Virtually every “expert” expects the San Diego Chargers to pick a wide receiver or safety in the first round of this weekend’s NFL draft.
But what about a linebacker?
Now that Donnie Edwards has bolted the Chargers for Kansas City, San Diego is in desperate need of someone to step up inside.
It’s going to be hard for anybody to match Edwards’ production. Not only did he lead the Chargers in tackles each of the past five seasons, he also seemed to make the key interception whenever the team needed a game saver.
Can Matt Wilhelm or Stephen Cooper do the same when they likely start at inside linebacker in 2007? We’ll likely find out as Randall Godfrey (who started alongside Edwards the past three seasons) is also expected to move on.
Certainly, the Chargers are set at outside linebacker with Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. But back-up linebackers Carlos Polk, Marques Harris and Tim Dobbins are just that – back ups.
Without Edwards, the Chargers will go from a very strong linebacker group to a somewhat questionable one … at least depth-wise. Wilhelm and Cooper must step up in 2007 if the Chargers are to remain among the NFL’s elite at linebacker.
Talk all you want about the team needing to draft a wide receiver or Safety. However, don’t be surprised if General Manager A.J. Smith’s No. 1 pick is at linebacker.
After all, Smith is gambling that his personal feud with Edwards that caused the veteran linebacker to leave will not create a huge hole for the 2007 Chargers.