Chargers Mock Draft: Instant Contributors San Diego Can Find in Every Round
San Diego will be looking for instant contributors in the draft capable of making a difference in 2014, and there are plenty to be found in a deep draft class. The trick is finding those players in every round who can make an impact immediately.
Keenan Allen proved last season that instant contributors can come from any round, so where can the Chargers find the next guy to follow in his footsteps?
Here are seven prospects who can contribute early in 2014 as a starter or as a role player.
Round 1: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with an NFL scout who called Roby the most talented cornerback in the draft, but there are some drawbacks that might come with taking the former Buckeye.
He's the most talented (cornerback) but he's totally undependable for me. Something's missing with him. When you talk about quickness, speed, athletic ability, change of direction, he's got all that. Then he just gets beat every game. It's mental. Some guys just don't have a feel for it. He just plays that way.
San Diego needs to find a game-changing corner in the draft, and Roby could be that player if he can get past the mental stuff.
Second Round: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Receivers don't come much more decorated than Matthews, who leaves the Commodores as the SEC's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. Despite the accolades and bloodlines to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, Matthews isn't a surefire first-rounder and could fall into the middle rounds.
If the Chargers plan on bolstering their receiving corps, Matthews is a good start.
Third Round: Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee
At his size, McCullers looks the part of an offensive tackle at 6'7" and more than 350 pounds, but he found success on defense with the Volunteers. Excelling as a run-stuffer on the defensive line, McCullers racked up 72 tackles and 10 for loss in two seasons at Tennessee.
San Diego will be looking for big-bodied nose tackles in the draft, and McCullers is one of the biggest at the position in this year's class. Those exceptionally long arms would be perfect in batting down passes as well.
Fourth Round: Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
CBS Sports' draft analyst Dane Brugler called Exum "the forgotten man in this [cornerback] class" because of durability concerns. Exum's strengths lie in his physical nature in press coverage and his ability to provide run support. He's versatile as well, being able to play almost any spot in the secondary.
If Exum can overcome his recent string of injuries and pick up where he left off in his junior season, then he'll find a home in the NFL and contribute immediately.
Round Five: Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC
Breslin wasn't happy about his combine snub, per Mike Huguenin of NFL.com, which should make for an awfully large chip on his shoulder leading up to the draft. The former Trojan totaled 17.5 sacks in two seasons at USC, including 13 in 2012 before he had a run-in with injuries the following season.
The Chargers are still looking for that pass-rushing threat, and Breslin seems like the type of player that would be more than willing to prove his doubters wrong with an impressive rookie season.
Round 6: Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State
Janis tested well across the board at the combine and his measurables were decent among receivers, but a lack of competition at the collegiate level will really hurt his draft stock. The Division II standout will have a hard time translating his success at the next level, but there's too much potential to pass on.
San Diego should consider adding another receiver here in the later rounds for depth. Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal have proven to be fairly injury prone.
Round Seven: De'Anthony Thomas, OW, Oregon
You don't draft Thomas to fill in the depth at running back if you're San Diego because there's not a problem there, but you do take Thomas to give Philip Rivers another weapon and a dynamic return man. Thomas just needed the ball in his hands to make a difference, and there's a variety of ways you could line him up at the next level.
The Chargers are looking for speed on offense, and Thomas gives you just that.