Just like the Lions and Cardinals before them, the Chargers have a glaring need at OT. If the season began today, their starting LT would be King Dunlap. The King was a “good enough” pass blocker and is a nice swing tackle for the right team (one that doesn’t run the ball very much), but he’s a major liability in the run game, the screen game, or really anything that requires athleticism or a mean streak.
My favorite King Dunlap play last season was on a little delayed draw to LeSean McCoy. At the snap, Dallas Reynolds and King Dunlap are going to try to get to the second level:
Foles hands to McCoy, who has room around the edge with Dunlap out in front and likely a nervous Brandon Carr, who thinks he’s got a 6’9 behemoth bearing down on him:
When suddenly, for no reason whatsoever, Dunlap just stops:
“Oh, you mean you wanted me to block somebody, LeSean?”
That was King. Unfortunately for the Chargers, there are 3 stud OTs in this year’s draft, and they’ll all be gone by the time the Chargers pick at 11. And so, they “settle” for the best CB prospect in the draft.
Heading into the Combine, a lot of draftniks had concerns about Dee Milliner’s speed. Then he ran a 4.37 40 and put those concerns to bed. Some people see Milliner as a Top 5 kind of pick. The majority see him as the #1 CB. However, I think Milliner has a two major things working against him:
- This draft is loaded with CB talent. If you’re drafting near the top five, you have to consider the “combo pick” strategy. When you’re on the board in the 2nd round, is a CB going to be sitting there with a similar grade as Milliner? Is the dropoff from Milliner to one of those corners who can be had in the early 30’s really all that great? For example, here’s a fantastic breakdown of various metrics comparisons between Milliner, Johnthan Banks, and Xavier Rhodes. Are we sure Milliner is head and shoulders better than them? Teams may feel like they’ll be better served taking a premium player at a weaker position early in this draft, then finding a quality corner later. If you draft the corner in the first round, there may be a much larger dropoff from a player at another position, and what’s left at that position when you’re picking again.
- If you’re drafting a CB in the Top 5, typically you’d prefer that player to have tremendous ball skills who can create turnovers, and/or be a major threat in the return game. Milliner gives you neither of those two things. Patrick Peterson had an 11 yard punt return average and 2 TDs his senior season. Morris Claiborne had 11 picks his last 2 years at LSU. Those two guys would have me fired up to take very high in the draft. A player like Milliner, with 5 interceptions in 2 years as a starter at Alabama, does not.
The Chargers drafted a pair of CBs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2011 draft, and signed free agent Derek Cox to a 4 year deal worth $20 million. While CB isn’t exactly the most pressing need, and despite his play making deficiencies, Milliner is still just too good to pass up at 11. It should also probably be noted that the best team in the Chargers’ division has Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker. They’re going to need a lot of guys who can cover.