San Diego Chargers: Matthews, Lewan Are Best Options in April's Draft

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIDecember 26, 2012

Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Taylor Lewan, MichiganGregory Shamus/Getty Images

This Sunday when the San Diego Chargers face the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, it will likely be the last time fans will see this version of the team as the 2012 season comes to an end.

The first order of business will almost certainly be to name a new general manager followed by a new head coach. Norv Turner, who has a 55-40 record as head coach of the chargers, will likely not be brought back.

On the field, the Chargers have several areas of concern.

Ryan Mathews has spent time on the injured list again and the team may want to take a different approach in the backfield. Cornerbacks Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer are both free agents after the season.

But the offensive line is the area the Chargers must take care of first. The team should first look to free agency for help at the position, but the draft in April is where they need to find a star player at the tackle position that will be one of the cornerstones of their new look, starting with the 2013 season.

The Chargers will likely be behind Philadelphia and Arizona in the draft, two teams that have even worse offensive line problems than the Chargers. Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel is the top-rated player at the position and figures to be selected by either the Eagles or Cardinals. However, there are two more great tackles in the draft that the Chargers can't miss on.


Jake Matthews, Tackle, Texas A&M

At 6'5" and 305 pounds, this kid is the prototypical offensive tackle in the NFL. For starters, he is the son of Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews. He is incredibly athletic and has terrific instincts. Matthews is actually a teammate of Joeckel's and helped block for Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

He can fit into any system in the NFL and will be a great, long-term player at the position. He is solid with both pass protection and run-blocking, and his cut-block technique is as good as you'll ever see. Matthews also played well against very tough opposition with Texas A&M playing in the SEC.

When the draft rolls around, you often hear teams talking about making "safe" picks. Matthews is about as safe as you'll get in this year's draft.


Taylor Lewan, Tackle, Michigan

Lewan is the best offensive lineman the Wolverines have had since Jake Long and he will be a very early pick in 2013.

At 6'8", Lewan is a towering lineman with long arms and great technique. He especially excels with run-blocking due to his size and strength, and like Matthews would fit into any system in the NFL. He may need some fine-tuning in order to go against the great defensive ends that the league has to offer, but the Chargers would be very happy with this player.

With Joeckel off the board and the Cardinals taking either Matthews or Lewan in the first round, the Chargers must grab the other. That player will be a key cog in the Chargers offense for many years to come.