Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces D.J. Fluker (Alabama) as the number eleven overall pick to the San Diego Chargers during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

In Defense Of DJ Fluker

I wanted someone else at 11. If you’ve ready my comments over the last weeks, my constant position was “If the top 5 tackles are not on the board, trade down”. And I was thinking when Warmack went to the Titans, that this would be the plan. Then we went to the podium fast and I thought, “We have a partner. Life is good.” So when I heard that we picked up D.J. Fluker, my first reaction can not be printed on this blog and I’m glad my daughters were not in the car then. We needed a left tackle; you know the one that blocks on the blind side. So not trading back and choosing Fluker didn’t make sense.

Then I started listening to the analysis on Fluker. Mark Schlereth on ESPN called him a “Road Grater. He’s the kind of guy who is going to pound you on the head and make your neck shorter”. NFL analysis at the combine said this about out #11 pick. “Though not as dominant or purely athletic as the Tide’s last mammoth pro tackle prospect, Andre Smith, Fluker has the girth, length, and respectable movement skills to become a top-notch starting right tackle. His struggles were apparent against Western Kentucky, but when Fluker can get his hands on the pass rusher in a balanced position, his opposition has no chance of winning the individual battle.” Another quote from NFL.com “The Chargers didn’t have a starting left tackle on that roster before they drafted Fluker. He reminds me of Phil Loadholt. He’s 6.5” on a good day 340. He also has the longest arms in the draft. He doesn’t has very average feet but with his length you don’t need great feet.”

The best thig about Fluker being a road grater, will be the fact that he will be a run blocker so this will help out Matthews, Woodhead and the running game. As much as this is a passing league, you still need to be able to RUN THE ROCK. When we need to get 3 yards to kill the clock in the 4th quarter, Fluker can push the line and help the backs move the chains.

Now we still need a left tackle. But he’s not the only chance we have of getting a quality tackle. Every tackle drafted in the top four rounds started. So maybe a trainable left tackle falls to us in rounds 2-7. We raved about getting Delissandris as our O-line coach. Are you thinking that this guy we were all high on a couple months ago can’t train up a rookie lineman to watch Rivers’ blind side? OK, we didn’t get the top three tackles available. All the rest don’t have the polish these guys had but I believe we will find one that will do the job.

Also there are quality free agents out there that we can bring in like the Steelers Max Starks. We can rent a motivated veteran (Sorry Big Lazy. OK Not so sorry. Just go away) for a year that will make us comfortable. And with the exit of El Matador we will have another 2,400,000 to toss at his replacement.

So don’t drink yourself into oblivion over D.J. Fluker and give the man a chance. The guy came from a powerful college program and he should be ready to walk in and hold down the right side of the line, something Clary couldn’t do at all. With our off-season, picking up a Fozzy, a Dallas and the other Gronk, you have to figure that TT has a different way of doing things. Let’s see how it plays out and if it goes exceptionally bad, we meet at Charger Park with torches and pitchforks to drive him out.And remember, this was just round one. Six more rounds to go, Charger fans!

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Tags: Nfl Draft 2013 San Diego Chargers

  • Bad Leroy Brown

    Youth, Size, and Nastiness on the Right side for years to come

    • Julien Bélair


  • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

    welcome Russell!!!

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    I actually like the pick, he helps Matthews right away and protects PR a hell of alot better then Clary ever did. 1 Starting tackle with serious promise taken, on to the next.
    I wonder if TT has a certain guy they see being the LT. who is more promising Watson – Armstead – Mills? Maybe he knows something we dont, what I do know is anyone in the 2nd or 3rd round is light years…..light years better then Mike Harris.

    • RussinSactown

      If we can grab Armstead on the other side. Now there are some bookends right there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

      That he does.. saw some film on this guy–opening up lanes. Will be a big help for Matthews. I like the guy. Sure, would have liked the top three, but it didn’t happen. He’s got attitude and shows a whole lot of promise.

  • Ioane

    I’m sorry, I’m still upset with this pick. When you have a guy like Star sitting there at 11 you take him. If not, you move down a grab more picks. Cam Thomas is the only player we have at NT. Star would of been able to play all three positions on DL.

    I also understand the need that we have on our OL, but this draft is still deep in offensive linemen.

    Taking Fluker should also tell us we are not running a ZBS since he is not athletic enough to do it.

    However, he’s our pick and we have no choice but to support it even if I’m still upset by the pick.

    • RussinSactown

      OK, be upset at the pick but understand it’s one pick out of seven and after watching Rivers play “chuck and duck” because no one was getting blocked, they had to do something.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

        Exactly. I am glad Rivers is getting some help here.

    • Julien Bélair

      in fact he pays zbs and power at alabama. plus star was not taken by raiders and jets after us. that says something

    • JoseSD

      Star is not a nose tackle, they needed a starter at tackle and that’s what they got. And Alabama does play zone a lot

      • Gunnar Martin

        Actually, Star is a nose tackle. Get your facts right.
        However, you did get the zone blocking with Alabama thing right, so I guess that cancels things out. I forgive you.

  • lennysmalls

    Big NASTYYYY!!!

  • 619chargers4life

    any upgrade to the OL is better then what we had a year ago. this is a solid pick. and now im rooting for the Tackle i thought we were going to get with a trade down scenario anyway. come on home Armstead !

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Russell. That actually does make me feel a lot better about this pick!

  • chargersfanfromswitzerland

    at least we have a future pro bowl tackle, now TT somehow give us one on the other side!!

    welcome to the chargers D.J Fluker

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Great article, Russell! Running game just got better… which was a HUGE disappointment last year.

  • arnie

    There is nothing to defend Russell. The O-line needed to be improved, an DJ provides that. With him at RT, the protection can be shifted to the Blind side. What do you think the FA TE, RB an FB Telesco signed have in common? They can all pass protect. Dunlap is an upgrade from Harris( who is a better RT) and way more dependable than Big Lazy. So i’m not concerned.
    Also, like you said, they still have 6 more picks, and Rookie FA pool to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

    Good job, Russell!

  • tbell11

    I was skeptical at first, but then I saw an interview of him and a sports science video on him. You’ll realize that Fluker will be a pro bowler multiple times.