It’s no secret that the San Diego Chargers would like to completely rebuild their spotty offensive line. The case can be made that every starter along the offensive line except center Nick Hardwick will be gone this off-season.
Though the team may shore up some of the issues in free agency, the Chargers undoubtedly will still look to draft a lineman or two early in the 2013 NFL Draft. The evaluation process continues this weekend when the NFL hopefuls try to impress the scouts and improve their draft stocks at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Many tackles and guards will be available for the Chargers to choose from in the first round of the draft, but will any of them provide value at the 11th overall pick? Tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are expected to go in the top 10 and are likely out of reach for the Chargers unless they trade up. One could argue that besides those two, no linemen are worthy of going at 11. The Chargers will likely pay a lot of attention to tackles Lane Johnson and D.J. Fluker, as well as guards Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper. Whether any of them deserve to go as high as 11 will depend on how they perform this weekend and until April.
The team will likely look for an athletic tackle or guard who fits their new zone blocking scheme. An important stat to look out for at the Combine is the 10-yard split, which measures the first 10 yards of the 40-yard-dash. The 10-yard split will show the short-area burst of a player and determine if a lineman has a good first step and is quick enough to get to second level.
History shows that rookie offensive linemen can step in and make an immediate impact. The Chargers hope that will be the case with whomever they decide to draft.