There has been plenty of noise surrounding the San Diego Chargers and their potential pursuit of one of the top three tackles in Thursday’s first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. With the anticipated run on offensive linemen expected to transpire just above the Bolts in the draft order, however, the team would likely have to trade up in order to snag one of those three elites. My thoughts regarding this issue have already been made loud and clear, but just what other options does the team have?
For starters, staying put and “settling” for a second-tier player like D.J. Fluker who many feel will be limited to the right side at the next level would be a huge mistake. I am as down on current right tackle Jeromey Clary as the next guy, but making that the top priority in the draft just isn’t a smart move.
Obviously the team could veer from the offensive lineman course and add a top notch defensive player instead. While this would make more sense than “forcing” a pick like Fluker, it still doesn’t address one of the club’s primary shortcomings entering the draft. General Manager Tom Telesco has to make sure he maximizes the team’s value while still putting his resources toward an area of need.
The solution that is beginning to gain a lot of steam is the idea of moving down and filling multiple holes in the process. Several teams loaded with picks could be interested in moving up into the early teens of the draft. Clubs like the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, and Atlanta Falcons figure to be aggressive in pursuit of that one key piece that they feel could push them over the top to postseason glory.
In the process, San Diego could be in prime position to capitalize on this pent up aggression. This has been my preferred plan of attack for the Bolts since landing one of the top three tackles became a must trade up scenario. By moving down, the team could accumulate additional picks to fill more of the many holes that they need to address and still wind up with a left tackle that has potential in Menelik Watson or Justin Pugh.
Telesco and company will have their work cut out for them in this upcoming draft, but the worst decision they could make is repeating the mistakes of the past. Previous GM A.J. Smith traded up continuously (See: Eric Weddle, See: Ryan Mathews) leaving the team with little resources for the following years. The way to build a franchise is to stockpile draft choices rather than mortgaging the future for the here and now. The Bolts are a work in progress, but the climb back to relevance could get much less steep if they can trade down in the first round on Thursday.