J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin.
Playing the role of San Diego Chargers general manager is 'Anthony P.' Here is his rationale for the selection of Watt:
Since the 2004 draft, where AJ Smith famously turned Eli Manning into Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, and Nate Kaeding, his early-to-mid-round draft choices have mostly worked out. Names like Shaun Phillips (4th round), Luis Castillo (2nd round), Vincent Jackson (third round), Darren Sproles (4th round), Eric Weddle (2nd round), Antoine Cason (1st round), and Ryan Mathews (1st round) have all helped the Chargers to amass 76 regular season wins, five playoff appearances, and one Conference Championship appearance since 2004. There's been no real pattern to A.J.'s draft choices, no penchant for stocking up on defensive linemen, like the Giants, or wide receivers, like the Lions. It's always been by need. And this coming draft is no exception.
If you were to just look at the stats from last season, you'd think all was well in "Chargers World," save for the crazy amount of special teams blunders that likely prevented them from making the playoffs. First in total offense, second in total points, second in points per game, first in total defensive yards given up, and first in defensive yards given up per game. A closer look however, shows them lacking in some areas on defense. Middle of the pack in interceptions, near the bottom in passes defensed, and third from last in forced fumbles. They were in the top five in total sacks (47 total), but that stat is a little misleading, with 27 of them coming in five games against QB-starved teams like Arizona, San Francisco, Denver, and Kansas City (the game where Brody Croyle started after Cassel's appendectomy). Take out those games, and that makes 20 in the other 11 games... not good, especially when you might have only one real playmaker, Cason, in the secondary this season with Weddle possibly leaving for free agency.
With guys like Rivers, Mathews, Jackson, Gates, Floyd, Naanee, Tolbert, and possibly Sproles, the offense will be just fine, and probably continue to put up the sick stats they've grown accustomed to over the past half-decade.
This year's need is on the defensive line. A big ol' lineman, who can step in from Day 1, plug up some holes, take on some double-teams, and get some pressure on the upper-echelon quarterbacks. A guy like that can help cover up some secondary deficiencies, which the Chargers certainly have, and can address in later rounds if they want to. Now by no means are they getting a game-changer like Bowers or Fairley this late in the first round, but a solid pickup can be had at a position-of-need.
But alas! In our draft, a solid Top 12 talent is available! J.J. Watt, star DE of Wisconsin. 6-foot-6, 292 pounds. Second team All-American, first team All-Big Ten, and Team MVP for 2010. Last season, he led the team in sacks, quarterback hurries, forced fumbles, and tackles-for-losses. Great moves, quickness, hands, and very durable. Only played two full years of Div. 1 football, so his skills need a little extra work to adapt to the pro-style of play. But with the right coaching and system, he'll fit in nicely. I see a little bit of JPP in him, and if the Chargers get out of Watt what the Giants got out of JPP last season, they'd be extremely happy.
My take: Probably the right pick for the Chargers here, considering who is left on the board. Matching the Chargers needs with the available players, Watt is the best impact player here for San Diego.
Of course, this now puts me on the clock for the Giants pick. I might torture you guys just a bit and make you wait until Thursday morning for it. We'll see.
|19||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli
|29||Chicago||You're my boy, Blue|
New York Jets
|48||Oakland||G Fan In England
|52||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli|
||You're my boy, Blue|