With the 61st pick of Pride of Detroit's 2011 NFL Mock Draft, the San Diego Chargers select Texas defensive end/linebacker Sam Acho. Sgdbw90 is serving as the Chargers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
Acho? God bless you!
Get ready to hear that a lot, San Diegans. I know that we blog-dwellers tend to love data, analytics, expert analyses and rankings, but this is a pick I'm basically making from my own heart and personal experience, not so much the national rankings (though Acho is considered a legit prospect in the second-third round). I've been a UT grad student for two years and have attended every Texas home game in that time and learned three key things: Colt McCoy will always make the right decision, teams should never punt to Jordan Shipley and Sam Acho is an absolute beast. He anchored the defense that went to the title game two years ago and was a stud contributor even though the overall team D suffered this past year. During that time, Acho had 19 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, and wreaked havoc both rushing the passer and dropping back into coverage. Every other play at DKR Stadium had the PA announcer saying the name Acho (though that may have been influenced by the presence of his brother, Emmanuel, also a solid defender). Sam was a pure producer in one of the best defenses in the country (well, two years ago at least) and is easily one of the most underrated prospects in the draft.
Sam Acho played DE in college but projects to be a 3-4 OLB and edge rusher as a pro, a huge position of need for the Chargers ever since the career-crumbling antics of Shawne Merriman. Acho will make an immediate impact as a special teams player, never missed a down due to injury in his college career and has good pursuit speed to be a sideline-to-sideline type LB if they want to play him that way. He was routinely double teamed in college, which makes his numbers even more impressive considering he was chipped by a RB or pulling guard on most plays.
And, not for nothing, Acho is a model citizen whose intangibles are through the roof, something that the Chargers might value after the whole Tila Tequila episode. He's a team captain, winner of the UT overall MVP, defensive MVP and strength/conditioning award, and won numerous academic awards, community service awards, NCAA Leadership Council awards, etc. Plus, he speaks fluent Spanish, something that will help in a city with one of the biggest Latino populations in America. Does being a smart, grounded, super productive player in a position of need merit this type of "reach"? You may not agree, but I can say one thing - there are few players in this class I'd rather see the Lions draft, and if he's good enough for us, he's certainly good enough for them.
Check out the 2011 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.