|NFL DRAFT: Chargers keep Turner, pick Davis and Weddle|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 28 April 2007 16:40|
Michael Turner, the talented backup to NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, is staying put, at least for now, because no one met the Chargers' steep asking price.
Not long after using the 30th pick to take speedy LSU wide receiver Craig Davis, the Chargers themselves sent a handful of picks to Chicago in order to move up 25 spots in the second round and take Utah safety Eric Weddle.
The Chargers - who had an early playoff exit despite their NFL-best 14-2 record - gave Chicago their second-, third- and fifth-round picks this year and a third-rounder next year.
With only three safeties on their roster and holding compensatory draft picks in the third and fifth rounds, the Chargers felt it was worth the cost to get Weddle, who also played on offense and special teams for Utah.
``We knew if we waited until the end of the second round that we wouldn't get him,'' assistant general manager Buddy Nix said. ``We weren't worried about what we gave up, we worried about what we got, which is a good football player that will help us win.
``It's a lot more important to have the player than walk around with your chest out and say, 'That was too much to give up. We got the player.''
On the flip side, the Chargers didn't find anyone willing to meet their price for Turner, a bruising 237-pounder who averaged 6.3 yards a carry in backing up Tomlinson last year.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith didn't take questions from the media. But Titans coach Jeff Fisher confirmed to reporters in Tennessee that the teams had conversations involving the 19th pick, which Tennessee used on Texas safety Michael Griffin.
Fisher said San Diego wanted too much for Turner, at one point increasing its demand, turning it into a price that the Titans would not pay.
``It became obvious to us they weren't willing to move him,'' Fisher said. ``They wanted the assurance of knowing they had a backup to LaDainian Tomlinson this year. I think that's the bottom line.''
In a brief statement after he picked Davis, Smith said there was ``a lot of activity and I think it's going to continue.''
No team signed Turner to an offer sheet by the deadline, perhaps scared off by the steep price of losing a first- and third-round draft pick had the Chargers not countered. Turner signed a $2.35 million, one-year tender Friday, but still can be dealt.
With Turner's value to the Chargers at its highest, Smith was hoping to pry first- and third-round picks out of suitors, either this year or next.
On Wednesday, Smith said teams had offered ``less than I would like'' for Turner. If Turner remains with the Chargers, he can leave as an unrestricted free agent after next season, and San Diego likely would get a compensatory draft pick.
Davis started 25 of 44 games at LSU, catching 141 passes for 2,107 and seven touchdowns.
``We're adding a weapon to the offense, and also a punt returner, so we got two for the price of one,'' Smith said of Davis.
Davis wasn't projected to go so high.
``I think the only reason people thought I would be a second- to early third-round pick was because of injuries,'' he said. ``I think a lot of people realize the ability I have and the injuries were the only question mark.''
Davis was one of four LSU players taken in the first round, joining quarterback JaMarcus Russell (No. 1, to Oakland), defensive back LaRon Landry (Washington, No. 6) and fellow wideout Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City, No. 23).
San Diego's young, undistinguished receiving corps doesn't have a go-to guy. Keenan McCardell was cut after his production dropped. Neither he nor the other opening day starter, Eric Parker, had a touchdown catch last season.
That said, the Chargers haven't had a wide receiver lead them in catches since Curtis Conway in 2001. Since then, either Tomlinson or All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates has had the most catches.
``The thing we feel about Craig is he is a complete receiver,'' coach Norv Turner said. ``The thing that jumped out at me is he's got great hands. He has great run-after-the-catch ability. This is another young guy who's certainly going to contribute and have an effect.''
The Chargers cut strong safety Terrence Kiel, who was arrested twice during last season.
When the Chargers called, it took Weddle a moment to figure out that they'd just moved up 25 spots to get him.
``Once I realized that's what they were going to do, I was ecstatic about it and I can't wait to get to work and prove they made the right decision,'' he said. ``They do a lot of stuff that I did in college. When I went on my visit it was second-nature. It was a natural progression.''
Weddle, a two-time Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, already is comfortable playing at Qualcomm Stadium.
On Sept. 23, he returned two interceptions for touchdowns and scored another on offense to lead Utah to a 38-7 rout of San Diego State. His offensive touchdown and one of his pickoff returns came on consecutive plays from scrimmage.
``I love it,'' he said. ``I've had some good games there. I think I've had four picks there.''
AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.