I decided to hop back on the Fanspeak 2014 NFL Mock Draft “On the Clock generator” to churn out another seven-round mock for a specific team and then detail each pick. Today’s mock is for the San Diego Chargers, and I would like to be up front and ask for a fair critique from the audience. In my seven-round mocks for a team, I feel like I have the tendency to overstock at certain positions, especially positions I believe to be a position of need. For instance, I had the Chargers taking three cornerbacks in this mock. I’ll justify each selection and sincerely feel like they were all very good picks, but I’m open to all points of constructive criticism to help make future mocks better and, perhaps, more balanced.
Note: I chose the OptimumScouting rankings as the big board for the base of this mock draft.
Round 1 Jason Verrett
I’ve always viewed Jason Verrett has the dream pick for the San Diego Chargers in the first round, and I was elated to see that I was able to fulfill this dream. Verrett has been my top-ranked cornerback ever since October, and teams picking in the late first round need to hope that he falls due to size concerns. While he is a smaller corner, he has the physicality, intelligence, ball skills, run defense, speed, technique, flexibility, and overall coverage ability to succeed on the outside. He can be an elite slot corner, but I also think he can be an elite corner on the outside if all goes well for him. He had a ridiculous number of passes defended in college, and I feel like the size argument is a giant crutch that the Chargers can take advantage of. I mean, Brent Grimes is small, but he’s pretty darn good.
Round 2 Timmy Jernigan
Although I’m not the biggest fan of Timmy Jernigan’s game, he was an excellent value for the Chargers in the late second round, and I view him as a guy who can play as a 3-4 nose tackle or 3-4 defensive end. In fact, he might be a better nose tackle if he can anchor, because he wasn’t the most consistently disruptive interior pass rusher at Florida State. He has an immense amount of talent, and I think it would be best served on a three-man front. Again, the value here was too good, the Chargers need help on the defensive line, and I would gladly jump on a guy with Jernigan’s talent in the second round.
Round 3 Jordan Matthews
I remember back when Jordan Matthews was taken in the first round of some mock drafts, and it’s easy to see why some people would tab him in the first. Matthews had an incredible amount of production in the SEC, displays the kind of work ethic that is rare, has off-the-charts intangibles, is a savvy route-runner, and is incredible tough. But at the same time, Matthews drops too many passes in traffic, and his physical tools aren’t good enough to take in the first. It’s a deep draft class, so I could see him slipping into the third. He did slip there in this mock draft, and he was too good to pass up on.
Round 4 Cody Latimer
The San Diego Chargers don’t have a huge need at wide receiver, so I guess it was a bit weird to go back-to-back at the position. However, I think it’s totally justifiable in the third and fourth rounds, because the Chargers would simply be taking advantage of the deep WR class by taking two talented prospects at the position in the middle rounds without paying premium. Neither Latimer nor Matthews are sure things, but that’s why the Chargers didn’t play premium for them. Latimer should actually get picked two rounds before the fourth, because he has an immense amount of upside due to his intriguing size/speed combination. Some people are too high on him, but there’s no doubt that he has big upside and would be a steal in the fourth.
Round 5 Marcus Roberson
Roberson has tumbled down draft boards as other cornerbacks have risen up them, and it’s interesting to see that a guy like Roberson, who once had a first-round grade, could fall this far. He’s not the most polished prospect, but he’s very physical and has all the physical tools to be a good starting CB in this league. With his talent and upside, it’s hard to believe he would go after the first three rounds on draft day. The CB-needy Chargers, of course, would take this pick all the way to the bank.
Round 6 Michael Sam
I think Michael Sam could have some success as a 3-4 outside linebacker in this league, and I decided to take a minor gamble on him in the sixth round. The “gamble” is the fact that he has an undefined role in the NFL due to concerns that he’s not big enough to be a 4-3 DE and not fast enough to be a 3-4 OLB, but I’ll take a productive tweener. I don’t think he’s that much worse than Kony Ealy, and I think he’s a very good deal in the sixth. The Chargers don’t have a huge need for a pass rusher, but Dwight Freeney is heading into the final year of his contract, and the Chargers need talent pass rushers behind him and Melvin Ingram.
Round 7 Loucheiz Purifoy
I wanted to take an offensive lineman late, but my defense-heavy draft class (the only offensive players picked were both wide receivers) was capped off with another Florida Gators cornerback whose stock is falling and definitely plummeted in this draft. I think Purifoy is too slow and doesn’t have good enough technique to play on the outside, but I think he has the athleticism, ball skills, short-area quickness, strength, and physicality to be an impact slot corner at the next level. It’s a bit of a gamble since Verrett might be stuck in the slot, but I’m willing to bank on Verrett’s skills on the outside and definitely willing to take a guy with Purifoy’s talent in the seventh. To me, this pick was an absolute steal, and the Chargers could fix some big needs at corner by taking Verrett, Roberson, and Purifoy in the same draft.