First-year San Diego Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco expressed the opinion that most fans share leading up to the start of the 2013 NFL Draft when the Bolts convened for their offseason program last week. According to CBS Sports, Telesco said: “Each draft is always unique in itself. It’s always cyclical. This year it’s really unique because the first 15 picks or so, and we do this for a living every day, and we really don’t know who will go in the first 15, which is a little different. Usually, the first four or five you can pretty much pinpoint and then after that you have to do some educated guessing. But this year, I think from a fan standpoint should be really exciting. For us, it probably means just more preparation than usual because it’s hard to get a real good feel for what may happen in the first 15, certainly the first 10.”
His candor is admirable for (as he says) a man who does this for a living. It’s hard to believe he’s alone with the uncertainty heading into the first round Thursday evening. The mystery surrounding every pick after number one overall really is unprecedented and that isn’t a ‘hyperbolic, speaking in the now’ opinion.
For the Bolts, this makes the desired goal of landing the best player available who also fits an area of need all the more difficult. From projected trade ups to land one of the top three elite left tackles in this draft class to looking at trading down and accumulating more picks, the Chargers will have no shortage of options this evening.
Given all of this conjecture, here are five of the prominent names that have been linked to San Diego so far leading up to tonight’s opening round.
Eric Fisher — Clearly this would have to be a trade up scenario, but if he is still available outside of the top five selections, the Bolts would have to be interested in pursuing this talented blindside protector. Quarterback Philip Rivers hit the turf far too often a year ago, and finding a bookend to alleviate those concerns would be ideal.
Lane Johnson — Obviously everything above applies to this kid as well, but my personal opinion on Johnson is much more mixed than Fisher. Johnson seems like more of a project to develop behind King Dunlap in year one whereas Fisher would be an immediate plug-and-play starter from day one.
Chance Warmack — He doesn’t seem to fit the zone-blocking scheme on paper, but if the coaching staff thinks he would mesh well, why not take the player many believe is the best in this year’s class? Guards aren’t traditionally drafted this high, but this draft is going to defy many conventional wisdoms.
Jonathan Cooper — Another guard, Cooper would be ideal in a zone-blocking scheme with terrific mobility and just a well-rounded skill set. The current vibe has him trending into the top 10, but the unpredictability factor is still very much present.
Star Lotulelei — It isn’t an immediate need area, but this kid was thought of as a potential number one overall pick just a few months ago. He hasn’t played a game since then, and there is nothing to dispel his on-field prowess. He could anchor the defensive line for the next decade if added to the roster.
It seems that the only thing we can be certain of right now is that the Bolts are likely looking to the trenches with their first round pick. Given their struggles both running the ball and protecting the passer last season, any help in that area would be very much appreciated.