2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Pivotal draft awaits Smith, Chargers

By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer
    2012-04-23 12:53

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A.J. Smith is on the clock.

For the San Diego Chargers, the three-day NFL draft that starts Thursday night could be about much more than simply helping to restock a once-powerful team that has fallen back to the pack.

It might also be about saving the jobs of general manager Smith and coach Norv Turner, who remain employed despite the Chargers missing the playoffs for two straight years and having just one playoff win in four seasons.

Team President Dean Spanos didn't go as far as to issue any playoffs-or-else ultimatums the day he made the unpopular decision that Smith and Turner would stay on.

He made it clear, though, that the Chargers need to win.

San Diego is 17-16 since the end of the 2009 season, including an embarrassing home playoff loss to the New York Jets in January 2010 that was the Chargers' last postseason appearance.

A six-game losing streak in the middle of the 2011 season left the Chargers at 8-8. One more win would have earned them the title in the mediocre AFC West. Instead, it went to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Now the Broncos have Peyton Manning.

More than three months after getting a reprieve, Smith claims he doesn't feel any pressure.

``I'd like to do a good job in all drafts,'' he said. ``I'd like it to all be positive and have everyone contribute and help us win and stay away from injuries. I'm only here for as long as Dean Spanos says I'm the GM. That's all that really matters. I'm thankful for the opportunity every year I get to come back.''

The Chargers have the 18th pick overall. Smith had a productive haul in free agency, but the Bolts still need impact defensive players and reinforcements on the offensive line, where four-time Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman retired because of a concussion.

Smith has come under fire for the erosion of talent from a roster that at one time was considered among the NFL's best.

For the most part, Smith has been living off the fumes of his 2004 draft, when he took Eli Manning with the first pick overall despite Archie Manning's request that he not do so, then swapped the player's rights to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and additional picks he used on kicker Nate Kaeding that year and Shawne Merriman the following year.

Smith's recent drafts have produced more busts than impact players. Spanos said Smith's drafts from 2007-09 ``were not as good'' as earlier drafts.

Of Smith's last six first-round picks, starting in 2006, Antonio Cromartie and Craig Davis are gone.

Cornerback Antoine Cason has struggled, outside linebacker Larry English hasn't lived up to his billing, running back Ryan Mathews went to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement and defensive end Corey Liuget had a quiet rookie season.

Smith loaded up on offensive players in free agency, signing wide receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal to counter the loss of Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay. He re-signed left tackle Jared Gaither, who helped stabilize the line the last five games after he was picked up off waivers. Gaither replaced the injured Marcus McNeill, who was released in March.

Smith added linebacker Jarret Johnson from Baltimore.

The consensus is that the Chargers still need to add impact players on defense, including a pass rusher and a strong safety. San Diego was last in the NFL in third-down defense, and coordinator Greg Manusky was fired after just one year on the job.

Linebackers Courtney Upshaw of Alabama and Nick Perry of Southern Cal are possibilities to be taken with the Chargers' first pick.

``I think we're always looking for impact players. They're the ones that help you win immediately. They're the ones people see. Defense is still an emphasis, if they're still there. If there's an outstanding offensive player there, you have to look at that,'' Smith said.

Some observers wouldn't be surprised if the Chargers took an offensive lineman with their first pick.

Smith said he doesn't mind being in the 18th spot. He's moved both up and down in previous drafts.

``We kind of like where we are. We don't have far to go if we want to get aggressive and go on the attack. If we want to bail out, we don't have far to go to get some picks and get good players. We're in the middle of the action in a lot of ways.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jalen SaundersAug 19 09:43a

New York Jets WR Jalen Saunders (undisclosed) is out indefinitely after suffering a 'medical event' that led to a one-car accident.

Mike EvansAug 19 09:37a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans was named a starter, alongside WRs Vincent Jackson and Chris Owusu, by head coach Lovie Smith. Owusu will start in the slot.

Mike PattersonAug 19 09:23a

New York Giants DT Mike Patterson (shoulder) and TE Daniel Fells (knee) returned to practice in full Monday, Aug. 18.

Shonn GreeneAug 19 09:23a

Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene (knee) returned to practice Monday, Aug. 18. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) and OT Taylor Lewan (ankle) did not practice.

Odell Beckham Jr.Aug 19 09:13a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) caught a pass in 7-on-7 drills Monday, Aug. 18, and burst up the field. When he ran into a defender, he [ More ]

Ryan NassibAug 19 08:53a

New York Giants QB Ryan Nassib reclaimed the backup quarterback spot from QB Curtis Painter. Nassib was forced into the two-minute drill in the second preseason game and turned it into the game-winning drive.

David WilsonAug 19 05:23a

Former New York Giants RB David Wilson, who had to retire from the National Football League due to neck issues, is in training for the triple jump event at [ More ]

Blaine GabbertAug 19 04:53a

After another poor outing by San Francisco 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert, sources indicate there has been some talk about QB Josh X. Johnson being moved to the No. 2 slot behind QB Colin Kaepernick.

Johnny ManzielAug 19 12:03a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed two of his six pass attempts for 16 yards during the team's preseason game Monday, Aug. 18, and QB Johnny Manziel completed seven [ More ]

Tyrann MathieuAug 18 11:33p

Arizona Cardinals CB Tyrann Mathieu (knee) will come off the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 19, and there is optimism that he will be ready for the team's season opener.

Tracy PorterAug 18 10:53p

Washington Redskins LB Robert Jackson (shoulder) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) left the team's preseason game Monday, Aug. 18. Jackson is questionable to return, and Porter is out for the game.

Cordy GlennAug 18 10:23p

Buffalo Bills OT Seantrel Henderson started at right tackle and OT Erik Pears started at right guard during practice Monday, Aug. 18, with OT Cordy Glenn (illness) returning from [ More ]

Darnell DockettAug 18 10:02p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (knee) will need season-ending surgery after an MRI on his right knee Monday, Aug. 18, revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Darius ReynaudAug 18 09:52p

The Chicago Bears signed free-agent RB Darius Reynaud (Jets) and free-agent CB Peyton Thompson (Redskins) to one-year deals Monday, Aug. 18. In a corresponding move, the team waived LS [ More ]

Blake BortlesAug 18 08:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles worked with the first-team offense for the first time during practice Monday, Aug. 18, taking three snaps in 11-on-11 drills.

Marquess WilsonAug 18 08:33p

Chicago Bears WR Marquess Wilson (collarbone) could be out until at least midseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone, a person with knowledge of the injury said Monday, Aug. 18.

Sammy WatkinsAug 18 08:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) is day-to-day after tests confirmed that he suffered bruised ribs in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 16, according to a person close to the situation.

Matt SchaubAug 18 07:53p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub will start the season-opener at the New York Jets. Despite a shaky start to his preseason, Schaub has the confidence of the coaching staff, [ More ]

Josh MorganAug 18 06:52p

Chicago Bears WR Josh Morgan will work as the No. 3 wide receiver during practice this week and could also fill that role during the third preseason game, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Henry MeltonAug 18 06:43p

The Dallas Cowboys would like DT Henry Melton (groin) to play during the preseason because he missed the last 13 games of the 2013 season with a knee injury. [ More ]

Darnell DockettAug 18 06:33p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett (leg) was carted off the field during practice Monday, Aug. 18, after suffering an apparent leg injury.

Cordy GlennAug 18 06:22p

Buffalo Bills OT Cordy Glenn (illness) has been cleared to participate in team drills, according to head coach Doug Marrone. The team will see how he performs during practice [ More ]

Buster SkrineAug 18 05:43p

Cleveland Browns CB Buster Skrine (thumb) recently underwent surgery on his injured thumb. He is still slated to play Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Richard QuinnAug 18 05:33p

The New Orleans Saints have released TE Richard Quinn from the Reserve/Retired list.

Korey LindseyAug 18 05:23p

The Dallas Cowboys placed Korey Lindsey (hand) on no-recall waivers from Reserve/Injured Monday, Aug. 18, with an injury settlement.

Brandon BostickAug 18 05:02p

Green Bay Packers TE Brandon Bostick (leg) will probably miss the remainder of the preseason and could miss the team's Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Bostick is not expected to need surgery.

Owen DanielsAug 18 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens TE Owen Daniels (legs) is being counted on to play Saturday, Aug. 23, against the Washington Redskins. Daniels is experiencing fatigue in his legs that should be [ More ]

Jimmy SmithAug 18 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens CB Jimmy Smith (chest) underwent an MRI that showed bruising and bleeding from his lungs, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh said the injury isn't serious [ More ]

Ricky WagnerAug 18 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens OT Ricky Wagner has won the starting right tackle job, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh said Wagner earned the job.

Doug WorthingtonAug 18 04:12p

The San Diego Chargers waived/injured DE Damik Scafe (undisclosed) and signed free-agent DE Doug Worthington (Redskins) to an undisclosed deal Monday, Aug. 18.

Pat McQuistanAug 18 04:03p

The Atlanta Falcons placed OT Sam Baker (knee) on Reserve/Injured with a torn patellar tendon and signed free-agent OT Pat McQuistan (Titans) to an undisclosed deal Monday, Aug. 18.

Jon BeasonAug 18 03:53p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot), RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring), TE Kellen Davis (undisclosed), OT Charles Brown (shoulder), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), OT James Brewer (undisclosed) and CB [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group