2013 NFL Offseason: San Diego Chargers
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
San Diego Chargers (Last Year: 7-9)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: C+
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: Is Philip Rivers done? This is something the Chargers must find out, and they can do so by bolstering the offensive line. Unfortunately, they'll be out of range for Lane Johnson at No. 11. People talk about trading up, but I'd rather move down, add picks and perhaps pick up someone like Justin Pugh in the mid-20s. If the Chargers stay put, they should draft the top player available at 11 and then upgrade the offensive line after that.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Chargers were in a really tough spot at No. 11. The top three tackles and two guards were gone, so they had a decision - they could either reach for the sixth-ranked offensive lineman or address a lesser need with the No. 1 player available. They opted for the former.
I can't say I'm a fan of San Diego's decision. I can see why the front office did it - Philip Rivers was absolutely wrecked last year because of poor blocking in front of him. However, D.J. Fluker was a reach. He can't play left tackle, so that position is still a big need. Right tackles are a dime a dozen, so perhaps the better route would have been to grab Star Lotulelei or Jarvis Jones at No. 11 and then look at a right tackle or guard in Round 2.
Keenan Allen was San Diego's best choice. There's no way he should have fallen to the third round. The pick that drew the most attention, meanwhile, was Manti Te'o. The media is bound to create a distraction with him, but San Diego is one of the smaller markets, so it won't be as bad as if he went to Minnesota or New York.
The Chargers had an OK draft overall. They made some improvements, but still have the same glaring issue. How will Rivers make it through another season behind a terrible offensive line?
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
11. D.J. Fluker, OT/G, Alabama: B- Grade
This pick is a difficult one to grade. Unlike his teammate Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker can play tackle, giving him a bit more positional value. However, he can only line up on the right side if he's on the outside, meaning San Diego still has a big hole at left tackle. The thing is that San Diego almost had to go offensive line, and with the top tackles off the board, Fluker was the next-best option.
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38. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame: C Grade
I'm not too crazy about this. The Chargers had other needs, but the main question is why they felt like they had to move up for Manti Te'o. Who was going to take him between Picks 38 and 45. I'd also be concerned about distractions destroying a weak locker room. Te'o is a very good player who should have been a first-rounder, but I don't like this fit for him.
76. Keenan Allen, WR, California: A+ Grade
Keenan Allen was a top-25 prospect throughout the entire draft process until concerns set in that he wouldn't be able to run a 40. He did, and then he managed a 4.71. And after that, there was the mysterious drug test at the Combine. It's worth noting that Allen never tested positive, so with that in mind, this is an outstanding pick by the Chargers. Allen is a very talented wideout in the Anquan Boldin mold, so Philip Rivers has to be thrilled.
145. Steve Williams, CB, California: B- Grade
This is a very slight reach, but Steve Williams definitely fills a need. The Chargers have the injury-prone Derek Cox and Marcus Gilchrist at corner, so San Diego had to find help at the position.
179. Tourek Williams, DE, Connecticut: B Grade
The Chargers had tons of holes on their roster, including one at the rush linebacker position. Shaun Phillips is gone, so perhaps Tourek Williams can eventually win the job across from Melvin Ingram. Williams fits the range as a sixth-round prospect.
221. Brad Sorensen, QB, Southern Utah: C Grade
San Diego had to find a backup for Philip Rivers, but Brad Sorensen over Tyler Bray, Zac Dysert, Matt Scott and Sean Renfree? Not so sure about that.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
San Diego fans have been pining for ownership to fire A.J. Smith and Norv Turner for years. Well, after watching their team disappoint season after season, they finally got their wish. Smith and Turner were axed on Black Monday. The new front office and coaching staff will have to repair a seemingly broken Philip Rivers, who has regressed the past couple of years.
- Two Offensive Tackles: Has Philip Rivers truly regressed, or is one of the league's worst offensive lines to blame? San Diego's new front office won't truly know until it makes repairs up front. Neither Jared Gaither nor Jeromey Clary can be allowed to return as the team's starting tackles. The Chargers may have to consider trading up for Lane Johnson. Signed Max Starks and King Dunlap
- Two Guards: Continuing with the offensive line, Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green are both free agents. Vasquez was stellar in 2012, while Green was a serviceable starter. They need to be retained. If they aren't, the Chargers will have to keep adding new linemen. Signed Chad Rinehart and Rich Ohrnberger
- Two Cornerbacks: Starting corners Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason are free agents as well. Jammer will be 34 in June and Cason stinks, so they need to be replaced anyway. Signed Derek Cox; claimed Johnny Patrick
- Rush Linebacker: San Diego spent a first-round pick on Melvin Ingram last April, but it'll have to find a new rush linebacker unless it re-signs Shaun Phillips. Barkevious Mingo will be an option at No. 11. Signed Dwight Freeney
- Inside Linebacker: Takeo Spikes was cut because he was owed $3 million in non-guaranteed money in 2013.
- Running Back: Who breaks two collarbones in a season? Ryan Mathews is made out of glass, so San Diego needs a Plan B for when he gets hurt again. Signed Danny Woodhead; re-signed Ronnie Brown
- Wide Receiver: Danario Alexander is a solid starting receiver when healthy, but he's very injury-prone. Malcom Floyd, meanwhile, epitomizes mediocrity. The Chargers have to find an alternative option at receiver for Rivers. Tendered Danario Alexander
- Safety: Atari Bigby was a liability in coverage, so he was released. Corey Lynch should be re-signed because he performed well in place of an injured Bigby in December.
- Quarterback: The Chargers should draft a quarterback in the middle rounds as a developmental project just in case Rivers is actually broken beyond repair.
- Tight End: All of the injuries have finally gotten to Antonio Gates, who can no longer separate. Signed John Phillips
- Kicker: Nick Novak is a free agent.
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts. Age: 33.
Signed with Chargers
Dwight Freeney didn't have a good 2012 campaign because he was bothered by an ankle injury and had to transition into a 3-4 for the first time in his career. He should be better on a team with a 4-3 defense next year.
Derek Cox, CB, Jaguars. Age: 26.
Signed with Chargers
Derek Cox would be ranked much higher if he were reliable. He's a talented cornerback, but he's missed 14 games in the past two seasons. The Jaguars have to be so frustrated with his inability to stay healthy.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots. Age: 28.
Signed with Chargers
Danny Woodhead is a nifty pass-catching back who thrives in New England's system, but it's safe to say he wouldn't be as heavily utilized elsewhere.
Chad Rinehart, G, Bills. Age: 28.
Signed with Chargers (1 year)
Chad Rinehart did a phenomenal job replacing Andy Levitre in 2011 when the stud guard had to move around in the wake of injuries to Eric Wood and Demetress Bell. Unfortunately, Rinehart missed most of 2012 with an ankle injury.
- King Dunlap, OT, Eagles. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chargers
- Max Starks, OT, Steelers. Age: 31. -- Signed with Chargers
- Deon Butler, WR, Seahawks. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chargers
- John Phillips, TE, Cowboys. Age: 26. -- Signed with Chargers (3 years)
- Johnny Patrick (Waivers), CB, Saints. Age: 25. -- Claimed by Chargers
- Rich Ohrnberger (RFA), G/C, Cardinals. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chargers
- Jarius Wynn, DE, Titans. Age: 27. -- Signed with Chargers
San Diego Chargers Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Louis Vasquez, G, Chargers. Age: 26.
Signed with Broncos (4 years, $23.5 million; $13 million guaranteed)
Louis Vasquez parlayed a strong offseason with a great 2012 campaign. He was rock solid in an otherwise pedestrian offensive front. He should be heavily compensated.
Danario Alexander (RFA), WR, Chargers. Age: 25.
Tendered by Chargers (original)
Danario Alexander exploded after signing with the Chargers in the middle of the season, catching 36 balls for 624 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. He has tons of potential, but he is also a big risk because of his extensive injury history.
Shaun Phillips, DE/OLB, Chargers. Age: 32.
Signed with Broncos
Shaun Phillips recorded close to double-digit sacks and was stout in coverage this season, though he was a big liability against the run. He'll be 32 in May, unfortunately.
Nick Novak, K, Chargers. Age: 32.
Nick Novak did a good job replacing an injured Nate Kaeding again, hitting 18-of-20 kicks, including 2-of-4 from 50-plus. He converted on just 70.4 percent of his tries in the three years before 2012, however.
Tyronne Green, G, Chargers. Age: 27.
Signed with Patriots
Tyronne Green wasn't very good in 2011, but improved enough this past year to be a capable starting guard.
Antwan Barnes, DE/OLB, Chargers. Age: 28.
Signed with Jets
Antwan Barnes is a solid pass-rushing specialist. He recorded 11 sacks in 2011, but didn't do much last year because of a bothersome hamstring injury.
Aubrayo Franklin, NT, Chargers. Age: 33.
Signed with Colts
Aubrayo Franklin will be 33 in August, but he can still get the job done as a run-stuffer.
Jared Gaither, OT, Chargers. Age: 27.
Jared Gaither is one of the most talented tackles in the NFL. Unfortunately, he's very injury-prone and lazy. A team with a strong locker room and coaching staff should consider signing him to a 1-year deal.
Michael Spurlock, WR/KR, Chargers. Age: 30.
Michael Spurlock scored two special-teams touchdowns in 2012. He also recorded seven catches for 64 yards in one game as a slot receiver.
Corey Lynch, S, Chargers. Age: 28.
Corey Lynch is an awesome special-teamer who performed well as a starting safety down the stretch in place of an injured Atari Bigby.
Quentin Jammer, CB, Chargers. Age: 34.
Quentin Jammer had his moments early in the 2012 season, but really wore down during the stretch. His starting days could be over.
Antoine Cason, CB, Chargers. Age: 27.
Signed with Cardinals (1 year)
Antoine Cason was torched on a weekly basis this past season. The former first-round pick is still young enough to turn his career around, but time is running out.
Takeo Spikes, ILB, Chargers. Age: 36.
Takeo Spikes played well for the first few months of the season in 2012, but he struggled mightily down the stretch. There's a chance he could be done. At best, he's a solid, two-down veteran.
- Ronnie Brown, RB, Chargers. Age: 31. -- Re-signed with Chargers
- Atari Bigby, S, Chargers. Age: 31.
- Antonio Garay, NT, Chargers. Age: 33.
- Richard Goodman (RFA), KR, Chargers. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Chargers (1 year, $630,000)
- Antonio Garay, NT, Chargers. Age: 33. -- Signed with Jets
- Randy McMichael, TE, Chargers. Age: 34.
- Vaughn Martin, DT, Chargers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Dolphins
- Demorrio Williams, ILB, Chargers. Age: 33.
- Rex Hadnot, G, Chargers. Age: 31.
- Dante Rosario, TE, Chargers. Age: 28.
- Seyi Ajirotutu (RFA), WR, Chargers. Age: 26.
- Curtis Brinkley (RFA), RB, Chargers. Age: 27.
- Jackie Battle, RB, Chargers. Age: 29.
- Chris Carr, CB, Chargers. Age: 30.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 26
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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