In Defense Of DJ Fluker
By Russell Grant
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
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!