After an offseason of reckless abandon when it comes to spending last year, the San Diego Chargers are thankfully exercising some fiscal responsibility this time around with a new regime in charge. While that is a welcome sight indeed, the Bolts still needed to make sure they kept every productive player from their previous roster to ensure that the team doesn’t regress even further in 2013. Unfortunately for the Bolts, that isn’t going to come to fruition thanks to a savvy signing by the Miami Dolphins over the weekend.
Defensive end Vaughn Martin was announced as a big priority for the team earlier in the offseason, but San Diego just couldn’t keep the former third rounder in lightning bolts. The 26 year old 6’4” 297lbs. lineman agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Dolphins to join their version of a dream team being built this offseason. Martin played end in the 3-4 alignment with San Diego, but he will likely kick inside to tackle with Miami.
This leaves the Bolts with yet another hole to fill on a depth chart that has been purged significantly this offseason. That can be both a good and a bad thing for a team with limited salary cap space, but the place where they could find an inexpensive replacement for Martin is the NFL Draft.
While some may believe that the Chargers could feasibly select offensive line in round one, two, and three of the upcoming draft, that isn’t likely to be the team’s approach. A player that has made a real impression on me and several scouts this offseason is Margus Hunt from SMU. At 6’8” 277lbs., it’s easy to see why a kid of this size would be somewhat unforgettable. Couple that with his mind-blowing numbers at the Combine like a 4.60 time in the 40-yard dash (third fastest of any defensive lineman) and 38 reps on the bench press (tops among all D-linemen), and you have yourself an athletic freak of nature.
With 17 blocked kicks (an NCAA record) in his college career, Hunt offers plenty on the field as well. The one downside that many point to is the fact that he is already 26 years old and played against lesser competition in college. Hunt didn’t just play against lesser foes however, he dominated them. That speaks to just how effective he will be from day one at the NFL level, and his age and maturity also highlight that point.
He may not be a proven commodity in the league like Martin was, but he clearly has the strength to hold up at the point of attack and can thrive in the 3-4 alignment. In the second round, Hunt should be on the Chargers’ radar. If he isn’t, the loss of Martin is going to sting all that much more in 2013.