September 30, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) in the second half of the game at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Long-Term Solution at Left Tackle already on Roster?

Well, BoltFam, I know this is a delicate topic we´re discussing here and we´re all not too amused about the current situation at this specific position. So, making empty promises or predictions isn´t the most accurate thing to do by any writer or fan at this point. But although Tom Telesco did not upgrade the left tackle position in this year´s draft, it wouldn´t be fair to say he didn´t do anything to address this spot on the O-Line. So maybe there´s a germ of truth behind my headline.

Before I get to the main part of this piece right here, I want to point out that I think it´s a good decision by the Chargers to pursue the 31-year old free agent Max Starks. As we already know, he started all 16 games at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. He also won two championships with the team, one as starting left tackle and one as starting right tackle. What´s also nice to know, is that last year he wasn´t even a $900,000 cap hit for the Steelers; I guess this also means he wouldn´t come in too expensive for the Bolts. There are concerns, that he might not be the right guy for a zone blocking scheme – which new offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris may want to establish in San Diego – but the same can be said about the first round pick D.J. Fluker in my opinion (I know not everyone is with me on that).

The Steelers added former Jacksonville Jaguar Guy Whimper ealier this week for depth purpose. But as he lines up solely as right tackle, this doesn´t exactly help our case. After all, we have to wait and see whether Starks is for real or whether he´s just trying to hammer out a better deal for him with “The Black and Gold” (thank you by the way Bryant McKinnie for showing him that this actually works).


So, now let´s get to the story behind my headline. Max Starks surely would be an option for the short-term only (2013); he can´t be considered as “the” solution at that essential position on the offensive line. So, am I really stating here that we got that “long-term solution” guy already on the roster? Well, before your blood pressure gets too high and you´re trying to get me, let me tell you this: It may be a long shot, but at least I can see Nick Becton, offensive tackle out of Virginia Tech, climbing up the leader the next few years and earning that spot on the left side of the line. Sure, it depends on what Tom Telesco will do in the 2014 NFL draft; will he again spend a first round pick on an offensive tackle? If Ryan Mathews turns out as “not trustable” anymore, then I doubt we´ll gonna see a nasty big man holding up that No. 1 Chargers jersey on draft day again.

Well, whatever – I don´t know when and how it exactly happened, but I somehow got on that UDFA´s bandwagon.

In 2011, Becton was on the field for all 14 games, playing in more than 450 offensive snaps while rotating at left tackle with Andrew Lanier. Last year he was able to get the full-time left tackle job, starting all 13 games and playing in 867 offensive snaps and 59 more on special teams. The 6´5″ and 323 pounds beast has quick feet which allow him to pick up speedy pass-rushers. He also has good vision to see delayed blitzes by linebackers and is decent in the running game too, although he approaches his target too high at times.

Becton has great arm length, ideal for the position, and seems to be very athletic and mobile. These skills may appear to be excellent qualifications for being a huge factor in pass protection and for zone blocking schemes (listen up Joe!). Besides the above mentioned issue, he may have to get more active with his hands and also pure strength and domination at the line are concerns at this point. But the way I see it, these are all weaknesses which can easily be fixed with great coaching over the years. And If I remember correctly, we all think very highly about our new coaching staff…am I right?

So, I see great potential in this young lineman and let´s not forget we got some great history here in San Diego with undrafted free agents – to mention a few: Kris Dielman (4-time Pro-Bowler, 2-time All-Pro), Antonio Gates (8-time Pro-Bowler, 5-time All-Pro), Malcom Floyd, Mike Tolbert, now Danny Woodhead and of course also Danario Alexander (due to injuries to be fair). We also picked up Wes Welker in 2004, but coach Marty Schottenheimer made the “biggest mistake he has ever made” (his words) and cut him before the 2004 season started.

So, I guess we have to wait and see. Maybe I´m just a dreamer, but at least I´m trying to think positive (you gotta give me that…lol).

Thank you for checking out these lines.


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  • joerockt

    From what I’ve been reading about the guy, sounds like some had projected him to go in the 3rd. Mostly positive posts about him. Only knock would be that he didn’t get the starting nod his first 3 years at VT. Though it sounds like the guy deserves a shot if he gets a chance.

    • MC Boltman

      Wow – in the 3rd round? I heard something bout late fifth and early sixth. But yeah, we´ll see what he can do in 2 or 3 years.

  • Peter Thompson

    As time goes by, we will find out if Becton, or even Harris, can mature at the position. They will probably contribute as back-ups, if I had to bet on it. Harris seemed a little overwhelmed at LT, so maybe he can step in as back-up RT, depending on if Clary stays or goes. Becton could very well be a diamond in the rough.

    • Ernie Padaon

      we need to find those diamonds in order to make this season work. hopefully he is one of em

      • Stefanie Smith

        Exactly, Ernie.

      • Peter Thompson

        Especially with the cap space we have this year.. lol. They are out there, for sure.

      • tubbs45

        Hell I’ll take a couple of CZ’s to make the season go well!

    • MC Boltman

      Yeh, Harris gained some experience, but he probably should serve on the right side, it depends on the player personnel (and health) we´ve got at left tackle when the season starts.

  • Stefanie Smith

    MC, this was a good article. Actually, it helped to make me a little more hopeful that there could be an answer to this ongoing problem.

    • MC Boltman

      Thanx! Yeah, he really got potential – with great coaching, great things can happen IMO

      • Abraham Banuelos

        If Joe D can convert Branden Albert into a left tackle and have a 7th rounder like Demetress Bell a starting left tackle. I think it could be done

  • Peter Thompson

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if Joe-D coached them all up BIG TIME, and we suddenly had 3 or 4 left tackles capable of starting on the squad?!!! He gets Dunlap’s run blocking up to speed… takes the willingness & experience that Harris got last year, and turns him into a monster… and Becton ends up being the next Marcus McNeil?!!!! Also, we end up signing Starks, and he winds up having to fight really hard for a starting spot! We would suddenly have whoever Philip liked the most on the left!
    One can dream, right? Hahahaha!

    • blackroseMD1

      Marcus McNeill without the bad back? That would definitely be a dream come true. Hahaha

      • Peter Thompson

        True.. True…

  • Gunnar Martin

    Becton really makes me excited long term-wise. His faults are pretty much all things coaches can fix or will just come with time. It’s amazing how skilled he is for weighing 323 pounds. Ultimately, I think that he will end up being an awesome backup for just about every position on the O-line besides center.

  • Cgoodness13

    Doesn’t he have a weak bench though? Think I read that somewhere.

    • Ernie Padaon

      time to put in work!

  • thegorn

    Becton may be the guy. The guy has raw ability. Now, if those can be converted to skills and nastiness, then we’ll have our man. Let’s not get carried away, however, because this guy after all is a UDFA.

    In the meantime, we’re going to have to be a running, play action team to give Rivers the time he’ll need to pass. Also, it’s time to limit those 7 step drops from the Norv era.

  • tubbs45

    MCBoltman I do hope Becton is that tower we’ve been missing at LT. Starks will add competition and experience to the line. JoeD is going to make this thing functional this year. TT can build on it with each year to come.

  • Joan Manuel Martinez

    I really like this type of articles where you show your total homerism and your unfounded optimism :)

    In the words of the Governator ” Go Chargers Go”