Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick snaps the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Bengals 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line Outlook for 2014


During the 2013 season, the Chargers’ offensive line had some really bright spots: the Thursday night win in Denver, the win against the Colts on Monday Night Football. They also some struggles: the playoff game in Denver and the loss to the Redskins after failing to score on the 1. The lack of offense in the AFC Divisional game against the Broncos wasn’t all because Ryan Mathews was injured. The offensive line didn’t help either. But on the brighter side, the o-line showed that when healthy, and in-sync, they can bull over anyone and open lanes for the run game. With the recent acquisition of Donald Brown and the big year Mathews had, the offensive line will play a vital role in how the Chargers fare as a team. If we learned anything in 2013, it is that no matter how well Philip Rivers plays, without a decent running attack, the Chargers will continue to finish in the middle of the pack in the final standings. We learned that while watching Mathews run rampant in most of San Diego’s wins and him either being hurt or shut down in their losses.

During this offseason, the Chargers have done well in fortifying the offensive front, retaining center Nick Hardwick and re-signing guard Chad Rinehart. It still remains to be seen if Rich Ohrnberger will return or sign elsewhere. He performed wonderfully in the brief absence of Hardwick. Tackles D.J. Fluker and King Dunlap impressed and will build off their solid first years in San Diego. The interior seems to be the biggest concern on the line. Rinehart is probably the best guard on the roster at this point. The Chargers may want to think about drafting or signing an interior lineman, not only on the defensive side, but also on the offensive line as well. Someone who can play either guard spot and solidify the inside. Jeromey Clary has been good for a number of years, but recent injuries have slowed him down.

During the UCLA Pro Day, Chargers coaches were on hand to watch guard Xavier Su’a Filo. He may be taken in the draft before the Chargers are willing to select him but someone of his caliber would immediately solidify the middle of the line. Maybe two-time All-American David Yankey out of Stanford or Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson would be more likely.

The Chargers do have a good offensive line. With the exception of Hardwick and Clary, they are just young and still developing. Fluker could be a Pro Bowler soon. If the offensive line can build on the good year they had in 2013, and possibly sign an extra body or two, this Chargers team will be much better offensively.

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  • Julien Bélair

    Draft Sua filo in the first

    • navw21

      I’ve been playing around with a mock draft that would be a depth builder.
      1. CB Kyle Fuller #1 Corner
      2. WR Jordan Matthews #2 WR
      3. NT Ego Ferguson depth behind Lissemore
      4. WR Josh Huff #4 WR plus KR/PR
      5. DE Deandre Coleman rotational depth
      6. C Bryan Stork maybe Nick Hardwick eventual replacement
      7. G/T Dakota Dozier Interior OL depth

      • Sergio Quintero

        Nice value on Mathews in the 2nd round, and it may happen.

        • esco charger

          What if Anthony Barr slipped to 25 ??? And Dee Ford was on the board as well as dennard who would be your pick I think Barr would be my choice but im not happy with the lissemore position at NT he is not a run stuffer but here we go again with cam Thomas all over again we knew he was a back up but we where blind because he played well when he was in the game and we got burned last year so if we fail to address it again we will get burned again im not on the lissemore train

          • Gunnar Martin

            I think if that scenario happened, I would try to trade down a few spots and take the guy that was still left over. Although, if Barr falls that far it probably means there is a BIG issue with him…

          • esco charger

            Lol trade down with that type of talent on the board well im glad u just write your opinions and not in our front office and sometimes there isn’t a big issue with players in order for them to slide down what was wrong with super Melvin Ingram that he slipped ????? Wasn’t even supposed to be there when we picked I seen the combine and pro days there is nothing wrong with Barr people always tend to over analyze and get burned just look at Keenan Allen last year

          • Gunnar Martin

            My thinking process is like this: if you really like both Barr and Ford about the same and can’t decide between the two, then why not slide down a couple spots and let another team decide for you, while at the same time adding some valuable draft picks?

            I do like Barr and I think it’s crazy that some people have him sliding down that far, but if he does, there is probably a very good reason for it. Like if (theoretically speaking) a report came out that he was a druggy or something, I definitely wouldn’t want my team to draft him in the first round. I’m certainly not “over analyzing” anything.

          • esco charger

            But theoretically speaking is not reality Barr would be a nice addition but I dont think he slips dennard wont be there I think we can get equal talent.with our late 2nd CB that we would in.the second fuller might even be there with our second and what if van noy is there ????

          • esco charger

            Sorry buddy I ment with our first lol I put second twice

          • Gunnar Martin

            I will be shocked if Van Noy is still there with our second round pick. I would be fine with us taking him in the first if there’s not any other great value picks there. I’m really high on him.

          • esco charger

            I like van noy as well but not with our first if that is the case then thats when we trade down get a few picks and still get the guy we want

          • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

            i think i am going to write about the possibility of Barr…. that would be crazy

          • esco charger

            Wouldn’t be a bad idea Ernie u have to prepare the team for every possibility I seen different mock drafts I live and breath football im a trainer so I wake up every day and read about football and prospects I seen a couple scenarios where Barr dropped to us just like Ingram and Allen did.thanks for the great work as well keep up the good work u have a great team

          • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

            thanks brotha… i definitely appreciate that

          • esco charger

            Your welcome I love to debate I think I should have been a lawyer lol

          • Sergio Quintero

            I’m seeing Mocks with Barr going 16-22, its a small drop from there, for me he’s there at 25, you write down his name and you take him and you don’t look back.

          • Diegoblue

            I can’t see Barr falling to the 25 spot

          • Sergio Quintero

            I would take Barr and not look back, trust your board, if they played it gun shy last year they would have not taken Keenan Allen, he’s the BPA, draft him don’t look back.

            In terms of Lissemore, they seem to have more belief in him than we expected, I think its very likely if Fuller/Verrett are there at 25 they will take one of them and pass on Nix.

      • Julien Bélair

        Not bad but we need a olb somewhere though! But it would be a very good draft anyway.

  • Sergio Quintero

    I see a guard (or center or tackle that can play guard) drafted somewhere between round 3-5. None in the first 2 rounds because NT & corner look like much bigger needs at this point.

    • Julien Bélair

      It depends on value. Sua filo would be very though to pass for the bolts

      • Sergio Quintero

        Both of the chargers beat writers at the UT who seem to be pretty well connected have basically guaranteed that the chargers first pick is on defense, with corner being the most likely.

        • Julien Bélair

          ya I don’t buy anything writers are saying right now… you know why? because if a player that they didn’t think will be there is there they will take him…example: Lee.

          But of course a defensive player is the more likely. Who is the 1 million dollars question. I just want to know their top 5 cbs

  • Sergio Quintero

    From the most recent chats that Acee & Gehlken have had, they answered:
    1) First pick is very very likely going on defense
    2) They have at least one corner or more they would pick ahead of Nix
    3) A pass rusher might make them change their plans if a surprise player drops but unlikely
    4) WR should be taken from round 2-4.
    5) Corner is the most likely position they are going in the first round.
    6) They should take an Olineman from 3 round on, for depth purposes.
    7) They are very likely taking a pass rusher in this draft, since Freeney, Johnson, Keiser & English very likely will not be on this team in 2015.

    • Gunnar Martin

      These are pretty much just their personal opinions. I would take those with a grain of salt.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Basically Gehlken doesn’t have an opinion, these are things they tell him, you ask something on who they should pick and how the chargers will do, and his standard answer is “I report news, I don’t give opinions”.

        Acee is more willing to give you his opinion thus the Ford point at the end, April’s is liar’s month, but all of their answers seems right in line with Mr. center of box thinker that is Telesco.

        • Gunnar Martin

          I still don’t buy all of it. Not saying he’s a liar or whatever, I just don’t go by his words like the Bible.

    • Conor Cahill

      8) darn. Still on board with buchanan

      • Sergio Quintero

        From Gehlken:

        Comment From James
        I’m surprised there has not been more speculation about drafting a safety in the first round. As 3 safety nickel sets are becoming more prevalent in the NFL (we used Gilchrist/Weddle/Addae) and Telesco wanting to add “run around and hit guys” could you see pryor or clinton-dix in round 1, moving gilchrist to the slot?

        Michael Gehlken:
        No. I’d consider it highly unlikely the Chargers draft a safety in the first round.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Su’a-Filo! I still think he’ll be the pick when it’s all said and done. It just FEELS right to me.

  • kris

    Anyone else want to draft d’anthony thomas? I sure do!

    • Conor Cahill

      maybe, he could replace danny if he leaves after this year, but he wouldnt get any playing time this year

      • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

        in the return game.

        • Conor Cahill

          good point. 5th or lower IMo

          • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

            i agree… would rather have dri archer though for that sole purpose

      • Diegoblue

        A guy as explosive as he his .. He most definitely would see playing time

        • Conor Cahill

          thought the same about lamichael james

          • Diegoblue

            49ers were loaded at the RB position

  • Brett M

    I like Yankey more and more, heard he was an all american at guard AND tackle. We like those versatile lineman

  • Diegoblue

    The lack of offense came from one person .. Wisenhunt.. Too scared to open up the playbook in the 1st half ..

  • arnie

    Great article Nick. I’m looking for TT to have an eye on the future and kill two birds with one stone. While I know Clary is not liked, he did play better at RG than RT. By no means is he the greatest guard in the league, he was versatile throughout the season. But Nick Hardwick is not a lock to return for the 2015 season, so find a Center than can play Guard, or vice versa, is the best of both worlds. A player that can be mentored by Hardwick, and back-up/replace Clary would be the direction I see the Chargers taking, early in the draft.

  • MachoMenos

    To say Clary “was good for a number of years” is like saying Bush was a good President. What games were you watching. Great article, btw.

  • OP Bolt

    Nick – I think the interior OL line situation (OG and OC) is a lot worse than the biggest concern. In 2014, the Chargers currently only have 5 guys for 3 positions (Rinehart, Troutman, Hardwick, McDonald, and Clary). Of these McDonald, the backup OC, has only been a Practice Squad guy since 2010. Currently, Clary is the only listed RG (no backup). Looking at 2015, Clary and Hardwick are free agents (and/or possible retirement). One twisted ankle and Coach D’ will have to suit up.

    Looking at the rest of the line in 2015, Dunlap, Willie Smith, Mike Harris and Kenny Wiggins are also FAs.

    Now, I don’t believe the Chargers HAVE to take an OL in the first round, but they must repopulate somewhere in the draft and the next round of free agency, especially OG/OC. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3-4 OL drafted, plus a couple of UDFAs.