It’s one of the most underrated positions in the NFL. It always has been. Wait, you’re telling me that THREE left tackles went in the first FOUR picks of the 2013 NFL Draft!? So much for that old cliché.
Even though the left tackle is making a comeback in today’s pass-happy NFL where keeping the quarterback upright is of the utmost importance, the position is still a mystery for many franchises throughout the league. The San Diego Chargers are unfortunately a member of that club with the recent Jared Gaither debacle following the unfortunate serious of injury issues that plagued Marcus McNeill. The team has been searching for an answer at the left tackle position for the past three seasons, and many believed the 2013 lineman-heavy draft could have provided one.
The Bolts may have added tackle D.J. Fluker to the roster via the draft, but he is best suited to play on the right side as a dominating run blocker. San Diego did sign King Dunlap earlier in the offseason who at 6’9” 330lbs. certainly looks the part, but the team still doesn’t seem content with him as quarterback Philip Rivers’s blindside protector. That is where current free agent veteran Bryant McKinnie comes in.
There were rumors circulating a few weeks ago that the Bolts had serious interest in McKinnie, and now it appears those rumors have become facts. The Miami Dolphins have also joined in this chase for a veteran stopgap on the end of their line after a trade for the disgruntled Branden Albert of the Kansas City Chiefs fell through. Adding a savvy veteran like McKinnie would be the ideal fit for either of these teams as they will likely look to address the position in next year’s draft.
Another potential option is Max Starks who remains a free agent as well. He has been quite underrated during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Starks is very effective in protecting the blindside. Compared to the current options that the Chargers have to work with he is definitely a quality plan B.
General Manager Tom Telesco did an outstanding job finding some serious value in the first three rounds of the draft and continued that conquest with some equally impressive undrafted free agent signings, but none of those additions will man the left side of the line. If Telesco can somehow add McKinnie or Starks to the roster heading into training camp, this Chargers team could be on a rapid rebound in 2013.