Well, the NFL draft 2013 is in the books. The Chargers upgraded the right tackle position by selecting D.J. Fluker from Alabama in the first round of the draft; with their second round pick they grabbed Notre Dame´s star linebacker Manti Te´o. With the next two picks they brought in wide receiver Kennan Allen and defensive back Steve Williams. Furthermore, they added depth at outside linebacker (Tourek Williams) and quarterback (Brad Sorenson). But they did not address the position the Chargers are in biggest need of an upgrade: the left tackle spot.
The top three offensive tackle prospects already were off the board after the Philadelphia Eagles snagged away Lane Johnson at No. 4. And with only six draft picks and countless holes in the roster, General Manager Tom Telesco wasn´t able to bring in a guy for the left side of the offensive line. So the question now is, how can we make sure, Philip Rivers´ blind side will be better protected than it was last year?
That´s when the name Bryant McKinnie comes in.
McKinnie, 33 (turns 34 in September), gets linked to the Chargers since weeks and yesterday he had a meeting with the new Chargers´ brass here in San Diego. The former seventh overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft is a member of this year´s Super Bowl winning squad from the Baltimore Ravens. He backed up starting left tackle Michael Oher in all 16 regular games last year, but was inserted into the starting lineup for the postseason after the line struggled down the stretch. He had a stellar postseason and protected Joe Flacco´s blind side very well in all four playoff games.
But I guess it´s fair to question if Bryant McKinnie is the right fit for San Diego.
Being a starter for most of his career, McKinnie got benched in 2012 after showing up to training camp out of shape due to some excess weight. He had some injury issues over the last years and his teammates already began to question his motivation. Ugh! This sounds awfully familiar, doesn´t it? We just got rid of Big Lazy Jared Gaither weeks ago, and now we´re trying to replace him with a guy who obviously has a hard time to stay disciplined and in shape?
Alright, maybe I´m overdoing this. The 33-year old veteran surely isn´t committed to the same level of slothfulness as the former Chargers´ bench warmer who wore the #78 jersey. But players don´t start questioning a teammates´ motivation for no reason. In his two seasons in Baltimore he has been trapped in Harbaugh’s doghouse a couple of times for a poor work ethic and an inability to keep his weight down. Unfortunately, he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 for the same reasons. But McKinnie made it clear that he wants to play at least another year, but only if he is guaranteed the opportunity to compete for a starting spot:
“I definitely want a starting job,” the 6´8” giant said. “I want it to be fair for somebody to beat me out of my position instead of saying you want to try something new. Give me the opportunity to actually be fair and let somebody beat me out for the position.”
Another issue is that he´s coming off a Championship season. So he already had problems finding his commitment to this ball game before he won the coveted trophy; now that he is a world champion, will it be easier for him to find his motivation? And I´m afraid money will be an issue too. He was a $4.2 million cap hit for the Ravens last year. With a Super Bowl ring on his finger, I´m not too sure he´ll come in cheap. But if he does, then he would be a nice solution for the left tackle spot on the offensive line for the 2013 season. We surely would have to try to fix that spot in 2014 by using a high draft pick on a great left tackle prospect.
So, I have my doubts about this big man. But if the price is right, then get him in! We´re pretty desperate for an upgrade at that position on the left side of the offensive line.
What are your thoughts Bolt Family?
Thank you for reading.