Based on the early performances of top-round picks, this year's draft class will likely be viewed as favorable. But as a whole, cannot be considered truly outstanding.
Top pick: OLB Melvin Ingram (first round, No. 18 overall) -- GM A.J. Smith targeted improving the pass rush and his mission was accomplished with Ingram, who surprisingly fell to San Diego. Ingram has impressed throughout training camp. With limited playing time in two preseason games, Ingram has frequently pressured the QB and has five tackles and a sack. Ingram will likely supplant Jarrett Johnson (free agent, Ravens) for the starting job. Grade: A+
No. 2 pick: DE Kendall Reyes (second round, No. 49 overall) -- Reyes is another key for improving the pass rush. He appears to be just slightly behind Ingram in development but has also been productive in preseason with seven tackles. Reyes will not likely be an opening-day starter but will see plenty of playing time this season and potentially could make a big contribution. Grade: A
No. 3 pick: SS Brandon Taylor (third round, No. 73 overall) -- Taylor was originally expected to compete for a starting job, but it appears that will go to Atari Bigby (free agent, Seattle). Taylor has six tackles and a pass defensed in preseason. He'll contribute this season and could be a star-in-the-making.Grade: B (with major upside)
No. 4 pick: TE Ladarius Green (fourth round, No. 110 overall) -- Green has looked good as a receiver in practice but hasn't caught a ball in preseason. Green (6-6, 240) is undersized and needs to greatly improve as a blocker. Coach Norv Turner would like to protect him on the 53-man roster but may not be able to because of injuries to RB Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle) and WR Vincent Brown (broken left ankle) will likely require an additional RB and WR be kept. It's looking more likely Turner will try to sneak Green on to the practice squad. That would be a big risk because another team could claim him. Grade: C- (with upside if he stays in San Diego)
No. 5 pick: G Johnnie Troutman (fifth round, No. 147 overall) -- Smith knew he was making a gamble when he made this pick. Troutman tore a pectoral muscle a few days before the draft. The Chargers hoped it was not serious, but within days, it was determined the injury would require surgery. Troutman has yet to participate in a practice. He could be healthy enough to play by mid-October, but a roster spot will not likely be kept for him and he appears destined for the IR list to start the season. Grade: F. (For not being able to contribute this season. Could develop into a good pick in the future.)
No. 6 pick: C David Molk (seventh round, No. 226 overall) -- Molk won the Rimington Award in 2011 as the nation's best center and will likely win the backup job from Collin Baxter. Molk has a lot to work on. He has too many botched snaps in practice and a poor snap led to a turnover against the Cowboys. Molk (6-1, 300) is also undersized compared to most NFL centers. Nevertheless, he has a tremendous upside. Grade: B. (For where he was selected in the draft.)
No. 7 pick: RB Edwin Baker (seventh round, No. 250 overall) -- Baker has been outclassed throughout the offseason workouts and training camp by Michael Hayes (undrafted, Houston). The two are likely competing for a spot on the practice squad. It appears Baker will not be part of the Chargers this year or in the future. Grade: D-