on the field after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jason Verrett, CB TCU
2. Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB Georgia Tech
3. Chris Watt, G Notre Dame
5. Ryan Carrethers, DT Arkansas State
6. Marion Grice, RB Arizona State
7. Tevin Reese, WR Baylor

The San Diego Chargers were able to get an early impact from their first draft under Tom Telesco and were hoping to get a repeat performance.  For the most part, the board appears to have fallen the Chargers’ way and they were able to get talented players that should be able to help themselves, with their three of their top four picks potentially able to come in and start.  Solid contributions from their rookie class allowed them to rally their way into the playoffs and get to the second round.  Another year and another impactful draft class could help them push further.

Jason Verrett drew criticism because of his lack of height and the amount of injuries he has battled through in his collegiate career, but he was the best zone corner in the country as well as being a tough man corner that was able to make plays.  Verrett has the hips and quick twitch skills to stay with receivers in the NFL, but his best asset might be his vision and just how much of the field he seems able to see and process at a given time.  As a result, he is able to come off of his coverage or see plays developing and get in position to cause turnovers, stop plays or mitigate the damage.

At the very least, he should be an outstanding slot corner but until he shows he cannot play on the outside, he should be given every opportunity to play to function there first.  His height could ultimately prevent him from being able to do it, but his track record would suggest he has earned the shot to porve it in the NFL.  His mindset and physical style of play is similar to new teammate Shareece Wright and could help them create a dynamic set of corners after losing so many to free agency in the past few seasons..

In the second round, the Chargers drafted a pass rusher in Jeremiah Attaochu.  Since Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips, the edge rusher spot has been a disaster for the Chargers.  Attaochu brings a ton of quickness and explosive ability off of the edge, but needs to do a better job holding up against the run and using power to win.  After a big junior year at outside linebacker, Attaochu spent some of his senior year playing with his hand in the dirt at end and the hope is that experience will help when it comes to taking on shedding blocks more effectively.

The Chargers then took an offensive lineman in Chris Watt that has the nasty demeanor they have with D.J. Fluker and center Nick Hardwick.  Watt is not the most physically imposing player, but he works extremely hard and plays mean, opening holes for the running game.  He is not quite as polished as a pass blocker, but he could play in either guard spot.  For the Chargers, they might prefer him on the left side, but a right side with Hardwick, Watt and Fluker could be a nasty run blocking group, opening holes for their stable of running backs.

In round 5, the Chargers picked up Ryan Carrethers and I really like this pick.  Carrethers is not the most polished player in the world and has some developing to do, but he plays with an incredible motor and plays a ton of snap for a nose tackle.  He is not the physical marvel that Dontari Poe is, but he is similar in the amount of quality snaps he can offer a team and it would not be a surprise at all if he gets into the starting lineup sooner than later.  Coaches will love his effort and activity level, provided he can be effective enough in his job.

I appreciate Marion Grice’s ability to catch the football and he is a solid runner, but his blocking is horrendous.  For where they got him, coming off of an injury, it is fine, but it is tough to put him on the field with how miserable he blocked in college.  If he can sort that out, Grice gives the Chargers offense some options with a third down receiving threat.  It will be difficult given the depth in the backfield currently and he may not be able to make the final 53 man roster as a result.

Tevin Reese makes sense for round 7.  He is reasonably tall and rail tin, but he can run fast.  Running deep is basically all he is going to be asked to do initially and maybe all he really ever does, if he can make the roster.  That was largely his game in college and if he does anything in the middle of the field, he may get broken in half.

The Chargers under Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy got off to a good start last year, which started with a good draft.  The sophomore effort could come out of draft weekend without a ton of fanfare, but have same kind of impact.  The focus will largely be on the rest of the division; the Broncos and Chiefs because they won a combined 24 games and the Oakland Raiders because they might have engineered the best draft in the league.  The Chargers are used to it and will continue to operate as underdogs that can keep closing the gap with solid drafts like these last two.