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Did Chargers use draft to gear up for Manning-mania?

253 draft picks taken over the weekend transformed NFL rosters in a matter of days. Around the League will examine the aftershocks by asking one post-draft burning question for all 32 teams. So far, we've tackled the Jets, Jaguars, Dolphins, Colts, Raiders, Bills and Patriots.

Did Chargers solve their defensive woes with three quality draft picks?

General manager A.J. Smith followed up a successful navigation of the 2012 free-agency market with an excellent draft class that has the potential to return the Chargers to elite status in the AFC.

After dynamic South Carolina pass-rusher Melvin Ingramfell into the team's laps at No. 18, San Diego found more value in the second and third rounds in Connecticut defensive lineman Kendall Reyes (49th overall) and LSU safety Brandon Taylor at No. 73.

Ingram was a top-10 player on some draft boards, making him potentially the steal of the draft.

"I was at his pro day, and everyone in the crowd couldn't believe his workout," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "He can play standing up, and in San Diego he will be moved everywhere on the field. This is a playmaker."

Smith didn't think the Chargers would sniff Ingram in the middle of the first round.

"I consider this a part of luck," Smith said, "because when I see what I consider a bonus pick, outside our cluster, it's luck. He's a mean, nasty man, extremely physical with a great motor."

The Bolts moved up in the third round to secure Taylor, who they liked enough to consider grabbing in the second round, according to

Smith and the Chargers obviously believed it was their defense that held them back during a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2011. It makes perfect sense they would concentrate on that side of the ball, especially with Peyton Manning now taking up residence in the AFC West.

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