Reaching for a player in the NFL Draft is something that the San Diego Chargers hoped to avoid now in the post-A.J. Smith era of the front office. With the Senior Bowl going on this week, the Bolts had plenty of talent evaluators in Mobile, Alabama to take in the practices. There are now several reasons to think that if this team really wants to improve where it needs to the most (offensive line), they will have to think seriously about trading up into the top 10.
It looked like for a period of time during the 2012 season that the Chargers wouldn’t have to make a trade to select in the first 10 picks this April. Their struggles were hard to watch at times, but the offensive line was especially horrendous for the bulk of the year. Now slated to choose 11th overall in the 2013 draft, the team is looking to solidify that area of their roster and better insulate quarterback Philip Rivers into the future.
One player pegged for the Bolts in the early going was Central Michigan left tackle prospect Eric Fisher, who reminds many of another Chippewa alum Joe Staley (who now blocks for the San Francisco 49ers). Now that both Taylor Lewan of Michigan and Jake Matthews of Texas A&M have decided to go back to school next year however, Fisher has taken a significant leap up most draft boards. Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M is still considered to be at the top of the heap as far as left tackles go in this year’s crop, but Fisher isn’t all that far behind.
Where most wanted to see Fisher prove himself was on the big stage in Mobile against some of the best talent in the country from bigger schools. The 6’7” 305lbs. Fisher has been outstanding all week in practice and has really impressed several teams in the process. What that means for San Diego unfortunately is that staying put at number 11 might not be enough to land Fisher with so many teams searching for that next bookend left tackle.
There is no track record for new general manager Tom Telesco yet and just how he operates during a draft, but it stands to reason that the Bolts would be quite aggressive going after Fisher. Jared Gaither’s injury issues really dragged the team down this past season and since Marcus McNeill’s retirement they really haven’t had a steady presence on the left side of the line. Hopefully this is the year that the club finally addresses its true shortcomings in the trenches.
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