SAN DIEGO – ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan appeared on the air with Darrin Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio from Arizona on Tuesday.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Mathews
Caplan pointed to the defensive side of the ball when asked to address the San Diego Chargers' most pressing needs in the draft and free agency this year.

“They’ve got to go defense,” Caplan said. “I think that [Chargers defensive coordinator] John Pagano has done a nice job, they just don’t have enough talent. Cornerback is an issue. They need safety depth and outside linebacker obviously -- they need more pass rushers.

“At receiver they’re fine. Tight end they’re fine. Offensive line is always a problem, always an issue, and they need help there. This is a team on paper that is 9-7 -- they played to their record.”

Caplan also was asked about the possibility of running back Ryan Mathews returning to the Chargers in free agency.

“The leverage is clearly with the Chargers based on his injury history,” Caplan said. “The one thing though in his favor is that they have no one who is ready to take over. They don’t have anyone. [Branden] Oliver is a nice story, but he’s more of a change-up. [Donald] Brown is a nice No. 2 back, a good third-down back, but he’s not a starting running back.

“The committee thing is just not going to work. You’ve got to be able to run it. Running back is a position you can fill in the draft. You’d like to bring him back. I think he’d be better off taking a one-year deal with the Chargers, having a great season and seeing what he can do. He’s still a young running back.”
Good morning.

In this ESPN Insider piece Insider, NFL Insider Matt Williamson ranks the top 25-and-under talent for every NFL team. The San Diego Chargers appear at No. 24 on the list. Williamson identifies receiver Keenan Allen (22 years old) as the top talented young player on San Diego’s roster, followed by Corey Liuget (24), Jason Verrett (23), D.J. Fluker (23) and Ladarius Green (24).

Williamson on Allen: “Allen isn’t an elite physical specimen, but he is highly refined for a young receiver; runs sharp, consistent routes; and has good hands and excellent after-the-catch skills. He didn’t put up the best numbers this season, but there is no need to worry here; Allen is the Chargers’ best young asset.”

ESPN NFL Nation Rams beat writer Nick Wagoner reports the Rams officially notified the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission that they are converting their lease on the Edward Jones Dome to a year-to-year proposition on Monday.

Albert Breer of NFL.com writes that the Rams are in the driver’s seat for teams looking to relocate to Los Angeles.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com catches up with former San Diego head coach Bobby Ross.

John Kentera of The Mighty 1090 AM radio has Philip Rivers as the No. 6 quarterback on his top 10 signal-callers in the NFL.

ESPN’s Trey Wingo breaks down the 2014 NFL season in 160 seconds in this video.

Defensive back Charles Woodson will return to the Oakland Raiders for his 18th NFL season, signing a one-year deal.
SAN DIEGO -- True to his word, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected to announce this week members of a task force to study a stadium financing proposal that keeps the San Diego Chargers in town.

Faulconer announced during his State of the City address plans to assemble a group of civic leaders to study potential locations and a financing plan to help build a new stadium for the Chargers by the end of the month.

In an interview with Dan Sileo of The Mighty 1090 AM radio, Faulconer's political advisor on the stadium issue, Jason Cabel Roe, confirmed the mayor's intentions.

Listen to the entire interview here.

"This is not a political process," Roe said about the task force. "This is a substantive process with people with expertise. Whether this is people that come at this with the expertise of financing, understanding the local real estate market, understanding NFL and sports teams business and politics -- there's a lot of factors that go into figuring out a solution here.

"The mayor has pooled together a group of folks that have a particular expertise, and he's given them some hard deadlines."

Roe also was asked about a report over the weekend by Andy Strickland of CBS Sports 920 AM radio in St. Louis that according to high-ranking officials in St. Louis, Chargers owner Dean Spanos has a deal in place with Goldman Sachs to build a stadium in Los Angeles, and the NFL asked him to hold off from announcing or releasing those plans.

The Chargers called the report untrue.

"I'd like to take the Chargers' organization at their word," Roe said. "But I don't think anyone doubts that they are actively looking at their options in Los Angeles."

The most interesting comment from Roe came after Sileo asked whether expanding the convention center or building a new football stadium was more of a priority for Faulconer.

"The convention center has more of a direct impact on the City of San Diego, both in terms of the jobs it supports, but also the business it attracts," Roe said. "But at the same time, you can't underestimate the value of San Diego -- the eighth largest city in the country -- having an NFL team.

"This is part of our national identity, if not our international identity. You can't really measure the economic impact, but the marketing that having an NFL team provides to us is huge. It makes us a top-tier city when it comes to civics and kind of the attractiveness. You look at businesses that try to attract top talent here, one of the selling points obviously the weather, the beach and the sunshine -- all of those types of things. But it's other things like having an NFL team that someone that wants to relocate from another state and be part of our economy looks at that as a part of a consideration.

"So the convention center doesn't necessarily bring people together as part of our city's identity, where an NFL team does."
Take a listen to this week's NFL Nation TV podcast as the crew breaks down the latest in "deflategate" and the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) are joined by two other NFL Nation reporters to discuss the big game.

Kevin Seifert (NFL Nation writer) takes us behind the multi-step process that goes into the pregame checking of football inflation, and the impetus behind the league allowing quarterbacks to play with their own footballs. He also chats briefly about the Super Bowl's head referee, Bill Vinovich, and what we might be able to expect from his mixed crew.

Jeff Legwold (Denver Broncos reporter) shares his thoughts on covering the Super Bowl after having been in the press box of each championship game since Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta in 1994.

Be sure to watch NFL Nation TV live on ESPN.com this Friday at 1 p.m./10 a.m. PT as we catch up with Legwold and ESPN Insider's Mike Sando, who will fill us in on the Hall of Fame selection process that will occur this weekend.

Also, be sure to give the show's podcast a listen following each taping.

Listen to this week's podcast here.
Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT, for a special ESPN NFL Nation TV Super Bowl Week Spreecast as episode No. 41 will review Deflategate and look ahead to what the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots can expect heading into Super Bowl XLIX.

Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by EPSN NFL Insider Kevin Seifert and Jeff Legwold (Denver Broncos reporter).

Seifert, who has covered the world of NFL officiating with aplomb, will break down the process of inflating and inspecting footballs and how officials are involved in the process. He’ll also give us a scouting report on the officials assigned for Sunday.

Legwold, who covered the Broncos in last year’s Super Bowl, will then give us a day-by-day breakdown of the week and how teams attempt to stay focused with so many outside distractions.

Also, the crew will discuss the Pro Football Focus project that examined how many above-average players each NFL team was from contending for this year’s Super Bowl.

Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.

NFL Nation TV will have a second show this week on Friday at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT.

Good morning.

Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego talks with San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle about his future with the organization. Over the weekend Weddle played in the Pro Bowl for the second time in three seasons. However, Weddle would rather be playing in the game being held at University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday, the Super Bowl.

According to Acee’s report, Weddle wants the team to show it is committed to reaching that goal.

"Obviously, I play to win a Super Bowl," Weddle said. "I play for my teammates and the organization. I just hope we don’t waste the guys we have on this team and they give us a shot to win the Super Bowl."

Weddle, 30, is to make $7.5 million in the final year of a five-year deal in 2015. He expects a contract restructure before the upcoming season, Acee reports.

"If it’s not, I probably won’t be here after next season," he said. "Everyone knows I love the organization. But with my cap number, and the way I’m playing, if they don’t (restructure), it’s a sign they’re going in a different direction."

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com reports that Weddle and teammate Darrell Stuckey were victorious in this year’s Pro Bowl, as Team Irvin defeated Team Carter 32-28.

According to a study performed by Pro Football Focus, the Chargers are eight players away from being Super Bowl contenders.

Jay Paris of The Mighty 1090 takes a walk down memory lane, looking back at San Diego’s only appearance in the Super Bowl on the 20th anniversary of the title game for the 1994 season.

ESPN’s James Walker writes that he expects Buffalo Bills soon-to-be free agent running back C.J. Spiller to secure a contract that pays him an average of between $2.5 million and $4 million per season in free agency. Ryan Mathews is from the same draft class and has similar production to Spiller, so he could be looking at the same type of compensation once the Fresno State product hits free agency.

Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated has an interesting read on the beginnings of the NFL advanced stats website Pro Football Focus.
SAN DIEGO -- Keenan Allen is a talented, young receiver who continued to blossom in his second season, but the San Diego Chargers need to add more speed and depth at the position.

Lock: Keenan Allen
Looking good: Malcom Floyd, Dontrelle Inman
On the bubble: Javontee Herndon, Torrence Allen, Austin Pettis
Free agents: Seyi Ajirotutu, Eddie Royal

Allen
The good: San Diego finished as the only team in the league with four players who totaled at least 778 receiving yards and four touchdown catches. Floyd topped the Chargers with 856 yards and six scores. Gates had 821 yards and 12 touchdowns. Allen totaled 783 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while Royal had 778 receiving yards and seven TDs. Those same four receivers also finished 2014 with more than 50 catches (Allen 77, Gates 69, Royal 62 and Floyd 52). Last year was the first time in franchise history that four different players finished with at least 778 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

The bad: Floyd provided a consistent vertical threat, as the Chargers finished with 57 passing plays of 20-plus yards, tied for No. 7 in the NFL. However, the Chargers could still use another explosive receiver who creates plays in space. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Chargers averaged just 5.1 yards after the catch, which was No. 20 in the NFL.

The money: Allen heads into the third year of a rookie contract that will pay him $600,000 in total compensation in 2015, so the Cal product is an excellent value compared to his production. Inman flashed at the end of the season, and will make $510,000 in base salary for the upcoming season. Floyd is set to make $3.55 million in total compensation heading into the final year of his contract. However, Floyd’s money is not guaranteed. He turns 34 years old in September and wants to play one more year, so Floyd’s contract could be restructured.

Draft priority: Necessary. The Chargers could look to free agency to add another speedy receiver like Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens or Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles. It also would be a prudent move to bring back a veteran like Royal at the right price, considering his production and comfort level with Philip Rivers. Players who make some sense in this year’s draft include Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett, Miami’s Phillip Dorsett and Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong. Developmental players like Herndon, Allen and Pettis could compete for spots on the back end of the roster.
Good morning.

The Pro Bowl will take place Sunday at the site of this year’s Super Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Two players from the San Diego Chargers earned invitations and are playing in this year’s Pro Bowl: safeties Eric Weddle and Darrell Stuckey.

Jordan Beane of Chargers.com has an exclusive interview with Weddle’s beard in this video.

Stuckey is mic’d up at his first Pro Bowl. Check out the video.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com talks with Chargers general manager Tom Telesco about his preparation for this year’s draft.

Bryan Fischer of NFL.com recaps the Senior Bowl. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah played well as the North topped the South 34-13.

In this ESPN Insider piece Insider, NFL draft guru Todd McShay offers 10 prospects who helped their stock at this year’s Senior Bowl.

Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of The Mighty 1090 AM radio talk with Charles Davis of the NFL Network about prospects from this week's Senior Bowl that might be a fit for the Chargers in this audio link.

Michael Smolens of U-T San Diego writes that it will be hard for the Chargers to secure a vote to raise the hotel tax in order to fund a new stadium.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego profiles soon-to-be free agent safety Marcus Gilchrist.
SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Chargers refuted a report from a St. Louis radio station that the team has a deal in place for a new stadium in Los Angeles.

Andy Strickland of CBS Sports radio 920 AM in St. Louis reported Friday that according to high-ranking officials in St. Louis, Chargers owner Dean Spanos has a deal in place with Goldman Sachs to build a stadium in Los Angeles, and the NFL asked him to hold off from announcing or releasing those plans.

You can listen to that report here.

Earlier this month, a developer and a company operated by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke unveiled plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, California, on land he owns near Hollywood Park.

“He’s very, very unhappy that all of sudden Kroenke goes ahead and does his thing without the NFL’s approval,” Strickland said, referring to Spanos.

Mark Fabiani, the Chargers’ special counsel and the point person on the stadium issue, refuted the report.

“Although we have worked for years with Goldman Sachs as our investment banker, the remainder of the story is untrue,” Fabiani said.

Goldman Sachs helped set up a financing plan for the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium. However, the investment banking firm was not responsible for raising revenue to help pay for the project.

The Chargers also had to dispel similar speculation in 2010 after a report from a Canadian sports talk radio show host claiming that the Spanos family had sold 35 percent of the Chargers to Los Angeles entrepreneur Phil Anschutz, who heads up AEG’s efforts to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles.

Fabiani reiterated the team’s commitment to working toward a solution on a stadium deal in San Diego before testing the waters elsewhere.

“If we didn’t want to be here, why would we have worked on this for 13 years?” Fabiani said. “There’s been plenty of opportunities to move to Los Angeles. People forget Ed Roski has had a stadium entitled in the City of Industry since 2008. And by entitled, I mean done, ready and everything settled – every environmental review cleared and every lawsuit settled.

“AEG has had an entitled site for a couple years downtown, ready to go and everything settled. So if Dean had wanted to move, he would have moved a long time ago.”
SAN DIEGO -- Count special teams among the many things the San Diego Chargers will work to improve on this offseason.

The Chargers ranked 29th in the special teams rankings annually produced by longtime Dallas Morning News NFL reporter Rick Gosselin. The league's 32 teams are ranked in 22 categories and assigned points according to their standing -- one for best, 32 for worst.

The Philadelphia Eagles led the special teams rankings, followed by the Buffalo Bills. The AFC champion New England Patriots were third and the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks tied for 17th.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said finding a return specialist will be a priority again this offseason. San Diego finished No. 22 in the NFL in kick returns, averaging 22.2 yards a return. Kicker Nick Novak's 22.2 percent on touchbacks was the worst in the league.

The Chargers ranked 21st in 2013.
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The Senior Bowl wrapped up three days of padded practices on Thursday. Usually Friday's practice is a walk-through, as the coaches give players a day to rest their legs and get ready for this weekend's game.

The one-on-one pass protection and route-running drills provided an opportunity to see how players compete, while 7-on-7 and team drills gave us a chance to see how players translated what they learned in the classroom onto the field.

Here are some players to watch for in Saturday's game that could make some sense for the San Diego Chargers in the upcoming draft.

Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: He won the practice player of the week award. At 6-4 and 320 pounds, Davis showed the ability to consistently push the pocket in one-on-one pass drills. I also liked his ability to pursue sideline to sideline in team drills. He's probably more of a 3-technique in a 4-3 scheme, but the Chargers could use more active and disruptive defensive linemen up front.

Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami (FL): At 5-10 and 183 pounds, Dorsett is fast, fluid and easily creates separation with his speed. But Dorsett isn't just a burner. He flashed solid hands and showed the ability to weave in and out of traffic to create explosive plays. Dorsett totaled 36 receptions for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns his final season at Miami. Dorsett's skill set has drawn comparisons to NFL receivers Antonio Brown, John Brown and T.Y. Hilton.

Ladarius Gunter, CB, Miami (FL): Gunter is another speedy player from Miami with good movement skills. I liked how he played physical at the line of scrimmage and transitioned well at the top of the route. At 6-1 and 200 pounds, Gunter also is a bigger, press corner who plays the ball well.

Rannell Hall, WR, Central Florida: At 6-2 and 192 pounds, I was impressed with Hall's effort and ability to make contested catches. He was productive in college, finishing with 49 catches for 500 yards. But he didn't have a receiving touchdown his final season at Central Florida, which is concerning.

Tre Jackson, OG, Florida State: He showed good feet and was stout in one-on-one pass protection during the week. Jackson measured in at nearly 6-4 and 323 pounds, and finished as a three-year starter and All-ACC performer at Florida State.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson: At 6-1 and 288 pounds, Jarrett is a bit undersized for an interior defensive lineman. But he has a good get-off and showed the ability to push the pocket inside. Jarrett's strong for his size and put up good numbers for the Tigers, finishing with 99 tackles -- including 19 for a loss -- and four sacks his final two seasons at Clemson.

Arie Kouandjio, OG, Alabama: Big and physical (6-5, 318 pounds), Kouandjio would give San Diego a physical road grader inside to upgrade the team's run game. His brother, offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, was drafted in the second round by the Buffalo Bills last year.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State: He can come and help the Chargers right now as a slot receiver. He's a polished route runner who understands route concepts and how to set up defenders. He has the suddenness to create separation at the top of the route, and also has the ability to make defenders miss after the catch. Lockett also is one of the best returners coming out of college this year. Lockett's father Kevin played seven years in the NFL as a receiver.

Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah: He won the Ted Hendricks Award as the college football's best defensive end, and Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman. Orchard finished with 84.5 tackles, including 21.5 for a loss, and 18.5 sacks. The Chargers place a value on production, and Orchard has that. At 6-3 and 251 pounds, he also possesses an arsenal of pass-rush moves and plays with urgency. San Diego needs more guys like Orchard on defense.

Kevin White, CB, TCU: At 5-9 and 180 pounds, White is small for the position. But the Chargers had the smallest secondary in the NFL last season. Like his former teammate Jason Verrett, White has excellent shadowing and anticipation skills. He also showed good recovery speed and played the ball well in the air. However, White is not as physical as Verrett, and could struggle in the run game.
SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Mathews, the every-down running back for the San Diego Chargers, is expected to become a free agent in March. His possible return to the Chargers is a major question the organization needs to answer as the team attempts to solve its rushing woes this offseason.

Mathews
Locks: Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead
On the bubble: Donald Brown.
Free agents: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown

The good: One of the few bright spots for a team that overall struggled to run the football in 2014 was the play of undrafted rookie Branden Oliver, who led the Chargers with 582 rushing yards. At 5-foot-8 and 208 pounds, Oliver showed the ability to make defenders miss in the perimeter, along with the physical toughness to grind out yards in-between the tackles. Oliver should be a nice complementary back to whoever San Diego adds through free agency or the draft.

The bad: San Diego’s top two running backs in Mathews and Woodhead rushed for a combined 368 yards and played a total of 220 snaps. The Chargers threw the ball 57 percent of the time last season, compared to 51 percent in 2013. The main reason for that was San Diego’s inability to consistently run the football. The Chargers averaged 3.2 yards per attempt on first down runs -- when defenses know offenses want to run the football -- second-worst in the NFL. Brown averaged a career-low 2.6 yards per carry in his first season with San Diego.

The money: Mathews will be a free agent in March. Chargers general manager Tom Telseco will have to decide if the oft-injured Fresno State product is worth bringing back on an incentive-laden, short-term deal that protects the franchise should Mathews’ injuries persist. Woodhead should return to form after breaking his ankle in a Week 3 contest at Buffalo last season. Woodhead’s presence was badly missed on third down. He signed a two-year extension last year, and will earn $1.5 million in base salary in 2015. Donald Brown will earn $3 million in non-guaranteed salary if he’s with the Chargers in 2015. However, San Diego could save $1.9 million in cap space if they released Brown before the season starts. Telesco said he expects Brown back next season, and believes that the Connecticut product will improve on his 2014 performance.

Draft priority: High. Draft analysts say this year’s running back class is loaded with talent. Only four running backs have been selected in the first round since 2011 -- Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, David Wilson and Mark Ingram -- and none of those players have turned into consistent, elite playmakers at the position. Among the prospects the Chargers could look to in the first two rounds include Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Miami’s Duke Johnson and Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon.
SAN DIEGO -- In this ESPN Insider piece , NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. regrades the 2014 draft for every team, including the San Diego Chargers.

Kiper gave the Chargers a solid B grade for last year’s draft class, which was headed by first-round draft choice Jason Verrett. But in his reassessment, Kiper drops that grade because of injuries to Verrett and others in the 2014 draft class that kept them off of the field.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, San Diego rookies started 19 games and played in a total of 1,768 snaps in 2014, good enough for No. 27 in the league according to research performed by ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando.

Injuries kept Verrett (207 snaps) and second-round pick Jeremiah Attaochu (161) from making as much of an impact as the Chargers would have liked.

By comparison, San Diego had a total of 2,605 snaps played by rookies in 2013, No. 10 in the NFL.

D.J. Fluker (999) and Keenan Allen (898) finished in the top 20 in snaps played among San Diego's 2013 draft class.
Good morning.

Len Simon writing for the U-T San Diego says professionals with experience in developing a stadium plan, not a task force, are needed to work on putting together a stadium project for the San Diego Chargers.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a few weeks ago plans to assemble a group of civic leaders to study potential locations and a financing plan to help build a new stadium for the Chargers.

Simon should know. A sports law professor at the University of San Diego, Simon served on the first task force for the Chargers in 2003.

Simon: “San Diego needs to hire a first-class team of paid professionals working eight, 10 or 12 hours a day to analyze the issues, look for solutions, discuss the matter with city officials, the Chargers and whomever else they choose, and recommend the very best solution in a few months.

“The team of professionals should probably include a real estate expert, an investment banker (preferably with some sports facilities experience) and a municipal finance expert, but one could debate the exact makeup. My point is that we need paid professionals, working full time, to find the best solution, not a group of well-meaning and intelligent citizens meeting at 7 p.m. every few weeks.”

Scott Kaplan of The Mighty 1090 believes Chargers CEO A.G. Spanos should be the face of the team’s effort to build a new stadium in San Diego.

ESPN NFL Nation Rams beat reporter Nick Wagoner writes one possibility that’s been floated is the league finding a middle ground with Rams owner Stan Kroenke by letting him build his stadium, moving the Rams into it and housing the Chargers as a possible second tenant.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com writes that San Diego teammates Darrell Stuckey and Eric Weddle will join forces on Team Irvin for the Pro Bowl.

Jim Seki of Pro Football Focus places Philip Rivers, Malcom Floyd, Brandon Flowers and Weddle on PFF’s All-AFC West team.

ESPN NFL Nation Dolphins beat reporter James Walker writes that University of Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton has looked dominant in the first two practices at this week’s Senior Bowl.

In this ESPN Insider piece Insider, draft analysts Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl offer their takeaways from Senior Bowl practice.

ESPN NFL analysts Mark Brunell and Jerome Bettis demonstrate the difference between under-inflated and regularly inflated NFL footballs in this video.

Andrew Brandt writing for Sports Illustrated breaks down the decision-making process for Peyton Manning’s possible return to the Denver Broncos.
Like you, I’m watching coverage of the Senior Bowl on the NFL Network from home this week.

While it would be nice to be on hand in Mobile, Alabama, getting an up-close look at individual drill work in person, a lot can be gleaned from the daily television coverage of practice.

Here are a few thoughts and observations on players who could make some sense for the San Diego Chargers in this year’s NFL draft. I watched the North team practice.

Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke: At 6-foot-3 and 323 pounds, I thought Tomlinson showed good power and did a nice job staying low and not getting off balance during one-on-one pass-protection drills. An All-ACC performer, Tomlinson is a four-year starter who earned his degree in December in psychology and evolutionary anthropology and would like to explore a career in the medical field once his playing days are over. Tomlinson is smart player who would be a good fit for Chargers offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris.

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh: At 6-5 and 307 pounds, Clemmings passes the eye test. He moves well and appears to have the athletic ability to deal with elite edge rushers. However, he’s raw in terms of technique. Clemmings will have a steep learning curve at the next level.

Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: Smith showed good body control and the ability to make contested catches during one-on-one drills. He’s a speed demon, and you can’t ignore his production for the Buckeyes -- he finished with 30 touchdown catches and averaged 20.7 yards per reception in four seasons at Ohio State.

Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford: At 6-6 and 287 pounds, I like Anderson’s versatility, playing up and down the defensive line for the Cardinal. He also showed good energy and a relentless nature in pass-rush drills.

Hau'oli Kikaha, DE, Washington: At 6-2, 246 pounds, Kikaha is a natural pass rusher who finished with 19 sacks for the Huskies in his final season. He appeared to struggle in pass coverage but could be a fit for a team like San Diego looking for more speed off the edge in passing situations. Kikaha played in 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes at Washington.

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