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

Knowshon MorenoSep 2 09:33a

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller totaled nearly 20 percent (140 yards) of his season yardage total (709 yards) on his longest four carries of the 2013 season. He had [ More ]

J.J. WattSep 2 04:23a

The Houston Texans signed DL J.J. Watt to a new long-term contract on Monday, Sept. 1. Watt's extension is a six-year deal worth $100 million, of which $51.876 million is guaranteed money.

Kyle Van NoySep 2 04:23a

Detroit Lions LB Kyle Van Noy (core muscle) could miss as many as eight games as he recovers from core muscle surgery. He could be placed on short-term IR as a result.

Josh BoyceSep 2 03:12a

The New England Patriots signed LB Jake Bequette, DL Deontae Skinner, OL Chris Martin, S Kanorris Davis, LS Charley Hughlett, CB Daxton Swanson and WR Josh Boyce to the [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsSep 2 01:02a

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) said he felt fine after practice Monday, Sept. 1, and hopes to be on the field in Week 1.

A.J. EddsSep 2 12:43a

The New York Jets re-signed LB A.J. Edds Monday, Sept. 1.

Kevin DorseySep 2 12:03a

The Green Bay Packers signed WR Kevin Dorsey, C Garth Gerhart, WR Alex Gillett, RB Michael Hill, LB Adrian Hubbard and DE Luther Robinson to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Tim BenfordSep 1 11:52p

The Dallas Cowboys signed WR Tim Benford, DE Kenneth Boatright, C Ronald Patrick, CB Micah Pellerin, LB Keith Smith, LB William Smith and FB Nikita Whitlock to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Devon StillSep 1 10:42p

The Cincinnati Bengals signed OT Dan France, TE Kevin Greene, WR Cobi Hamilton, DT David King, WR Colin Lockett, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Sam Montgomery, C Trevor Robinson, DT [ More ]

Isaiah FreySep 1 10:33p

The Chicago Bears signed WR Josh Bellamy, C Taylor Boggs, DT Brandon Dunn, DB Isaiah Frey, OG Ryan Groy, LB DeDe Lattimore, DB Albert Louis-Jean, DB Terrance Mitchell, DE [ More ]

Bryan WaltersSep 1 09:33p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed free-agent WR Bryan Walters (Seahawks) to a contract Monday, Sept. 1. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

J. CunninghamSep 1 09:33p

The St. Louis Rams re-signed TE Justice Cunningham (ankle) and placed him on the season-ending reserve/injured list Monday, Sept. 1.

Quentin GrovesSep 1 09:33p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Texans) to an undisclosed contract Monday, Sept. 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 09:23p

Free-agent C Josh Allen (Buccaneers), C Thomas Austin (Colts), OG Karim Barton (Browns), CB Akeem Davis (Redskins), LB Larry Dean (Vikings), TE Richard Gordon (Dolphins), TE Marcel Jensen (Vikings), [ More ]

Michael SamSep 1 08:02p

The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League owns the rights to free-agent DE Michael Sam (Rams). The team has reached out to him, but there is no word [ More ]

Jeremiah GeorgeSep 1 08:02p

The New York Jets placed LB Jeremiah George on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Tim FuggerSep 1 08:02p

The New York Jets placed DE Tim Fugger (ankle) on no-recall waivers from the reserve/injured list Monday, Sept. 1, and he received an injury settlement.

Phil BatesSep 1 08:02p

The Seattle Seahawks placed WR Phil Bates on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Don JonesSep 1 08:02p

The New England Patriots claimed CB Don Jones (Dolphins) off waivers Monday, Sept. 1.

Derek CarrSep 1 06:42p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr will be the starting quarterback Week 1.

Charles JohnsonSep 1 05:42p

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agents WR Charles X. Johnson (Browns) and OG Karim Barton (Browns) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Khalid WootenSep 1 05:32p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent CB Khalid Wooten (Titans) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Phillip AdamsSep 1 04:52p

The New York Jets signed free-agents CB Phillip Adams (Seahawks) and released WR Quincy Enunwa Monday, Sept. 1.

Korey ToomerSep 1 04:22p

The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent LB Korey Toomer (Seahawks) and released CB Jemea Thomas Monday, Sept. 1.

Case KeenumSep 1 04:22p

The St. Louis Rams claimed QB Case Keenum off waivers from the Houston Texans Monday, Sept. 1.

Ryan SuccopSep 1 04:22p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent PK Ryan Succop (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal and released PK Travis Coons Monday, Sept. 1.

James IhedigboSep 1 04:22p

Detroit Lions SS James Ihedigbo (leg), FS Don Carey (undisclosed) and LB Kyle Van Noy (abdomen) did not practice Monday, Sept. 1.

Garrett GilbertSep 1 04:03p

The St. Louis Rams signed free-agents QB Garrett Gilbert (Rams), LB Kevin Reddick (Saints), SS Matt Daniels (Rams), LB Denicos Allen (Panthers) and OT Sean Hooey (Rams) to their practice squad Monday, Sept. 1.

Bruce IrvinSep 1 03:52p

Seattle Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood (foot) and LB Bruce Irvin (hip) may play Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Corey PetersSep 1 03:32p

Atlanta Falcons DT Corey Peters (Achilles') is still iffy for the regular season opener. Head coach Mike Smith said he wants Peters to practice in pads Wednesday, Sept. 3, before making a decision.

Trai TurnerSep 1 03:12p

Carolina Panthers OG Trai Turner (groin) will start at right guard Sunday, Sept. 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to head coach Ron Rivera, though C Fernando Velasco may spot him at times.

Kyle WilliamsSep 1 03:02p

The Kansas City Chiefs released WR Kyle Williams Monday, Sept. 1.

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