Former Kansas City Chiefs LT Jared Gaither was signed to a four-year deal in 2012, but missed 12 games with injuries and was released three months ago. San Diego’s front office brought in former Philadelphia Eagles LT King Dunlap and former Pittsburgh Steelers LT Max Starks to compete and see who will start at LT in 2013.
According to Tom Krasovic of utsandiego.com, Starks said that he’s “definitely competing for the job” and that “it’s a process”, but that he doesn’t “want anything given to him”. He believes “it’s great to have competition because it makes your room better and your offensive line stronger.”
Starks was Pittsburgh’s primary right tackle in 2005 and 2006 before he the primary LT in 2008-2011 and 2012. Pittsburgh went to three Super Bowls with Starks as a starter in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Dunlap was converted from RT to LT as well, and made 12 of his 13 starts at LT for Philadelphia last season. He has been practicing with the first team, so he has the edge over Starks for now.
The competition is not over, but I expected Starks to be named San Diego’s starting LT due to an edge in experience as he started 62 games at LT for Pittsburgh from 2008-2012. Dunlap has one season under his belt as a primary starter at LT, but has obviously done enough to impress the coaching staff.
According to ESPN football scout Matt Williamson, San Diego had the worst LT situation in the NFL before Starks was signed. While Rivers’ 22 turnovers last season were not all the offensive line’s fault, they have to protect him better to increase the team’s chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2009.