San Diego Chargers 2013 Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
The San Diego Chargers enter the 2013 NFL draft with a new regime in place and a lot of holes that need to be addressed. With GM Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy preparing for their first draft with the franchise, the expectation is that offensive line will be a focal point.
San Diego's offensive line gave up sacks in bunches last season and quarterback Philip Rivers needs better protection in front of him. The Chargers need help at both offensive tackle and guard.
However, there are other needs for San Diego. A strong defensive tackle is needed to excel within the team's 3-4 scheme and depth would be useful in the secondary.
Throughout the draft this slideshow will be updated with the newly selected Chargers, provide analysis of each pick, and grade each selection.
Round 1, Pick 11: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The run on Offensive Tackles went just as expected. Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson all went in the top four and that meant it was only a matter of time before D.J. Fluker took his turn on the carousel.
Fluker is an exciting prospect who may be a bit of a reach at No. 11, but can you blame the Chargers? The team is desperate for help along the offensive line and Fluker was clearly the best OT on the board.
There was talk that San Diego could look at someone like Star Lotulelei here, but they went primary need over "best player available". It's hard not to think the Chargers were hoping to see a guard like Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper fall here, but rest assured that there is talent inside of Fluker.
He is 6'6", 335 pounds and is an exceptional right tackle prospect. Fluker may actually be the best run blocking tackle in this class and will have no problem clearing alleys for Ryan Mathews coming out of the backfield.
Fluker has the type of strong hands that you hope for out of an elite Offensive Tackle and is capable of manhandling pass-rushers at a moment's notice. However, he has to catch them first. Fluker is not the quickest lineman in this class and some wonder if he may eventually make the shift over to the guard position.
As far as the fit with San Diego, the team needs both Tackles and Guards, so he is going to see playing time sooner rather than later no matter where the coaching staff decides he is going to play.
This pick may not be the most exciting of the draft, and the Chargers fan base may be left wondering what could have been with some of the players already off the board, but Fluker makes sense.
Round 2, Pick 38: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
And here is the name that everyone was waiting to see come off the board: Manti Te'o. The Chargers saw his name on the board and felt compelled to move up seven spots to grab the Notre Dame linebacker. Te'o has obviously made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the past couple of months, but this is still a phenomenal football player.
Te'o was a projected first-round pick as recently as a few months ago, but the girlfriend scandal and poor performance in the National Championship game dropped his stock somewhat. San Diego gets a tremendous value here for a player that has too much good tape to ignore.
He plays much faster than any poor 40-yard dash time would ever suggest and knows where plays are headed before they start to develop. His instincts are among the best of any player in this draft class and he is adept both in pass coverage and against the run.
The 6'2", 255-pound linebacker recorded an impressive seven interceptions last season to go along with 111 tackles. He is a true sideline-to-sideline player that immediately upgrades the Chargers linebacking core. He seemed like a more natural fit for a 4-3 defensive scheme, but did play in a 3-4 in college and has a skill set that should allow him to compete right away for a starting spot in San Diego.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Te'o can translate his game to the NFL, but Jonas Mouton is little more than a placeholder at left inside linebacker at the moment. Te'o may not have been on the Chargers big board originally, but seeing him fall to pick No. 38 almost forced San Diego to trade up.
Round 3, Pick 76: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The San Diego Chargers may not have desperately needed a wide receiver, but general manager Tom Telesco knows talent when he sees it.
San Diego continues to make smart picks in this draft and has now brought in three players with first-round talent. Allen is the all-time leader in receptions for the Cal Golden Bears and will be able to find a role quickly with the Chargers.
There were obviously bigger needs to address, namely at defensive tackle, left tackle and outside linebacker, but sometimes value trumps need. Allen was going to come off the board at any second and the Chargers took advantage. This feels similar to the way in which they found great value in Te'o despite inside linebacker not being the team's most pressing need.
Allen joins a crowded receiving corps that includes Malcom Floyd, Vincent Brown, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Danario Alexander. Where the 6'2", 206-pound wideout should be able to separate himself from the pack is in his ability to spread the field vertically, while having a sure set of hands.
Allen is a smart route-runner with good burst that can beat a defender at the line of scrimmage and quickly get to the next level for QB Philip Rivers to throw to.
There are some issues surrounding the fact that he missed the final three games of 2012 due to a knee injury and did not work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he had a good pro day and looks ready to immediately contribute at the next level.
Again, this was not a pick based on need, and the Chargers have plenty of receivers on the roster, but the value in the third round was overwhelming.
Round 5, Pick 145: Steve Williams, CB, California
It has been hard to fault any of the selections made by the Chargers to this point, but there are some definite question marks surrounding cornerback Steve Williams out of Cal. It is always nice to bring in a local product, especially one at a clear area of need, but Williams may have been a bit of a reach in the fifth round.
After trading out of the fourth round, San Diego was due to make a big splash with this pick and that is not exactly what happened. Williams is undersized at 5'9", 181 pounds and is unlikely to play anything more than a nickel coverage role at the next level.
However, he will find some success due to his natural speed and agility. Williams has quick feet and can keep up with even the fastest receivers that the NFL has to offer. He has good hands and knows to undercut routes at the point of attack. This is evidenced by the 25 pass breakups he had in his collegiate career, ranking sixth in Cal history.
Still, there were plenty of cornerbacks on the board, many of which looked to be much more promising than Williams. Guys like Jordan Poyer (Oregon State) and Brandon McGee (Miami) are more complete players. Williams' size will be a serious concern moving forward and it will be interesting to see what kind of role the Chargers carve out for him.
It is OK to take a nickel player in the fifth round, but if you could get a potential starter why wouldn't you?
Round 6, Pick 179: Tourek Williams, DE, Florida Int'l
The Chargers really needed a pass-rusher and here he is in Tourek Williams out of Florida International. Williams is the guy that caused all the pressure on QBs and helped elevate the play of safety Jonathan Cyprien who went at the top of the second round.
Williams is solely a pass-rusher, but that is fine for a sixth-round pick and he can immediately find a niche on passing downs. He is 6'3", 260 pounds and joins a roster that has a clear need at the position.
San Diego has done a good job in this draft of balancing out high value picks with guys that fit the team's most glaring needs. Offensive line was a concern and it was addressed at the top of the draft. The same goes for linebacker and cornerback.
With Shaun Phillips off to greener pastures with the Denver Broncos it is good to see the Chargers draft someone with great edge speed and the ability to move laterally. There are questions about his short arms and inability to shed blocks, but he can be coached up in that regard. This is a great value pick for a San Diego team that continues to impress.
He will be a situational pass-rusher early in his career, but there is upside here.
Round 7, Pick 221: Brad Sorenson, QB, Southern Utah
With only two quarterbacks (Philip Rivers and Charlie Whitehurst) currently on the depth chart, the Chargers decided to add a third guy in the form of Southern Utah QB Brad Sorenson.
Sorenson was a star at SUU, throwing for 9,445 passing yards and 61 touchdowns. He has prototypical NFL size at 6'5"229 pounds. Sorenson has deceptive athleticism and a decent enough arm to make intermediate throws at the next level.
He struggled in games against FBS conference schools, but dominated the lower-level FCS competition. That is the big question with Sorenson: Can he play against elite competition?
Obviously that is not something that needs to be addressed here because he will never compete for the starting job in San Diego. Rivers has a firm hold of the position and Charlie Whitehurst is the definite No. 2 man on the depth chart.
This pick is not exciting, and it is also the first selection Telesco has made who will have zero chance of playing this season. There were other areas San Diego should have went with this pick, and Sorenson will likely wash out at some point because he struggles against good competition and with throwing accurate passes consistently.
This is a mediocre way to end an amazing draft for the Chargers, but in the seventh round there are truly no terrible selections.