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Chargers NFL draft – Three Universities to Unify Chargers Backfield

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Photo from RMTip21 via Flickr

Photo from RMTip21 via Flickr

Golden Bears, Yellow Jackets and Trojans, Oh My!

What could be so terrifying about these schools in the NFL?

If the Chargers get their hands on a set of backs from either school, then NFL teams will have something to worry about.

California, Georgia Tech and USC have talented running backs coming out of college and currently young running backs in the NFL.

Jahvid Best, Jonathan Dwyer and Joe McKnight all bring something to the table and their alumni counterparts Marshawn Lynch, Tashard Choice and LenDale White compliment each enough to fulfill a successful backfield.

With the Chargers backfield oblique at the moment, who knows which direction the Chargers go in?

Do they pick up a veteran back to ease the process for a rookie back?

Do they hold on to Darren Sproles and pick up a veteran back?

Do they hold on to Sproles and draft a running back?

Do they do all three?

Recently, youth is the name of the game for running backs. The younger the back, the more value he contains.

The next three set of backs that could end the enigma of the Chargers backfield will bring youth and great talent to an already young talented team.

Photo from myBearTerritory via Wikimedia

Photo from myBearTerritory via Wikimedia

With trade talks of Marshawn Lynch coming to San Diego for Antonio Cromartie and Jahvid Best projected to be available late first round, the Chargers could solve their backfield situation with two backs from the University of California.

Jahvid Best would be a top 10 first-round pick if there were two teams in need of running backs, but offensive skill players have taken a back seat to lineman and linebackers early in the first round, which could possibly affect the Chargers first-round decision.

C.J. Spiller will be the first or second skilled player, other than a quarterback, to be drafted in 2010 and is projected to go somewhere near 15th.

Most teams will pass on receivers and running backs in the first round because the top three in each position could possibly still be available in the second round.

Jahvid Best had a tough fall his junior year but had a phenomenal sophomore year rushing for 1,580 yards averaging for an eye popping 8.1 yards per carry highlighted by a 311 yard, TD performance against Washington and 168 rushing yards in the Emerald Bowl against Miami.

Best’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is as tantalizing as his speed and quickness in the open field and when you put both together it is a lethal combination.

The rookie will have to work on his pass-blocking, but that is only a measure of toughness.

Bills running back, Fred Jackson, emerged as the No.1 back starting the last five games of the season in 2010. Lynch started six games after he served his three-game suspension but lacked the physical tenacity to compete at the moment.

Lynch is fairly young heading into his fourth year as a pro and has the time and talent to turn it around.

His suspension for concealing a loaded pistol, nine months after he was arrested for a hit-and-run in downtown Buffalo has hurt his initial stock and could be the reason the Chargers pass on him, but if he can clean up his act Lynch would be a steal for Cromartie.

With the recent news of Vincent Jackson pleading guilty to DUI, it lessens the possibility of Lynch coming to San Diego.

If Lynch does come to San Diego, he will have to be persuasive in that he has changed his act and is ready to start winning games as a Charger.

A backfield of Best and Lynch will give the Chargers the speed, catching ability, tough yards and youth they’re looking for.

Photo from Mickael Schneider via Wikimedia

Photo from Mickael Schneider via Wikimedia

According to most polls and Mock Drafts, Jonathan Dwyer is the leading candidate for the Chargers with their first pick and recent rumors of Sproles being released indicates the Chargers will go for a back early in the draft.

The 6’0’’ 235 pound ex-Yellow Jacket is an example of the new breed to hit the NFL. Players like Beanie Wells and Shonn Greene are players that display the force to run you over and the speed to out run you. Dwyer is this type of player.

Many don’t respect that he played in a triple-option offense at Georgia Tech, but when I look at young backs who ran the option in college, (Tashard Choice, Chris Johnson, Steve Slaton) I don’t mind it.

Just like a pure shooter that can shoot the ball well in any gym, a pure running-back can run in any system and Dwyer will prove that in 2011.

If you have any concerns about speed or toughness watch this video at least to the third minute.

I don’t know about you, but that did it for me. He is not much of a threat in the passing game, but that’s why holding onto Sproles would make that much more sense.

Now if rumors are true and Sproles is not resigned by the Chargers, then Tashard would be the right “Choice” for the Chargers.

It is tough to say that Dallas has no interest in Cromartie for Tashard Choice. Let it be known that if Cromartie were to play on a defense that applies pressure on the quarterback, like the Cowboys, he will have at least five interceptions.

Jerry Jones is known for going out and getting flashy corners in pursuit of a Super Bowl run. Jones understood this when he brought Deion Sanders over in his seventh year as a pro and Cromartie’s speed is even more seductive to Jones flashiness.

Yes, the Cowboys have two solid corners but Cromartie, who had his best years under current Cowboy Head Coach Wade Phillips, would lethalize their secondary.

Dallas likes all three of their running backs, but like the Jets’ situation, have three backs that won’t get the time they deserve because of their talent. Choice would be the most understandable from both points of view and his hands and toughness between the tackles would be a nice fit for Turner and the boys.

If the Chargers decide, like most other first-round picks, to go defense or big man and pick up a running-back later in the draft, then Joe McKnight could be that guy.

One of the more underrated backs coming out of college in 2010, McKnight displays the uncanny ability to make one move and all of a sudden end up in the end zone. His elite explosion off his cuts makes him tough to tackle and even harder to catch with his top tier speed.

McKnight’s 20 catches plus each of his three seasons at USC has him considered as a fluid catcher that could even play the wide receiver position at the next level.

McKnight’s durability and speed is similar to previous USC star Reggie Bush, but Mcknight separates himself from Bush from his surprising power when picking up a blitzing linebacker. He delivers a blow with aggression as he gets his hat on the numbers.

McKnight’s downfall comes from his lack of ball security, holding the ball too far away from his body, and his lack of running authority not lowering his shoulders with aggression instead looking to accept the hit rather than deliver it.

The best compliment to that would be bruiser LenDale White who in 2008-09 had 15 touchdowns on 200 attempts. White has proven he can carry a work load, to ease McKnight in, carrying the ball 304 times in 2006-07.

The emergence of Chris Johnson last year was totally unexpected and took LenDale White out of the offensive picture. White saw his rushing numbers decrease year-by-year from rushing the ball 304 times in 2007-08 to 64 times this past season.

White only had one game where he carried the ball more than 10 times last year which makes me believe that his legs are fresh and that he has something to prove to whatever team he goes to next.

The Titans prefer speed over brawn in their backfield with Vince Young, and with Johnson rushing for over 2,000 yards there is no need for White. He’s the short-yardage-goal-line back that the Chargers have been lacking for the past few seasons.

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