Tag:San Diego Chargers
Posted on: August 3, 2010 1:26 pm
 

Rookie LB Edds a big loss for Dolphins



The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Dolphins' fourth round pick A.J. Edds has been placed on the Physical Unable to Perform List after tearing the ACL in his right knee during practice Monday evening.

The loss of Edds (pronounced Eads) is a significant one for the Dolphins who were planning on using the 6-4, 246 pound Edds as a coverage specialist at inside linebacker during nickel situations. Edds started 38 games at strongside linebacker in the Iowa Hawkeyes 4-3 scheme, but, according to Miami head coach Tony Sparano, Edds had impressed early on with his ability to acclimate to the Dolphins' 3-4 strategy.

Said Sparano this morning, confirming Edd's injury:

“He did a good job,” Sparano said. “Obviously there was a lot of football left out here. A.J. looked like he had some good promise and had the ability to do some good jobs. We’ll get him healthy and we’ll get going.”
Edds was a player I was particularly high on. Like many Iowa players, he came to the NFL exceptionally well-coached by Kirk Ferentz's staff. While Edds' linebacking teammate, inside linebacker Pat Angerer received much of the press during their respective career with the Hawkeyes, I was more consistently impressed with Edds' play on film and when scouting him in person at the Senior Bowl. Angerer was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round.

I characterized Edds as a "personal favorite" numerous times in preparation for the 2010 draft and explained some of the reasoning behind the attention in this Senior Bowl post-practice report.

I felt then that "There's nothing flashy about Iowa outside linebacker A.J. Edds, but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Whether blowing up fullbacks or covering up receivers in the flat, he flashed the skills to be a Ben Leber-type coverage linebacker who will play for 10 years in the NFL."

Hopefully Edds will come back a year from now just as athletic and instinctive. His work ethic was praised by Iowa coaches in the past and I suspect that it will be by the Miami coaches and trainers soon, as well.

Without Edds' instincts and athleticism in coverage, the Dolphins may have to turn back to two veterans much better suited towards playing the run than pass with incumbent starter Channing Crowder and recent addition Tim Dobbins, who was acquired via a trade with San Diego that allowed the Chargers to move up to the No. 12 pick to select Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews.

Posted on: May 3, 2010 6:01 pm
 

Five biggest gambles of the draft

Considering the money and time invested, every draft selection ever made is, by definition, a gamble.

However, there are always a group of picks made each year that surprise me with their brazen and obvious risk. These are the picks that either earn general managers and scouting directors the admiration of fans and foes, alike, or result in unemployment.

These are the five moves that I thought were the boldest gambles of the 2010 draft.

  1. Denver's trading up to get Tim Tebow: You knew this would be on the list, but I believe it belongs No. 1 for reasons you may not have considered. The gamble isn't just that Tebow is, in the opinion of most, at least a year away from contributing. If you've followed my blog at all you know that I've argued for three years now that Tim Tebow could be a successful NFL quarterback and warranted second round consideration. I acknowledge that Tebow is a gamble in himself, but to trade up so aggressively to get him -- the Broncos gave up 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks (OLB Sergio Kindle, TE Ed Dickson and TE Dennis Pitta) to Baltimore makes the selection significantly more brazen. Add to this fact that by drafting two wide receivers coming off foot injuries (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker) in the first three rounds to package with Tebow, the team may not get much out of the early round picks in 2010. It is in this way where I really believe Denver's pick of Tebow was especially gutsy (some might say foolish), as the Broncos received stunningly little from their top picks of the 2009 draft, as well. The team got 19 tackles (and no sacks) from first round pass rusher Robert Ayers and 14 tackles (no INTs) from second round cornerback Alphonso Smith. By the time some of Josh McDaniels' talents start to contribute, the Denver head coach may be standing in the unemployment line. This team needed immediate contributors and they, instead, gambled on potential.  
  2. Carolina trading up to make QB Armanti Edwards a WR: Like the Tebow pick, I'm not as surprised with the fact that Carolina drafted Edwards or that he is being asked to convert to receiver or even that he went in the third round (despite NFLDraftScout.com ranking him as a 5th round pick). I'm stunned that Carolina was so aggressive in trading up to get him. The Panthers traded their 2nd round pick (to the Patriots) next year for the right to draft Edwards in the third round (No. 89 overall). Using what amounts to two top 100 picks on a project just seems like too much gamble for a team with as many holes as Carolina. 
  3. Tyson Alualu at 10: I don't consider this to be the gamble that many others, apparently do. Sure, I get that Alualu was a reach at No. 10. He likely would have been on the board in the early 20s. Sources throughout the league tell me the Jags actively worked the phone attempting to trade back out of this pick as they knew taking Alualu this high would invite criticism. When they weren't able to get a decent deal, they stayed put and took their guy. I like Alualu's game and feel that his underrated athleticism, incredible work ethic and position versatility made him one of the safer picks in the draft. While I don't believe Alualu will ever be a superstar, I do believe he'll prove a quality starter in the NFL for ten years or so. Despite what I think, the perception is certainly that GM Gene Smith and the Jaguars reached. If Alualu is a disappointinment -- even if just at first -- Smith could be on the hot seat.   
  4. Dallas/Buffalo/Kansas City ignoring OTs: In Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller and Eric Berry, respectively, I believe the Cowboys, Bills and Chiefs may have three of the most impactful rookies from the 2010 draft. However, the cost of ignoring offensive tackle in the first, second, third and fourth rounds may come back to bite these clubs. All three teams have significant questions at offensive tackle and considering how talented this year' crop was at the position, I'm stunned these clubs didn't make adding help upfront more of a priority. 
  5. San Diego trading up to get Ryan Mathews: I believe Ryan Mathews is the best all-around back in this draft and that his skill-set perfectly fits what was missing in the San Diego offense last season. That said, in making the biggest jump in the first round (trading up from No. 28 to No. 12), the Chargers are investing an awful lot in a running back that was unable to stay healthy during any of his three seasons at Fresno State. San Diego general manager AJ Smith is one of the league's gutsiest on draft day and this could pay off big, but this deal is like doubling down on 12 in black jack. It only looks brilliant if it works out. 


Posted on: April 27, 2010 1:01 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- defense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the defensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Yesterday I listed the offensive players.

DE: Brandon Lang, Troy (signed by San Diego)
DT: Nate Collins, Virginia (signed by New York Giants)
DT: Jay Ross, East Carolina (signed by New Orleans)
DE: Mitch Unrein, Wyoming (signed by Tennessee)
OLB: Reggie Carter, UCLA (signed by Seattle)
ILB: Micah Johnson, Kentucky (signed by New York Giants)
OLB: Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota (signed by St. Louis)
CB: Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, Western Illinois (signed by San Francisco)
SS: Barry Church, Toledo (signed by Dallas)
FS: Jon Amaya, Nevada (signed by Miami)
CB: Devin Ros, Arizona (signed by Philadelphia)
Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:48 pm
 

AFC West First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the AFC West perspective:

Denver Broncos:
The mystifying direction of the Denver Broncos under the direction of head coach Josh McDaniels continues. The puzzling aspect about the Denver Broncos’ selections is that considering the holes on this team and the fact that the Broncos got very little out of two (Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith) of their top three picks last year, it seemed the team would have opted for players likely to make more of an immediate impact than Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow. I believe both have starting NFL potential, with Thomas potentially becoming a star, but they are each considerable projects who may not be ready to contribute significantly early. 

Kansas City Chiefs:
Eric Berry will be a star, but general manager Scott Pioli took a significant risk in not protecting the investment he made previously in quarterback Matt Cassel by ignoring offensive tackle. Pioli devoting top five money to a safety, even one as good as Berry, may not have been a surprise to fans who just see Berry’s ability, but it was a considerable surprise to many front office executives throughout the league.

Oakland Raiders:
The Raiders surprised many with their selection of Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain with the eighth pick because, quite simply, the perpetually irrational club made a stunningly logical addition. McClain has the bulk and speed the team is missing inside and will help to shore up a run defense that finished 30th in the NFL last season and has allowed more rushing touchdowns over the past seven years than any other team in the league. 

San Diego Chargers:
In typical, aggressive A.J. Smith fashion, the Chargers traded up 16 spots to land their replacement of LaDainian Tomlinson with Ryan Mathews, who wore the number 21 at Fresno State in honor of the former Charger great. Mathews, who led the nation in rushing average with 150.67 yards per game last year, is an early Rookie of the Year candidate based on his fit in this offense.

Posted on: February 22, 2010 9:09 pm
 

LT's release clears the way for AJ to target a RB

I consider the Chargers' AJ Smith to be one of the better talent evaluators in the NFL. He is willing to take a risk in the first round -- see DE Luis Castillo and CB Antonio Cromartie as examples -- but often gets immediate returns with his picks.

He isn't, however, the most difficult to predict.

The Chargers, like an increasing number of teams, have seemingly put aside the mantra of always taking the "best available player" to instead look to fill immediate needs in the first round.

Consider this past April. Smith needed a pass rusher, as the Chargers, mostly due to the injury to Shawne Merriman, dropped from 5th in the league in sacks in 2007 (42) to 31st a year later. Smith selected pass rush specialist Larry English out of Northern Illinois, converting the former defensive end to a rush linebacker.

With questionable depth at cornerback and safety a year earlier, rival scouts weren't surprised to see the Chargers select versatile defender Antoine Cason in the first round.

A year earlier, with a clear need for a receiver, Smith took LSU's Craig "Buster" Davis in the first round.

Though Davis hasn't panned out as expected, Smith's strategy has generally been very effective and a key component to the Chargers' ascension to the top of the AFC West.

The release of LaDainian Tomlinson opens up a huge hole at running back for the Chargers.

This team, of course, is clearly built around quarterback Philip Rivers and the passing game. Darren Sproles has the speed and elusiveness needed to star in this offense and the team has a suitable big back in Jacob Hester for the tough yardage. Still, a workhorse back -- to be used much like the Saints used Pierre Thomas -- is a definite need for this club.

Considering the talent likely to be available when the Chargers are on the clock at No. 28, don't be surprised at all when AJ Smith takes his pick between Fresno State's Ryan Mathews or Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer.

After all... they'd fill a need.
Posted on: August 16, 2009 6:36 pm
 

Rookie Impressions -- Nick Reed

Seattle Seahawk defensive end Nick Reed is a classic example of a highly productive collegiate prospect falling on draft day because of a lack of ideal size and speed. Few, if any, defensive ends across the country can match Reed's career numbers. The owner of the University of Oregon's career sacks (29.5) and tackles for loss (51.5) -- which each rank fourth in Pac-10 history -- Reed earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior. The epitome of consistency, Reed recorded at least one sack in 23 of his 26 career starts. The Ducks listed Reed at 6-3, 245 pounds, but scouts knew better and despite his eye-popping production, wasn't even invited to the Combine. Measuring in at a shade over 6-0, and 247 pounds, Reed fell all the way to 247th pick overall, where Seattle, the team closest in proximity to seeing him on a regular basis, decided to take a chance. Reed, playing exclusively at right defensive end (though he dropped into zone blitz coverage, on occasion) registered 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, and an interception. His primary competition was San Diego reserve left tackle L.J. Shelton, an 11 year veteran with 127 career starts.

Nick Reed, Seattle Seahawks, DE, #98: Good initial quickness off the snap to push the tackle's shoulder. Fast enough off the edge to turn the tackle and scoot past him with either a good second burst, or quick re-direct back inside. Active, accurate hands to slap away the tackle's attempts to grab hold of him. Lacks the strength to break free if captured, though he doesn't stop working to gain his release. Rare effort in pursuit laterally and downfield. Used a speed rush outside against  Shelton to record his sack. Most impressive play may have been his interception. Initially attempted a speed rush, but when countered effectively by Shelton, Reed focused his attention on Charger reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and read screen pass. Reed released from Shelton, slipped laterally toward the running back and was in perfect position to snatch Whitehurst's toss. Though instinctive and quick enough laterally to maintain his containment responsibilities in the running game, Reed's current size and strength is just too much of a liability to see consistent playing time in the base scheme. As a weapon during obvious passing downs, however, Reed proved that his consistent ability to make plays behind the line scrimmage did not end in college.  
Posted on: April 25, 2009 5:56 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2009 5:59 pm
 

Houston takes Cushing, SD surprises, Cleveland Up

The Texans chose a USC linebacker as had been long projected. Cushing gives the club immediate flexibility, and more importantly, size at the outside linebacker position.

The Chargers, as they have consistently done to me, made the first pick of players I did not project in the first round. English has good burst off the snap as a defensive end, but will obviously be making the transition to the 3-4 rush linebacker position for the Chargers.

English was impressive at the Senior Bowl, but was never placed back in space while in Mobile, something I would have liked to have seen...

The Cleveland Browns are now on the clock and I believe are going to take WR Jeremy Maclin with this pick. RB Beanie Wells and OT Michael Oher makes sense, as well, but Maclin is the best player available and has the speed to compliment (or replace) Braylon Edwards.

 
 
 
 
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