The San Diego Chargers absolutely needed to address the offensive line early in the NFL Draft. Even with five offensive linemen going in the top 10, the Bolts still decided to take the sixth best linemen in Alabama’s D.J. Fluker with the 11th overall pick.
At 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, Fluker projects to be a right tackle in the NFL and will slide immediately in for the inept Jeromey Clary. He’s a powerful run blocker, who blocked for Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy at Alabama, helping them win two national championships. He will immediately help improve the Chargers’ run game and help Ryan Mathews, who is in a make-or-break year.
However, many believe he doesn’t have the quick feet to be a left tackle in this league, which is what the Chargers still need. He also needs to improve in pass protection and doesn’t project well into the zone-blocking scheme, which many believe the Chargers will try to implement next season. The fall back plan for Fluker is he can also play guard, another position of need for the Chargers, but that’s not what you want from a premium first round pick.
New General Manager Tom Telesco’s first pick with the team was a safe, but questionable one. He was in a tough spot with the run on offensive linemen as well as other players who would’ve filled needs, Tavon Austin and Dee Milliner, off the board. Telesco could have chosen the top rated player at another position of need, like Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei or Kenny Vaccaro, and address the offensive line in round two.
Still, San Diego’s offense just got better and Philip Rivers just got help.