It’s no secret that one of the major problems with our defensive line in 2013 was a lack of quality play at the nose tackle position. Cam Thomas was given the chance to step in, and prove that he could be the starter, after Aubrayo Franklin left to head up the Colts defensive line. While it was understandable that Telesco gave him that opportunity, Cam Thomas fell short. He even lost the starting job to Sean Lissemore by the end of the season. He did seem to bounce back, and raise his game after that, but it’s not looking good that he will be the starter this upcoming season. He may have been the permanent back up, had Lissemore not struggled with an injury down the stretch. On top of everything, does Telesco have the “nose for the nose”? His 2013 draft picks were fantastic, especially on offense. But, some people are nervous about whether he can do the same thing on defense. Let’s take a look at our options, and you can make your own decisions about what he should do.
We are approaching free agency in less than a month, and there are some high profile names, and also some guys that the Chargers could take a shot on, for a reasonable price. The marquee names would be Paul Soliai, and BJ Raji. Paul Soliai would definitely be an upgrade, put up some decent stats in 2013, and still has some tread left on the tires. However, he will not come cheap, and the Chargers would have to make some roster cuts to sign him. BJ Raji was moved all over Green Bay’s defensive line in 2013, but with little success. He struggled to generate the pressure he used to, and left everyone wondering if he can still be as effective as he used to. He is younger than Soliai, but will also be looking for a big contract. He has already turned down a pretty good offer from Green Bay. Aubrayo Franklin is another option, but he is 34, was already let go by the Chargers, and on his way out of the NFL. I wouldn’t mind seeing Franklin back, but it is uncertain whether Telesco would bring him back at this point… even for cheap.
There are a couple of younger guys in free agency, who might be good options, and could contribute to the team for years to come. The first one is 25 year old Linval Joseph, who has been nothing but consistent for the Giants for the last three seasons. He will definitely come with hefty price tag, due to his youth, and his solid play in New York. Another young option is Terrence Cody, who is also only 25. He is a mammoth man, but couldn’t land the job in Baltimore, despite coming out of the Alabama program. He has struggled a little bit with injuries, but the reviews are mixed on him. Some say he lacks starting talent, and should have locked down the starting role by now. Other reports out of Baltimore say that his best years are ahead of him, and he will be a steal for whoever signs him. Out of the previously mentioned players, he would fit the Chargers budget best. But, there is risk that comes with the Alabama product.
So, if none of these players is Telesco’s cup of tea, then we will be hoping that a nose tackle falls to us in the draft. There are a lot of conflicted opinions about this year’s crop of top nose tackles. People’s top choices are Louis Nix, Ra’Shede Hageman, Deandre Coleman, and Daniel McCullers. Another option would be to stick with Cam Thomas as the starter, Lissemore as the back-up, and hope that Kwame Geathers or Byron Jerideau can make a cosmic leap by the time the regular season starts. Maybe pick up a cheaper option in free agency. This wouldn’t actually surprise me in the least, as Telesco did this last season with the left tackle position. People were grumbling about Dunlap being relied upon to be the starter. Commenters all turned to the disgruntled Eagles fan-base for their information, and pointed at his less-than-stellar play in that system. As it turned out, he ended up being a steal, and held down Philip’s blind-side spectacularly in 2013. He did miss some games, but he was sorely missed by the fans in those games. This year, I am going to make a conscious effort not to write off any of Telesco’s signings, until they hit the grid-iron.
Well, there is a lot to think about at the nose guard position, and I can’t wait to see what Telesco will do. We are approaching free agency quickly, so we may get our answer soon. Or, we may be closely watching the draft, to see what moves he will make. What do you think the Chargers should do to address the nose tackle position this season? Please let us know in the comments section below. I will include a poll at the bottom, just for fun, so we can see what the majority of our readers think, whether they comment, or not. Overall, this position is very likely to be upgraded, no matter what happens!
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