San Diego Chargers Draft Analysis: Marcus Gilchrist

With the No. 50 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select...

Marcus Gilchrist, DB, Clemson

[caption id="attachment_62" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Marcus Gilchrist, Pick No. 51, DB, Clemson"][/caption]

The second pick in the San Diego Chargers' 2011 draft class was yet another surprise from A.J. Smith.

As far as needs go, here is a good pre-draft analysis of where San Diego's interests should have been:

1. Defensive Lineman

2. Cornerback

3. Strong Safety

4. Wide Receiver

5. Right Tackle

(For the sake of brevity, I'll cut it here)

With the primary need covered by the No. 18 pick of Corey Liuget, Smith moved on to cover two and three with his pick of Gilchrist, though he may have jumped the gun a bit.

The plus side of Gilchrist is that he is versatile. With the size to play both cornerback and safety, he will provide the Chargers with depth at the nickel position, a potential replacement for Antoine Cason (should his improvement continue its apparent stall pattern), and a potential replacement for Eric Weddle (who may, regrettably, have seen his last day as a Charger come and go). As far as filling needs goes, Gilchrist was a slam-dunk.

The problem here is with value.

While Gilchrist shows some good things on tape, there were a couple of defensive backs that came after him in the draft that seemed to me to be better picks (and feel free to disagree with me), namely Brandon Harris (Miami) and Brandon Burton (Utah). Both have the size, speed, athleticism, and football intelligence to develop into quality starters as far as I am concerned.

[caption id="attachment_63" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="At 6-3, 220 lbs., Greg Little would've been a perfect fit in San Diego's "Basketball Team" of wide receivers"][/caption]

Considering that both Harris and Burton could have been available at the Chargers' No. 61 pick (Harris was selected by the Texans with No. 60, but that still leaves Harris within the realm of possibility should Gilchrist have remained on the board), it would've been a better move to take a look at filling other needs. Greg Little, the standout wide receiver from the University of North Carolina, was still on the board, and at 6-3, 220 lbs., Little would have been a great player to play behind Vincent Jackson before he is inevitably told to hit the road.

It also wouldn't have been strange for the Chargers to have jumped on a guy like Shane Vereen (Cal), a small-but-powerful, shifty back that could replace Darren Sproles as a situational back and return man.

In spite of all this, though, Gilchrist remains a safe pick at this spot. There were other players (arguably) with more potential on the board at the No. 51 spot, but with Marcus Gilchrist, A.J. Smith and the Chargers organization know that, at the very least, they will be getting a quality player who can fill in both on special teams and in a number of spots in the defensive backfield. For that reason, I'll give this pick a B.

Come back on Friday, when I'll be breaking down the next San Diego Charger selection, Jonas Mouton.

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