NFL

Offseason review: San Diego Chargers

Corey Liuget is expected to play defensive end with the Chargers.
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Adam Caplan

Adam Caplan is our newest NFL reporter/insider at FOXSports.com. He has spent the past 10 seasons covering the league, specializing in player personnel, injuries and contracts.

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Pre-draft needs

DE, WR, ILB, ORT, CB

OFFSEASON REVIEWS

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NFC North: | | |

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NFC South: | | |

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Draft class

Round 1: Corey Liuget, DT
Round 2: Marcus Gilchrist, CB
Round 2: Jonas Mouton, LB
Round 3: Vincent Brown, WR
Round 3: Shareece Wright, CB
Round 6: Jordan Todman, RB
Round 6: Steve Schilling, G
Round 7: Andrew Gachkar, LB

Potential free agents of note

Billy Volek, QB
Darren Sproles, RB
Mike Tolbert, FB/RB
Malcom Floyd, WR
Vincent Jackson, WR
Randy McMichael, TE
Jeromey Clary. ORT
Jacques Cesaire, DE
Brandon Siler, ILB
Stephen Cooper, ILB
Kevin Burnett, ILB
Antwan Applewhite, OLB
Paul Oliver, FS
Eric Weddle, FS

 

Post-draft needs

ILB, WR (depth), ORT

Analysis

The Chargers were clearly one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams last season, so they addressed some of their most important needs in April’s draft.

With veteran defensive end Jacques Cesaire unsigned and with very little depth left on the roster at the position, the Chargers selected defensive lineman Corey Liuget with their first-round selection. Liuget played defensive tackle at the University of Illinois, but he’s expected to transition to end in the Chargers 3-4 scheme.

With depth as an issue at the cornerback position, the Chargers selected Marcus Gilchrist with the first of two second-round picks. Gilchrist is also capable of playing free safety and returning kicks. Third-round pick Shareece Wright and Gilchrist figure to compete for a role in the dime defense this season. It’s worth noting that the contracts of starting cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason will expire after the 2012 season, so the rookie cornerbacks could have larger roles down the road.

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While some fans think the Chargers reached a bit for linebacker Jonas Mouton with their last second-round pick, a personnel source said Mouton should be a very good fit for team’s 3-4 defensive scheme because of his tackling ability. Mouton, who played at weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 defense at the University of Michigan, is expected to transition to the inside with the Chargers. Mouton’s playing time this season could be dictated by the team’s ability to re-sign their top three inside linebackers (Stephen Cooper, Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett).

The Chargers had major injury and depth problems at wide receiver last season, so the selection of third-round pick Vincent Brown shouldn’t come to a surprise. Brown, who had a terrific set of practices during Senior Bowl week, had perhaps the best hands of any wide receiver available for this year’s draft.

With the likelihood that the team will lose veteran running back Darren Sproles in free agency, the team addressed his probable departure with the selection of Jordan Todman in the sixth round. Todman will add some speed to the position, but he could also challenge for a role as a kickoff returner.
 

Tagged: Chargers, Jacques Cesaire, Stephen Cooper, Kevin Burnett, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, Brandon Siler, Corey Liuget, Shareece Wright, Marcus Gilchrist, Jonas Mouton, Vincent Brown, Jordan Todman

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