On a night that saw three offensive tackles go in the first four picks and five total offensive lineman in the top 10, the San Diego Chargers were left with a choice. They could address their defensive needs and go with a layer like Star Lotulelei or Kenny Vaccaro, they could trade back and figure it out later or they could take a risk and reach for a player.
Well, Tom Telesco, you took the risk, and hopefully it pans out for San Diego.
The Chargers selected D.J. Fluker, who many had going in the late first round or even early second, with the 11th pick. Yes, the 11th pick. Not only did they reach for Fluker, but they don't even know what position he will play. Will he play right tackle to replace Jeromey Clary? Will they move him to guard?
We, as well as the Chargers organization, do not know.
Here is how some reacted on Twitter.
When the Chargers draft a left handed quarterback this will all make sense.
— Richard Wade (@RichardWade) April 26, 2013
D.J. Fluker, who may not even play right tackle, does not fill the biggest area of concern in San Diego: Philip Rivers' blindside.
#XTRADraft you need to come out of round 1 with an elite player. Chargers settled. Horrible
— MIke (@sdmike) April 26, 2013
This is my favorite tweet I saw. It's incredibly accurate. Instead of taking Star Lotulelei, Kenny Vaccaro or even Sharrif Floyd, they settled and took the fourth-rated tackle who will likely not even play that position.
#XTRADraft awful...simply awful...Clary revisited
— Scott McClain (@scott_mcclain) April 26, 2013
Fluker a reach to me at No. 11, and I'm a Bama fan. Big body, struggles with NFL calibar edge rushers. Move to RT or LG?
— Christopher Smith (@DENsportsdude) April 26, 2013
The Chargers reached for a guy that may not even have the greatest potential. It's shocking.
Here's the thing. D.J. Fluker may end up being a solid player. But what happened to Tom Telesco taking the "best available player"? Fluker is a great run-blocker, but he needs a lot of help in pass-blocking. One of his weaknesses is being unable to hold his blocks, meaning he protects quarterbacks that get rid of the ball quickly better.
Well, that isn't Philip Rivers.
As of now, King Dunlap will still be protecting Rivers' blindside. Johnnie Troutman and Chad Rinehart would be the two guards next to center Nick Hardwick. Scary, isn't it?
If the Chargers decide to play Fluker at right tackle and cut Jeromey Clary, they would have an additional $2.3 million in cap space to spend. Then they could, possibly, negotiate with Eric Winston. That would make this pick a little easier to handle.
If the Chargers stuck to taking the best available player, they would have Star Lotulelei on their team. Their defensive line would be Kendall Reyes, Star Lotulelei and Corey Liuget, with a combined three years of NFL experience. They would have one of the most dynamic, powerful and young defensive fronts.
Even if they took Kenny Vaccaro, they would have an elite safety duo in Eric Weddle and the new New Orleans Saint.
Let's just hope this pick isn't a "fluke" a few years from now.