We used to have this young battering ram of a man by the name of Kris Dielman, perhaps you’ve heard of him? Kris, a popular kid who played defensive tackle in college, went undrafted and when called upon by the Chargers, packed his bags and drove his white pickup truck from Indiana to California. It was Marty Schottenheimer who handed him an O-line’s playbook and the rest is history! Four Pro-Bowls and two All-Pro selections later he would be considered the “enforcer” and feared upon by opposing NFL lockers. The even more respectable thing about Dielman was that he was a family man. After suffering a concussion in the 2011 season, Dielman retired to avoid any further head injuries and risking time away from his wife and children. Dielman did the right thing and the Chargers never recovered from this loss. We have two guard positions to fill. There will be plenty of decent guards we can get our hands on near the 3rd round of the NFL draft. That takes care of one guard spot, now for the other. Free agent Andy Levitre of the Buffalo Bills will be out of our price range but there are other experienced guards on the market we might be on the lookout for. Here are the hopefuls:
1) Louis Vasquez (San Diego Chargers) – Consistency is never a bad thing. When Vasquez did struggle it was due to the line being in constant disarray, but he is still considered a top notch guard. Just as all the news flashes have been hinting, San Diego wanting to retain Vasquez is the clear truth. Vasquez is quite possibly the strongest physically of all guards on the market and can contribute, just as he always has in San Diego.
2) Phil Loadholt (Minnesota Vikings) – Loadholt was drafted at the same time as Vasquez and plays at about the same level. A positive about Loadholt is that he’s an ironman and has never missed a game due to injury. A negative is that he has trouble with protecting the passer which has been our motto for fixing the line.
3) Brandon Moore (New York Jets) – I know what you’re thinking: he’s aged and his play is diminishing. Moore was never really a phenomenal guard but he does the job and can be an upgrade from what we currently have on the line. Experience is in his corner with 144 starts and an eight year streak without a break.
It would be a dream come true to find another undrafted guard such as Kris Dielman. The possibility will not be scratched off my list anytime soon, but in the meantime we need to fortify the two starting guard positions first through the draft and free agency. What are your thoughts, who would you like to see protecting Rivers on the line?