San Diego Chargers: Top 10 Prospects

Ryan Mathews (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and closes out the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Chargers top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
RB
6-0
218
R
23

The San Diego Chargers thought so much of Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews that they traded up from No. 28 to No. 12 to take the runner that they believe can replace the legendary LaDainian Tomlinson, who signed with the New York Jets during the off-season. This past year at Fresno State, his first year as a starter, Mathews rushed for 1,808 yards on 276 carries and 19 touchdowns. He’s extremely talented and deceptively quick on the edge, but his aggressive style of running and his inability to elude big hits may create problems with his durability. Mathews had his share of injuries in college, but the Chargers are hoping that they’re in the past and that their new featured back can carry the load.

Drafted by San Diego in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-2
255
2
24

The Chargers first round pick in the 2009 draft, Larry English was a bit of a surprise pick, but the front office viewed him as a comparable player to Shawne Merriman, who has been injury prone the last two years. As a rookie, English played in all 16 games, starting two and recorded 36 tackles and two sacks. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Merriman in San Diego, but whatever happens, English will be ready for more action this season.

Drafted by San Diego in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
CB
6-0
190
3
23

Since being a first round pick in 2008, Antoine Cason has played in every game and has been a solid contributor in the secondary. But, he's only started four games in his career, and appears to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff after he lost his nickel corner job to Steve Gregory last year. Cason's situation will be something to watch during the preseason, but looking at the depth chart, he could work his way back into a positive light and become a starter this year.

Drafted by San Diego in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OG
6-5
325
2
23

The selection of Louis Vasquez in the third round paid instant dividends, as he started 14 games in '09. He missed two games early on in the season with a knee injury, but recovered quickly and played well throughout the year. He enters his second year as a key figure on the offensive line, and the Chargers are hoping that the massive Vasquez can continue his ascension.

Drafted by San Diego in the 3rd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-2
239
4
24

A late round gem in '07, Brandon Siler enters his fourth year in the league at the age of 24 and won't turn 25 until December, which makes him eligible for the prospects list. Siler has been a solid contributor over the years and emerged as a starter in seven games this past season. In '09, Siler registered 67 tackles, two sacks and an interception, and is expected to start along side of Stephen Cooper at inside linebacker this season.

Drafted by San Diego in the 7th Round (2007).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
S
5-11
205
R
22

As far as quality goes, the Chargers selected a solid safety in the fourth round this year in former Kansas star Darrell Stuckey. A player that brings a physical approach and possesses good ball skills, Stuckey will compete for a starting job immediately, especially after the team released Kevin Ellison. The '10 safety class was a deep crop, and it's possible that Stuckey will end up being the steal amongst the group.

Drafted by San Diego in the 4th Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-1
245
R
21

As far as upside, Donald Butler could be ranked higher on this list. But, with the linebacker position being rather deep in San Diego, other players were valued higher. Butler has a chance to get his share of reps this season and being a third round pick, he will receive a lot of attention from the coaching staff.

Drafted by San Diego in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
FB
5-11
235
3
25

A strong runner who brings the complete package to the field, Jacob Hester may not be the fastest runner, but he gives maximum effort on every play. A third round pick in '08, Hester has been a valuable special teams contributor, but has yet to have a huge impact on offense. He will be the Chargers starting fullback this season, and they will try to utilize his skills more on offense.

Drafted by San Diego in the 3rd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
QB
6-3
222
R
22

A Scouting Combine snub during the draft process, Jonathan Crompton had a solid senior campaign at Tennessee where he completed 58.3-percent of his passes for 2,800 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during his first year as a starter. The selection of Crompton gives the Chargers a quarterback to develop behind Philip Rivers for the future.

Drafted by San Diego in the 5th Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-4
320
2
24

Vaughn Martin is possibly the most intriguing young player on the Chargers roster. He has tremendous upside and the size to play inside or outside on the defensive line. He had off-season ankle surgery, which limited him this off-season, but he's expected to be ready for training camp and to compete for playing time this season.

Drafted by San Diego in the 4th Round (2009).


For more on the Chargers, check out SD Bolt Report.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.

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