After the 2013 NFL Draft yielded an impressive haul for first year General Manager Tom Telesco, the San Diego Chargers have to be excited about the players that have been added to the roster for the upcoming season. Still it’s hard not to wonder what might have been in last month’s draft had some of the top offensive tackle talent declared themselves eligible to be chosen. As holders of the 11th overall pick, the Chargers were at the mercy of the teams ahead of them in the draft order. Even with their exceptional 2013 class, the Bolts can’t help but wonder what might have been.
That conjecture spills over into next year’s draft class where Taylor Lewan of Michigan and Jake Matthews of Texas A&M will be including in the festivities. After the Chargers still made this April’s lineman-heavy draft have four offensive tackles selected in the top 11 picks, one can’t help but wonder if it would have been six in the top 11 had Lewan and Matthews decided to join the party.
Regardless of that speculation, the fact of the matter is that these two will be included in the 2014 draft class which doesn’t appear to be lacking for talent in the trenches either. Both Cyrus Kouandijo of Alabama and Antonio Richardson of Tennessee join Lewan and Matthews in the top 10 of Mel Kiper Jr.’s 2014 big board. This could prove to be beneficial for a Chargers team that is still undergoing a serious makeover in the trenches that is likely to last into next year’s selection. Even if Max Starks does end up signing with the team for the 2013 season, the left tackle position will still need a future which could ultimately be found in next April’s draft.
While these four tackles may be ranked in the top 10 currently, team needs along with skill position quality may dictate a much different selection in next year’s draft. The 2013 version was an anomaly with just one quarterback and no running backs taken in round one. Obviously the Chargers would like to be picking a little bit lower in the 2014 draft and have a better 2013 season, but they could still land a top-tier tackle even if that is the case. Just remember former Pro Bowl starter Marcus McNeill was a second round pick.
There’s no doubt the team has high hopes for this year’s first round selection D.J. Fluker at the right tackle position. He could very well kick inside to guard in year one if the Bolts choose to hang onto Jeromey Clary for another season. After both starting guards in Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green left via free agency, the offensive front is undergoing some serious change. It’s easy to see that transformation continuing in the 2014 NFL Draft as well.