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Chargers gain draft strength

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

For the Chargers fans who were ready to jump ship for what had been a mostly fruitless offseason, about face, please. Your team will be one of the power brokers in the draft.

Sure, they don't pick until 28th in the first round, but they now hold the 40th pick (thanks, Seattle!), which was acquired in the Charlie Whitehurst trade, and they also have three third-round picks next year that they can use as trade bait into this draft if they so choose. In a deeper-than-normal draft, especially at some need positions, they should be able to be a better football team next season.

A lot of people feel Ryan Mathews might be the running back they need at 28 with LT gone and no 20-carry back in place. Normally, I don't like the idea of taking running backs in Round One because they can be found throughout the draft and first-round picks there don't often live up to expectations. But with all the early picks, the Chargers could go for a guy such as Mathews, whom I like a lot. He's better than Donald Brown, who went in the same range last year, and might be one of the few true workhorse backs in the draft this year in what looks like a sub-par lot.

In the second round, they could get the nose tackle they need to replace Jamal Williams. I like North Carolina's Cam Thomas a lot, though you might be able to get him in Round Three. Alabama's Terence Cody also could be an option.

I think a defensive end also could be on the docket. So perhaps a versatile D-lineman such as Cal's Tyson Alualu or Texas' Lamarr Houston could work. Both are solid second-round options.

I also could see them looking at the offensive line, too. If the Chargers want someone who projects to be a starter in a year or tow, they'll have to strike early. USC's Charles Brown might be a nice project. Or a fleet-footed pass protector such as West Virginia's Selvish Capers might fit.

If you know anything about the Chargers and the way they draft, you know they love to take cornerbacks early. The trade of Antonio Cromartie almost guarantees they'll follow suit this year. Virginia's Chris Cook might be off the board by the 40th pick, but if not he'd be a great fit. So would Oklahoma State's Perrish Cox, though he might be more of a third-round possibility.

And hey, why not take a look at Tim Tebow? With Whitehurst gone and two solid QBs in tow, Tebow could come in with little fanfare (relatively speaking, of course), sit behind another unorthodox QB in Philip Rivers and perhaps moonlight at a tight end/H-back. They have the picks early to take a risk on a guy like that.

Lots of options. Hang tight, Chargers fans. Your team isn't dead yet.

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