Today marks the first day of Senior Bowl practice, and for teams that have been eliminated from postseason play, the preparation for the NFL draft starts now. The Chargers finished 2013 two wins away from the Super Bowl and are another solid draft away from becoming true championship contenders. With that being said, here are some players from day one of the Senior Bowl that could find themselves in powder blue and gold next year.
Monday practice during Senior Bowl week is more of an introduction than a competition (Tuesday and Wednesday are the big days for one-on-one battles), but it was a good day to evaluate quarterbacks and skill positions. With Charlie Whitehurst’s contract expiring, I believe this is the year to take a quarterback capable of providing a spark behind Philip Rivers. The quarterback class of 2014 may not have the top end, franchise changers, but is full of veteran B+ type guys who could develop into stars in the NFL. Today, the senior bowl highlighted ACC quarterbacks Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), and Stephen Morris (Miami). I believe all three of these guys would be an upgrade for the Chargers and could use the rare opportunity to sit behind Philip Rivers for a few years. Derek Carr is another quarterback that should draw some looks from San Diego; he is on the South roster (opposite of the three ACC signal callers).
Boyd is perhaps the most polished of the group. NFL GM’s utilize the 26-27-60 rule. If you haven’t heard of this rule, it represents the number of games started-Wonderlic score-college completion percentage, and GM’s want their quarterbacks’ numbers to meet or exceed these values. Boyd started 40 games in college (going 32-8), is a smart player (should score well on the Wonderlic) and completed 64 percent of his passes over his career. The Clemson quarterback broke former North Carolina State gunslinger Philip Rivers’ ACC career touchdown record in 2013 while setting over 50 school records as a three-year starter. Boyd is a shade under 6’1’’ – this will turn some teams off – but the success of Russell Wilson and Drew Brees will benefit a player like Boyd. He could be an intriguing prospect and perhaps replace fellow Clemson alum Charlie Whitehurst in San Diego.
Logan Thomas is a player whose size has NFL teams salivating. At 6’6’’ 250 lbs, Thomas reminds scouts of Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger. However, Thomas tends to play a bit more like Josh Freeman than the two aforementioned NFL starters. After going 11-3 in his first season as a starter, the folks in Blacksburg kept waiting for Thomas to develop into a Heisman-type player. Instead of improving, Thomas appeared to digress every year as his touchdown numbers dropped each year he was a starter. The former tight end is rather new to the position, but his big arm and size are going to draw a lot of interest from some teams. I think the Chargers will be wise to stay away from Thomas as his individual tools appear to be greater than the sum of his entire game.