The untimely exit of Vaughn Martin from the San Diego Chargers has raised some interesting questions for the upcoming NFL Draft. Offensive line has long been considered the top need on this roster, but that was with the anticipation of Martin being re-signed. Now the Bolts have some critical decisions on the agenda looking ahead to the 2013 season. Thankfully they should have no shortage of options with the 11th overall pick.
While we have been examining possible contingency plans should a top tier offensive tackle not find his way to the Bolts at number 11 overall, those plots did not include the idea that Martin would not return to the team. The Bolts may still have some solid young depth on the defensive front with former first round pick Corey Liuget, last year’s second round stud in Kendall Reyes, and still just 26 year old Cam Thomas, but the rotation could always use some additional quality depth.
Thomas’ contract expires following the 2013 season, and it remains to be seen just how management feels about his future with the team. If Star Lotulelei is still on the board when the Chargers are placed on the clock by the Commissioner, it would be wise for the team to at least consider adding him.
Clearly if one of the top three tackles are available it is a done deal, but if they are not as many projections are forecasting, why not go with the big nose tackle? Many believe if he had come out a year ago he would have challenged Dontari Poe as the consensus top nose prospect in the class and that was prior to another year of seasoning. Lotulelei was a team captain at Utah and has tremendous character. He is a classic space eater who would really clog up the middle for this team and be the presence that has been missing inside since Jamal Williams left.
There are still a little over three weeks to go until the draft kicks off, but the Bolts would be wise to keep Lotulelei as a part of their plans if things don’t fall their way in the top 10. Offensive line may be a pressing need, but finding a quality nose tackle is rare in today’s NFL and Lotulelei certainly fits the bill. Teams can never have enough quality depth along the defensive line, especially in a 3-4 alignment.