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Apparently, Chargers GM A.J. Smith Knows What He's Doing

Apr 14, 2008 – 12:43 PM
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Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson %BloggerTitle%

It wasn't very long ago that people were yelling for A.J. Smith to get fired (I may or may not have been one of those voices). After Marty Schottenheimer was canned/voluntarily left following a 14-win season, and his successor Norv Turner got off to a slow start in 2008, it was evident Smith had lost it.

Of course, there's a reason the fans and the media don't make NFL personnel decisions. San Diego ended up winning 11 games, the AFC West, and made it to the conference championship.

Smith is known for his ability to put together an NFL roster, and while most of us panned his decision to send a second-round pick to Miami for thought-to-be worthless Chris Chambers, he turned out to be a nice addition to the Chargers' wide receivers corps.

San Diego also traded up in the 2007 draft to grab safety Eric Weddle, and that also cost them some picks this year. Still, Smith understands that winning teams are built through the draft, and that's why he wouldn't mind re-acquiring some of the selections he lost over the last 12 months.
League sources have said the Chargers have been involved in talks about trading for extra picks and indicated the club will remain engaged in such attempts until it's on the clock on April 26. Smith will only say, with a coy smile, "I still can wheel and deal."

What the Chargers have to deal is the 27th pick in the first round, which could bring them selections in the middle of the second and third rounds.
As the San Diego-Tribune's Kevin Acee notes, the Chargers have needs along the offensive line and in the secondary, both very deep positions in this year's draft. Moving down would make a lot of sense.

Of course, everybody wants to move down so it's a little harder than just wishing it true. Even if San Diego can't make a deal, though, they're in pretty good shape: they'll still have their first-round pick, and two compensatory picks coming their way in '09 after losing Michael Turner and Drayton Florence this off-season.
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