It seems that other factions are finally starting to buy into my opinion from weeks ago that the San Diego Chargers shouldn’t chase a left tackle. If all of the left tackles are gone by the time the Bolts are put on the clock in the 2013 NFL Draft, there is absolutely no reason to panic. In all likelihood, the run on linemen on the offensive side will push some high quality defenders down the draft board. If that is the case, Star Lotulelei makes too much sense not to be a member of the Chargers when April 25th arrives.
Even though the nose tackle position is not a glaring need with Cam Thomas performing adequately over the past few seasons, his success has been mostly experienced in rotation with veterans like Antonio Garay or Aubrayo Franklin. Both of those guys were sent packing this offseason, and the Bolts now need to replenish along the defensive front.
Vaughn Martin may have left for greener pastures (monetarily) in free agency, but the defensive end position is still in good hands with young, budding stars Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes holding down either side. The nose remains the primary concern with Thomas’s contract set to expire following the 2013 season and no real plans in place to replace him should he find a more lucrative offer elsewhere.
Adding Lotulelei with the 11th overall selection would be essentially like trading into the top five picks without the cost. Most believed he would go in the top 10 picks at the very least during the majority of this pre-draft process, but a misdiagnosed heart issue at the NFL Scouting Combine gave everyone some pause for a moment. Now that the issue has been put to rest as a side effect of a virus, there is no reason for Lotulelei not to re-assume his position near the top of most big boards.
If nothing else, the Bolts’ new General Manager Tom Telesco will get quite a bargain in his first draft with the team. If the team fails to land one of the three elite left tackles that they so desperately covet, the consolation prize of Lotulelei would be enough allow fans to see Telesco’s first draft as a success. There’s no doubt that if the big man from Utah was available with the 11th overall pick, TT would be doing a disservice to his best player available approach to the draft by not selecting him.