2011 Draft Special: Pick #18- San Diego Chargers

In 2011, the San Diego Chargers ranked first in offensive yards, second in points per game, third in first downs, fourth in third down percentage (offensive), first in yards given up (meaning their defensive gave up the fewest yards), 10th best in points allowed per game, and 4th best in third down conversions allowed.

And this team missed the playoffs?

Well here's why. THE best indicator to winning games is giveaways and takeaways. The Chargers were awful at that in 2010 giving up the ball six times for every one time they got a take away. Here were the top five teams in the AFC in terms of turnover differential (in order): Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs, Jets, and Ravens. Notice a trend there? All five of those teams made the playoffs.

Another reason San Diego missed the playoffs: special teams. An extremely underrated aspect of the game. I truly believe that special teams count for one third of play (with defense and offense being the other two thirds). Sure, the special teams are not on the field nearly as long as the offense and defense are, but they're just as important. So even though the Chargers were really freaking good on offense and defense, they were bad on special teams.

The Chargers were tied for first in kickoff yards given up, first in kickoff touchdowns given up, tied for second in punt touchdowns given up, fifth in punt yards given up, and first in average yards per punt given up.

Both of San Diego's main woes in 2010 are easily correctable. Getting better in special teams just takes a better special teams coach and Tiki Barber can tell you what to do to help an offensive with its give away problems.

According to Football Outsiders, the Chargers had the 4th best offense, 2nd best pass offense, 18th best rushing offense, were the most consistent offense week to week, 9th best defense, 4th best pass defense, 10th best rush defense, and the worst special teams.

This team also missed 15 games of Vincent Jackson, five games of Malcolm Floyd, and spent the entire season with the corpse of Ryan Matthews.

This team is not only set to win the AFC West again but poised to make a Superbowl run.

Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Illinois defensive tackle Corey Luiget already drafted at this point, but I'm going to take the advice of The 'Bright' One (A guy who actually watched Illini football games on a consistent basis) and say Luiget does not deserve to be a first rounder. Both Kiper and McShay have defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Adrian Clayborn going high as well. All would be great fits for this team. But my number one go to philosophy is that you can never have enough offensive lineman.

There are some great ones out there like Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi but not only do I love the talent of his brother but I love his versatility. So I say the Chargers should draft G/C Mike Pouncey from Florida. But if I'm truly in the Chargers position, I would trade this first round pick because that's where I think the true value is with this pick.

I can't believe I almost went this entire post without praising Philip Rivers. While I do not truly believe you need an elite quarterback to win a Superbowl (see: Trent Dilfer's Ravens, Eli Manning's Giants) it sure as hell helps. And Rivers is an elite quarterback. He is amazing. I can't say enough good things about Rivers. And for all you haters who make the argument "Well, Rivers isn't elite yet because he hasn't won a ring" then you're an idiot. Both these arguments were made about Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers before their respective Superbowl wins and these players were/are the same elite talent before their win as well as after. Plus, one of (if not THE) greatest quarterbacks of all time is Dan Marino. Who is ringless.

Anyways, Rivers is phenomenal.

Charger's Needs:

- Kick Returner

- Better Coaching

Game Of Inches Mock Draft (so far):
1) Carolina Panthers- DT Nick Fairley (Auburn)
2) Denver Broncos- DE Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson)
3) Buffalo Bills- CB Patrick Peterson (LSU)
4) Cincinnati Bengals- WR A.J. Green (Georgia)
5) Arizona Cardinals- QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
6) Cleveland Browns- OLB Von Miller (Texas A&M)
7) San Fransisco 49ers- CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
8) Tennessee Titans- QB Cam Newton (Auburn)
9) Dallas Cowboys- DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama)
10) Washington Redskins- DE Robert Quinn (North Carolina)
11) Houston Texans- CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
12) Minnesota Vikings- OT Nate Solder (Colorado)
13) Detriot Lions- OLB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
14) St. Louis Rams- WR Julio Jones (Alabama)
15) Miami Dolphins- DE/OLB Aldon Smith (Missouri)
16) Jacksonville Jaguars- DE J.J. Watt (Wisconsin)
17) New England Patriots- OT Tyron Smith (USC)