Draft day decison makers: San Diego Chargers

For the ninth year in a row the San Diego Chargers will let General Manger AJ Smith call the shots on draft day. Smith is a hard nosed executive that can get under the skin of his players as well as his coaches. On draft day he has had a very mixed bag, and even though he is widely considered one of the best GM’s in the NFL and an excellent talent evaluator, he has been in something of a funk the past four of five years.

Smith never played professional ball but many people might not now that he is a member of the semi-pro football hall of fame. He spent that career in football as a wide receiver. His surly demeanor and hard nosed approach to his job likely comes from another former career as a Physical Education teacher.

Since 2006 AJ has made a lot of puzzling decisions and we can effectively argue that all of his biggest draft day mistakes come in that time frame. He traded up last year to take Ryan Matthews and he failed to deliver on the hype. In 2007 he traded multiple picks to move up in the second round and take Eric Weddle and that has never lived up to the price paid. Many did not like the outcome of 2006 first round pick Antonio Cromartie who did not have a great work ethic.

Given all of that we know that Smith is unafraid to move up to get the players he has targeted, he does not seem to care about injuries or durability concerns, and that he has a very big ego. Sometimes having an ego on draft day is a good thing, but sometimes it simply gets in the way. It seems to me Smith has let his ego get the better of him in recent drafts.

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