Free Agency

How Free Agency Has Impacted SD’s Draft Plans


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The Chargers struck fast in free agency, bringing in WR Travis Benjamin, NT Brandon Mebane and FS Dwight Lowery. And while the team is not done scouring the market for veteran talent, it is clear the heavy lifting has already been done (especially since the team already held its introductory news conference for free agents).

Now the question changes from, “Who will the Chargers target?” to “How will this affect the team’s plans for the draft?”

You can cross “receiver” off the team’s list of needs. A top-four that features Keenan Allen, Benjamin, Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman seems pretty well set.

Also, our most recent mock draft had the Chargers selecting Clemson NT D.J. Reader in the fourth round. With Mebane onboard — and with Ryan Carrethers expected to take on a larger role in his third season — there is no longer a need to draft a nose tackle.

That same mock draft had the Chargers taking Boise State FS Darian Thompson in the second round. That could very well still happen, even with the addition of Lowery. The Chargers entered the offseason needing two starting-caliber safeties, so Lowery’s addition is the one signing that does not alter the team’s draft plans to a large degree.

So, what’s the new draft forecast look like?

Instead of taking Reader in the fourth round, the Chargers can now address other needs. We recently explored the idea of drafting Cardale Jones in that spot if he is still available. Backup QB Kellen Clemens recently signed a new one-year deal, so this would give Jones the chance to watch a learn as the No. 3 QB this season and then begin his ascension up the depth chart in 2017.

The fourth round could also be where the Chargers look for depth at inside linebacker after releasing Donald Butler and Kavell Conner. Nick Vigil (Utah State) and Tyler Matakevich (Temple) are a couple prospects to keep an eye on.

The Chargers also need to draft a tight end to replace Ladarius Green, who has moved onto Pittsburgh. So instead of spending a fifth-round pick on Geronimo Allison, as we had originally projected, Tom Telesco could use that selection on a player like Iowa TE Henry Krieger-Coble.

We talked with Krieger-Coble earlier this offseason about how he would fit in with the Chargers, where he would replace H-back David Johnson.

“Just being able to be put in different positions is something I have experience in and confidence in myself going forward, that I can go and play an H-back in certain plays and be able to be a good asset playing a fullback-type position, too,” he said.

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About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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