The San Diego Chargers chose former Alabama Crimson Tide right tackle D.J. Fluker with the 11th pick in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft. Fluker is expected to be San Diego’s starting right tackle in 2013.
According to Tom Krasovic of utsandiego.com, “Ben Muth, a former Stanford Cardinal left tackle, is concerned about Fluker. In Muth’s view, the Chargers rookie lacks nimbleness to pass-block well enough as an NFL tackle.”
Fluker was selected to an All-SEC First-team and was a First-team All-American last season at Alabama while he graded at 98.6 percent on blocking assignments. Success in college does not always translate to success in the pros, but Fluker’s arms measured at 36 inches, which were the longest of anyone in the draft. This could work to Fluker’s advantage when he protects Philip Rivers against pass rushers.
San Diego’s offensive line allowed 49 sacks last season, which ranked fourth in the NFL so this was a major reason why Fluker was taken with the 11th overall pick.
NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk said that he thinks Fluker has the potential to be a left tackle for San Diego, which requires more athleticism than it, takes to play RT.
Fluker’s weight was a concern because he was 355 pounds at the Senior Bowl, but he lost 16 pounds since then which should help with his ability to protect teammates.
ESPN’s Bill Williamson said that he would move Fluker to right guard where he thinks Fluker would make the Pro Bowl. San Diego’s coaching staff does not feel the same way as Muth or Williamson and they could come up with different blocking schemes if Fluker struggles at RT.
I expect Fluker to build on his success from college. If he struggles, San Diego could move Max Starks to RT where he has a few years of experience in the league.