USA TODAY Sports
Jake Matthews (75) could help San Diego's offensive line.
The San Diego Chargers need to upgrade the offensive line. There really is no debate about that.
The run game got a nice boost with the addition of former Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker in April’s draft. Fluker has provided a nice push and a touch of nastiness in the run game through the preseason so far. He still needs to work on pass protection, but he has not been a total flop.
King Dunlap and Max Starks are battling for the starting left tackle spot. Eagles’ fans are surprised to hear former Philly punchline Dunlap is winning the competition. Starks has not looked good in the preseason, plain and simple.
There are a handful of left tackles the Chargers could be interested in next offseason, but one of the top coming out of college is Jake Matthews from Texas A&M. There was some debate how high he would have been selected if Matthews entered the draft last year. Matthews will switch to left tackle this year after manning the right side his first three years with the Aggies.
The Chargers may need to be in the Top 5 to have a chance at selecting Matthews, though.
One of the first tests to see if Matthews can handle the blindside will be against Alabama on Sept. 14. The Crimson Tide will be looking to avenge a shocking 29-24 loss against Texas A&M last year that ruined Alabama’s quest for an undefeated season.
Ed Stinson is Alabama’s lone returning defensive lineman after three of his linemates pursued professional careers (Jesse Williams, Damion Square and Quinton Dial are all on NFL preseason rosters). Stinson led all defensive linemen with 8.5 tackles for loss last year. The 6’4” and 292-pound Stinson is a great run defender, but also has four sacks and seven quarterback hurries while at Alabama.
The preseason has shown San Diego is in need of depth along the defensive line, and Stinson could be a mid- to late-round selection.
The battle between Matthews and Stinson could be a preview of two future Chargers come next offseason.