I'm no "draft expert" like Mel Kiper Jr. or Todd McShay, or Mike Mayock, etc, etc... I don't break down players on film (except one year, when I watched highlights of Running Backs until my head was spinning...that was the year the Chargers drafted Ryan Mathews). So, I'm not even an "amateur" talent evaluator.
However, every year as the draft starts getting close, I start frequenting a number of draft sites...and what I do is... I look up player rankings, see where the various sites have various players rated and then compare that with what need the Chargers have. Then, I try to pay attention to some "Mock Drafts" put out by the "experts" and depending on what they are projecting, I try to fill out the Bolts needs accordingly.
In the 5 or 6 years or so I have been doing this, I have made exactly 2 selections in "My" Mock draft that the Chargers actually selected. Marcus Gilchrist and Vaughn Martin were those two players, and to be completely honest... I had them going one round later than they were actually selected.
Why waste all this time when the team so rarely selects my picks? That is a fair question. What I enjoy about the process is that I get to "know" so many more prospects than I normally would, so when I am watching the draft I can go "Oh I had that guy going in the 5th round....that's surprising he was picked in the 3rd". It just makes the draft more enjoyable, for me anyway. This is why I'm the self-proclaimed "Sports Doofus".
The Challenge this year is twofold:
1. The Chargers have a new General Manager is Tom Telesco, and a new Head Coach in Mike McCoy, so I really have no idea what type of players they are looking for, and when they tend to draft them.
2. The Chargers draft at 11th in the first round, which makes things difficult. They need some Offensive Linemen, but most Mock Drafts have the top 5 Offensive Linemen going before the Chargers pick. However, if a few pass rushers and a Quarterback (Geno Smith) sneak into the top 10, it's possible that the Bolts do get a first round lineman...which will then affect how they pick the rest of the way.
One last caveat, I put this together without any trades whatsoever. Which is sort of an exercise in futility, because there is usually some movement.
http://www.nfl.com/draft/2013 The NFL's site...has good player information.
http://walterfootball.com/ A great site for mock drafts, updated weekly with changes.
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft Does a pretty good job ranking prospects, and has good player bios.
http://www.drafttek.com/default.asp A new site for me this year, I really liked it, lots of good info here.
Barring a "trade up" scenario, I don't see the Chargers being able to draft any of the top 3 Offensive Tackles, or the top 2 Guards. In weighing team needs, against Best Player available...I think Jarvis Jones is the pick.
He's experienced in playing the 3-4, having played it at Georgia, and he fills a big need as both Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes both weren't re-signed.
Chances this pick are correct: Slim to none. No idea what the Chargers will do here. None. Bakevious Mingo from LSU is another possiblity here. Or maybe one of the Guards (Jonathon Cooper, UNC or Chance Warmack, Alabama) falls. It's very likely that a trade up or down could occur here.
Round 2 (45) -Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The Chargers fill their hole at Left Tackle in Round 2 with the pick of Terron Armstead. Although from a smaller school, he impressed at the combine and Senior Bowl.
The downside of Armstead is he may not be ready to start right away. He may take some time to develop. But he's the prototypical size and fills a huge need.
Note: I'd like to see Florida State's Menelik Watson fall to the Bolts here, but with the top 3 picks going top 10, I don't see it happening.
Round 3 (76) - Barrett Jones, OG Alabama
The Chargers fill another need by drafting Barret Jones. He is best suited to play Guard in the NFL, after playing all 3 line positions (C, G, and T) at Alabama. He would step in and be an immediate starter. In addition, Center Nick Hardwick isn't getting any younger, and Jones could move over to Center, if needed.
Jones had a stellar career at Alabama, winning the Rimington Award last year as the top Collegiate Center, and the Outland Trophy as a Junior as the top Offensive Lineman. Alabama is also known for their dominating Offensive Lines, and Jones was arugably the best player on it.
Round 4 (110) -A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State
The Chargers would look to add depth and a potential starter by drafting AJ Klein in the 4th round. Inside Linebackers Takeo Spikes and Demorrio Williams were released, and they don't really know what they have yet in 3rd year player Jonas Mouton.
Klein is a guy who could come in and compete for a starting position right away, and otherwise would be a great depth player. He is known as a guy with "high motor" and hard worker. Co-Defensive MVP of the Big XII as a Junior, would be a very good "Value Pick" (channeling Mel Kiper).
Round 5 (145) -Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois
Cornerbacks Quinten Jammer and Antoine Cason were not re-signed, and although the Chargers signed Derek Cox from Jacksonville, they could use some depth in the secondary.
Hawthorne just kind of "fits the bill" in all the things you are looking for in a later round draft pick. He has the size, and all the physical tools. Needs to get into the right system, with the right coaching and could become a solid NFL player.
Round 6 (179) -T.J. Barnes, NT, Georgia Tech
We've officially moved into "let's take a shot in the dark" territory. You never have a clue what a team is going to do in the later rounds. The Chargers lost free Agent DT Antonio Garay to the New York Jets, and starting NT Abreyo Franklin to the Colts, so they have a need at DT position.
At 6'6", 369 pounds, Barnes has the prototypical size for the position. Even if he lacks some talent/skill, that kind of physical presence can't be ignored, and will take up blockers. Barnes also has experience in playing the NT in a 3-4 defense, as that is what Georgia Tech runs. He's a good fit.
Round 7 (221) - LaAdrian Waddle, OT, Texas Tech
If round 6 is "Shot in the Dark", round 7 is "Needle in a Haystack". Impossible to tell what any team will do. However, the Chargers have so many holes on the Offensive Line, I think that's where they look to add some depth.
Waddle was a three year starter at Texas Tech, and was twice named to the Big XII first team. He would not be ready to start, but would strictly be a depth signing as he learns a pro offense. He has the prototypical size for the position and great experience.
So there you go....the San Diego Chargers 2013 "Mock Draft". All this means, is that there is very, very, very high probability that NONE of these players will actually be selected by the Chargers.
I'll be watching next Thursday night as the 2013 NFL Draft begins, and see if any of my picks come to fruition.