With the 11th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers have chosen Alabama Crimson Tide offensive tackle D.J. Fluker. This was a good choice of course for the Chargers, who are in desperate need of an offensive line overhaul after allowing 49 sacks on quarterback Philip Rivers last season, the fourth highest in the NFL. 6’5″ and 339 pounds of solid offensive tackle, Fluker’s pure size makes him ideal for creating running lanes for running back Ryan Mathews while he can get low to cut-block on quick passes and in short-yardage situations, something the Chargers desperately need.
This news comes as some what of a surprise as it was assumed he would fall as far as number 20 if not to the Cincinnati Bengals‘ 21st pick of the draft. The Bengals have been rumored to be interested in a first round offensive tackle since former first round tackle Andre Smith has still not come to any kind of negotiation with the Bengals to see him return to the field for a few more years. Smith, who had some weight and injury issues during his rookie campaign, finished the 2012 season as one of the NFL’s top offensive tackles and as such, is looking to get the money that will reflect that. The issues that the Bengals were having with Smith are quite clear as he went looking for a new home, but no other team was willing to pay the high price for such a risky player. At this point, the Bengals will likely have to raise their offer as they will not be able to get a top-tier tackle to replace him.
In the meantime, it’s beginning to look a bit clearer for the Bengals. With Fluker gone to the Chargers and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro gone to the New Orleans Saints, things seem to be lining up for Jonathan Cyprien.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88