With the 18th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2012 NFL mock draft, the San Diego Chargers select Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw. David Tokarz is serving as the Chargers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
When looking to draft for the Chargers, I was primarily concerned with drafting the best defensive player available. Even with Philip Rivers' struggles last year, the San Diego offense was ranked fifth overall, according to Football Outsiders. While the offense could use some tweaks (an offensive lineman, a backup running back for when Ryan Mathews goes down this season and an extra wideout), the defense was absolutely horrendous at 29th overall (again, thank you, Football Outsiders). This team desperately needs help at pass rusher and could use some help from a safety to play across from Eric Weddle.
Therefore, I was thrilled to see both Nick Perry and Courtney Upshaw available at No. 18 overall. I decided on Upshaw since I'm of the mind that he's the best pass rusher left in the draft. In the Chargers' 3-4 defense, Upshaw can slot in at linebacker and really increase the pass rush (which is necessary given the upgrades that the Broncos and Raiders have made at quarterback). Upshaw should provide a pretty sizable impact on the Chargers front seven and should be ready to start almost right away.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.