Three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft are in the books and the San Diego Chargers still have not filled their years-long gaping void at left tackle, and thanks to trading up in Round 2 for linebacker Manti Te’o now don’t have a fourth-round pick. Outside of brief glimpses of competence from Jared Gaither a couple seasons ago, pass protection on both sides for Philip Rivers has been a disaster since Marcus McNeill broke down.
This Chargers receiving-core does look quite spectacular now, however. Keenan Allen could turn out to be the best possession receiver in the draft, which perfectly complements underrated deep threats Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd along with speedster Eddie Royal and enigma Vincent Brown. That sounds like one filthy 5-wide set. The problem is you must find a way to protect at the tackle spots to even roll out 4-wide sets.
Enter Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker: “That offensive line is a mess. I don’t think they have a true starting offensive tackle on their roster until they drafted this young man,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
That’s all well and good, but there’s no way he has the feet or agility to take over at left tackle at the moment and there’s questions about his ability to pass protect even at right. Fluker could well have a great career as a road-grading right tackle, but it’s going to be tough for him to hang with speedy edge-rushers on the 2013 schedule like Von Miller, Tamba Hali, Brandon Graham and Cameron Wake this year.
If the Chargers find a creative way to shore pass pro up between now and Week 1, this offense could return to its former terrifying form.
Picks: Fluker (1-11), Te’o (2-6 via trade up), Allen (3-14)