Found May 01, 2012 on Fox Sports San Diego:
April is often called the liars month in the NFL, as so much disinformation is dispersed that it can make one head's swim. But Chargers general manager A. J. Smith, facing a sink-or-swim season in regard to his job security, was true to his word. After being active in free agency to shore up holes on offense, the Chargers turned to defense during the draft. Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was the biggest catch, a pass-rusher from South Carolina who'll give the team's coaches a versatile player to tinker with. But on the heels of Ingram came defensive tackle Kendall Reyes from Connecticut and strong safety Brandon Taylor by way of LSU. Reyes will likely be slid outside in the Chargers' 3-4 setup, and Taylor could battle newcomer Atari Bigby for a starting job. The team's final four picks were offensive players two linemen - as it was clear the Chargers were using this draft to get better on defense. BEST PICK Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram: With the NFL's worst third-down defense last season, it was imperative the team improve on passing downs. With Ingram, they got their man and just maybe he supplies a jolt to the Bolts' pass rush. With 21.5 sacks in his last two seasons at South Carolina, Ingram could help resurrect the team's ability to get after quarterbacks. COULD SURPRISE Strong safety Brandon Taylor: In Taylor, the Chargers get a hard-hitting, no-nonsense player from the SEC. Taylor played corner his first two seasons, so he knows how to cover. A closer look at the Chargers' picks: Round 118 - Melvin Ingram, OLB, 6-1, 195, South Carolina Eager to find someone to disrupt opposing quarterbacks, the Chargers were ecstatic to get their mitts on Ingram after he tumbled down the board. Ingram has the versatility that allows him to line up in various spots, although the Chargers are eyeing him as a situational pass-rusher, at least in the early stages of next year. He will be given every chance to see the field quickly. Round 249 - Kendall Reyes, DE, 6-4, 295, Connecticut Reyes, in the Chargers' 3-4, is headed toward defensive end. With the team unsure about Luis Castillo's return from a leg injury and the inexperience of Vaughn Martin, Reyes could hit the field sooner than later. Round 373 - Brandon Taylor, DB, 6-0, 195 LSU The team didn't address this spot in free agency or in the first two rounds. So they traded up five spots to get Taylor, a key part of the Tigers' stingy defense. Round 4110 - Ladarius Green, TE, 6-6, 238, Louisiana-Lafayette Antonio Gates has some tire wear remaining, but he's not getting younger and has been slowed by injuries. In Green, the Chargers might have Gates' eventual replacement Round 5149 - Johnnie Troutman, G, 6-4, 325, Penn State Looking for depth, and maybe more, the Chargers tabbed this sturdy man from the Nittany Lions. Round 7226 - David Monk, C, 6-1, 298, Michigan Was named the 2011 Rimington Trophy winner as the nation's best center. Monk was a four-year starter, although it remains to be seen if his size translates into the NFL. Round 7250 - Edwin Baker, RB, 5-8, 204, Michigan State The team's final pick went for depth, as Baker could be in line to back up Ryan Mathews. The Chargers say it every year, but maybe this year they really mean it: they got the player they wanted in the draft's first round. Melvin Ingram, the University of South Carolina standout, was selected No. 18 by the Chargers on Thursday. Eager to fix a third-down defense which was the NFL's worst last year, the team turned to Ingram to cleanse that blemish. "That was the key for us so obviously you can talk about a lot of different areas, a lot of different things," Turner said. "But to me we have improved a great deal as a football team through free agency and improved today by adding a player the caliber of Melvin." Ingram moved around at South Carolina, playing along every defensive level, save the secondary. But it's on the edge where he will line up most in the in the Chargers' 3-4, asked to supply a push to the pocket. "This was the right pick for us," Turner said. The Chargers said they were surprised Ingram was at No. 18, and they might not be fibbing. It was believed the rush on those getting after quarterbacks would come earlier, but with a tsunami of offensive players being drafted, it came later than expected. That worked in the Chargers favor, as they dedicated most of their earlier offseason work to shoring up the offense. So it was clear they wanted to aid a defense which fell on hard times, and they could hardly contain their glee that Ingram was there at their spot. "That was the great thing for us because in all the mocks we saw, the things we did in our work outs, that Melvin would be gone a lot earlier," said Jimmy Raye, the team's director of pro personnel. "We were excited when he came down the board." Raye said the Chargers toyed with trading up, but it wasn't required the way the draft was unfolding. "We always are considering everything," he said. "We thought about going up, of course, but we decided to stay where we were. We had a cluster of players we felt good about and when he was there, we felt good about it." That good feeling could be extended if Ingram pans out. He left South Carolina with 21.5 sacks, the fourth-most in school history. His 10 sacks last year tied the team's single-season mark. "My No. 1 goal is to come in and work hard and make an impact as soon as possible," Ingram said. He added 15 tackles for losses last year, and the Chargers are all eyes about that. But when seeing their depth chart, there seems to be an overload of outside linebackers: Larry English, Antwan Barnes, and Shaun Phillips. And that's fine with Turner. "An impact player doesn't have to be on the field every down," Turner reminded. He's right. And the Chargers hope they got right on Thursday, making a move that will return them to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

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