The San Diego Chargers need help along their entire offensive line. The unit that allowed 49 sacks in 2012 looks even worse on paper now after losing three starters this offseason. If they expect Philip Rivers to rebound, the Chargers will have no choice but to address the offensive line early in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Many believe that San Diego will grab one of the three elite offensive tackles if any were to fall to them when they pick 11th overall. However, all three could very well be gone at that point, and the Bolts lack the ammunition to trade up. If Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson do go in the top 10, the Chargers could address the offensive guard position with Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper.
The need at offensive guard is clearly there for the Chargers. The Bolts have high hopes for Chad Rinehart and Johnnie Troutman, but both lack experience and would be a downgrade from last season’s starting guards.
However, the Chargers have needs a several key positions, not just offensive line. The common thinking around the NFL is that the guard position isn’t valued as highly as offensive tackle, pass rusher, defensive lineman and cornerback, which happen to be other needs the Bolts need to address. By taking Warmack or Cooper at pick 11, are the Chargers getting the best value for their high first-round pick?
Since 2000, only 11 guards have been drafted in the first round, most going in the second half of the round. In last year’s draft, David DeCastro was considered a sure-thing, but even he fell to 24th overall. If the Chargers stay put and grab one, it’d be the highest a guard went in the draft since 1997.
However, both Warmack and Cooper appear to be safe picks who would be day-one starters. The Chargers can’t afford to miss on another first-round pick and need to replenish the talent on the team at any and all positions, no matter what the so-called “positional value” is. Some consider Warmack the best player on tape in the entire draft regardless of position, while Cooper isn’t far behind and is even the better athlete among the two.
If the Bolts like one of them and the top three tackles are gone, the Chargers should pull the trigger and not get worked up on positional value.