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Bucs Nation Community Mock Draft - #18 San Diego Chargers

The New England Patriots got J.J. Watt. It was a little surprising to see him go before Cameron Jordan, but he would fit the Pats very well. They really need a 3-4 defensive end, and Watt was made for that position. He'd immediately upgrade their defense, which has been pretty poor the last years. Their need for an edge rusher still wouldn't be fixed, though, and they really need one of those.

Today we move to the San Diego Chargers, who somehow managed to miss the playoffs despite having a very strong offense and defense. Their special teams play seemed to be the main culprit in their disappointing, but that's not going to be the focus of their first-round pick of course. They do have some needs on both offense and defense. They need another pass rusher opposite Shaun Phillips, and their starting inside linebackers are free agents. They also need help along the defensive line, especially at defensive end. On offense they need wide receivers, as they still haven't re-signed Vincent Jackson who held out most of last season, though they have used the franchise tag on him. So who do you think they'll draft?

The draft so far:

1. Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton
2. Denver Broncos - DT Marcell Dareus
3. Buffalo Bills - DE Von Miller
4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR A.J. Green
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert
6. Cleveland Browns - CB Patrick Peterson
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB Prince Amukamara
8. Tennessee Titans - DT Nick Fairley
9. Dallas Cowboys - OT Tyron Smith
10. Washington Redskins - WR Julio Jones
11. Houston Texans - DE Robert Quinn
12. Minnesota Vikings - QB Ryan Mallett
13. Detroit Lions - DE Da'Quan Bowers
14. St. Louis Rams - DT Corey Liuget
15. Miami Dolphins - RB Mark Ingram
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Ryan Kerrigan

QB Jake Locker, Washington: A supremely talented quarterback with some really bad accuracy issues. Jake Locker was hyped badly coming into this year with the expectation that he'd get much better, but that improvement never occurred. Instead, he remained inaccurate and inconsistent. But Locker really reminds me of Josh Freeman - both were inaccurate coming out of college, they weren't big winners, they had trouble reading defenses, but they also had supreme talent at the quarterback position, a great work ethic and good leadership skills.

QB Christian Ponder, Florida State: Christian Ponder is an interesting prospect. He's had a decent career at Florida State, but his senior season was marred by injury leading to some concerns about his arm strengths that are, in my view, unjustified. Ponder is an accurate, smart quarterback who has a lot of attributes of an NFL passer. Honestly, I think this is the most consistent quarterback in the draft whose biggest question mark is whether his injuries have sapped some physical skills.

DE Aldon Smith, Missouri: A defensive end with tons of potential. Smith has a lanky frame and huge arms, and looks like the kind of pass rusher the New York Giants love to hoard. He can bend around the edge, but looks best when making inside moves. He can control linemen and shed to make plays with his long arms, although he isn't the strongest lineman. He has plenty of room in his frame to grow and add weight, and should be even more impressive in a couple of years. Unfortunately he's also very raw and will likely take a while to get used to the NFL. Great potential, but don't expect early returns.

CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado: Jimmy Smith could actually challenge Patrick Peterson as the most talented cornerback in the draft. He's a terrific player who would excel in press-man coverage, and isn't all that different from Darrelle Revis. There are very few negatives about Jimmy Smith on the field. The only problem is that he has some significant questions about his off-field behavior and will drop in the draft because of that. Whoever takes a risk on him will end up with a great cornerback, but will have to worry about keeping him on the field. The Chargers don't really need a cornerback, though.

DE Cameron Jordan, California: A powerful, polished and very versatile defensive end. He has experience playing in a 3-4 defense and could be a great pawn for the Chargers defense, who could use a 3-4 end. He's strong against the run and an effective pass rusher as a 5-technique, though he isn't the most explosive pass rusher in the draft. But he dominated the Senior Bowl, had a very productive college career, always hustles and is a high-character kid.

OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College: Another good, polished lineman from Boston College. Castonzo is a very solid offensive tackle whose physical upside maybe isn't that great, but who can be a very good tackle for years on end. He does need to add some strength physically, but he has the ability to be a good left tackle for years to come. Doesn't have the upside of Tyron Smith, but could still anchor an offensive line. The Chargers could use a right tackle, so he would fit that.

C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida: The top interior lineman in the draft, very similar to his brother except he's not that good at snapping the ball. He will likely be a premium lineman for years to come and should provide immediate returns for the team that drafts him. The Chargers have a solid interior line, though, and don't really need a guard.

WR Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh: Jonathan Baldwin is huge. At 6'5" 230lbs he could be the new Mike Williams (USC/Lions/Seahawks version), except hopefully without all the problems. He isn't real explosive and doesn't seem to generate a lot of separation from defensive backs, but because of his size he doesn't really need to do that to catch passes. He would fit the Chargers needs, who still haven't signed Vincent Jackson and trotted out a lot of journeymen wide receivers last year.

WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami(Florida): Leonard Hankerson is a solid all-around receiver who doesn't do anything particularly well. He can run, but he's no speed demon. He's got decent size, but he isn't huge. He's a good route runner, but he's not overly explosive. What sets him apart is his hands and his ability to catch the ball at his highest point, which is very valuable.

LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA: Ayers is a very good player who may have a bigger impact in the pros than in college, depending on the way he develops. He has the athletic ability to be a good pass rusher, but he wasn't asked to do this consistently and should get much better at it with proper coaching. He has good range, he's explosive and a powerful tackler. There are some questions about his speed, though, as he ran a 4.81s 40-yard dash at the combine.

LB/DE Justin Houston, Georgia: Houston is an interesting prospect, as everyone seems to be claiming he should move to linebacker but he seems like a better fit at defensive end. Houston is a pass rusher through and through, and he's good at it. He was very consistent throughout the season as well, but there are some questions about his effort on the field, which is always a red flag. If those questions weren't there he'd probably be a higher pick, too, as there's no doubt he can get after the quarterback.