Sunday, 20 May 2012

What role will this years draft picks play?

Chargers had a very impressive draft in 2012 filling up their roster with players at positions of need as well as getting great value especially in the early rounds. But however well we drafted, not every rookie will make an impact on the team especially not in their first year. I will be discussing the likely roles of the rookies and their potential impacts:

1st round: Melvin Ingram- Ingram is the only rookie on the list who has the potential to make a huge impact on defence in his first year. I expect a minimum of 8 sacks and expect him to rack up similar numbers to Aldon Smith last year. He should play every passing down alongside Antwan Barnes at outside linebacker and will go into the rotation with Phillips Barnes and Johnson. He is also very versatile so don't be surprised if you see him lining up on the defencive line or at middle linebacker depending on injuries. Overall Ingram was a dream pick for the Chargers at 18 and should really have been a top ten pick, not that the Chargers will be complaining!

2nd round: Kendall Reyes- Reyes was also good value for the Chargers in the middle of the second round with him being at the bottom some first round draft boards. He will go into rotation with previous years first round pick Corey Liuget, Vaughn Martin and Luis Castillo. He will be given the chance to make an impact on defence and will need to impress early to get regular playing time. I expect Reyes to put in a decent season but probably wont make a massive impact. Look for him to improve over the next few years and become a consistent starter in a two or three years time.

3rd round: Brandon Taylor- This is where it gets really interesting. Taylor was an impressive safety for LSU and AJ Smith liked him enough to trade up in the third round to get him. He will be competing with Atari Bigby and Darrell Stuckey to start alongside Eric Weddle. The pick was definitely need for the Chargers and as Smith traded up it shows he definitely likes Taylor and might intend for him to start right away. I certainly hope he starts as Bigby is an average safety who is now in his thirties so has little upside. Expect Taylor to be starting in September so long as he has a decent training camp and he will get the chance to play alongside an all pro safety in Eric Weddle.

4th round: Ladarius Green- Green is an exciting young prospect at tight end. The Chargers will hope that he can be a long term replacement for Antonio Gates who will be considering retirement in the next two or three years. Green like Gates is a pass catching Tight End and can learn from one of the best Tight Ends in the game. I expect Green to be just a number three on the depth chart behind both experienced tight ends Gates and McMichael. He might feature on special teams and come on for the occasional two tight end set if Gates or McMichael need a rest or are injured.

5th round: Johnnie Troutman- Johnnie Troutman (guard) was picked by Smith as a long term pick. He will be injured the whole season and will be on IR for the season.

6th round: Forfeited in trade for Brandon Taylor in third round

7th round: David Molk (centre) and Edwin Baker (running back)- Molk was good value for the Chargers in round seven. He hasn't got amazing physical qualities which is what made him drop but is an intelligent lineman and won the Rimington award so cant be terrible. Assuming he has a decent camp he should make the final roster and will become backup to Nick Hardwick. Edwin Baker was the final pick. For me he is the least likely to make the roster as I expect the Chargers to add another running back in free agency and keep Brinkley as their young back. He would be used on special teams and is a good pass blocker for a half back but his rushing ability doesn't appear particularly special

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