San Diego Chargers, D.J. Fluker, Right Tackle (Round One)
By James Fedewa
October 13, 2012; Columbia, MO, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman Cyrus Kouandjio (71) and offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) and offensive linesman Chance Warmack (65) talk during the first half at Faurot Field. Alabama won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports
The San Diego Chargers select right-tackle, Alabama: D.J. Fluker. It’s not a finesse pick, nor a pretty pick, but a very powerful and thick pick. Fluker is one mean-moose and a scary street-fighter (type). General Manager, Tom Telesco did not have the opportunity to draft the one top three left offensive tackles, or top two offensive guards (as they were already gone), but they did get the top right tackle prospect, with the ability to play three total positions (LG, RG, RT).
Fluker is one of the most intimidating offensive linemen in this draft and his physical traits, tangibles and tools have him upgrading the Chargers offensive line immediately. Six foot, 5 inches tall, 340 pound, with longest arm length in the draft at 36 3/4″ (2 ½” longer than Luke Joeckel & 2 ¼ “ longer than Fisher), he is a beast. Within this game (of fractions of a second), 2″ could mean the instant security for any quarterback. Massive tackles like Fluker do not usually come with the effort and explosiveness that is natural for him. Fluker is an energy player, which is rare for guys his size and he does not take plays off. Every play his total effort. Constantly moving, diving, digging, scratching, clawing and clamping is his specialty. And with adapting within the Chargers new hybrid-power/zone blocking-scheme, the Chargers are very excited about the selection.
Fluker has been a starting power blocker for the University of Alabama for the last 3 years, road-grading easy-streets for the likes of running backs Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddy Lacey. Designed to destroy, Fluker will be a quarterbacks front side protector and running backs best friend (as Ryan Matthews is probably the most excited about the addition).
Some scouts can project Fluker as a left tackle project based on measurable alone, or he can become an all-pro right tackle, either way, he is an upgrade for the Chargers offensive line and we will leave it to the Chargers coaching staff to figure out his best position. With the way the dice rolled in this draft, it was an exemplary and “no-brainer” selecting D.J. Fluker for Tom Telesco. Grade: B+ (based on team need)
DAY TWO PREDICTIONS (rounds 2 and 3):
Second Round:Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue or Sam Montgomery, OLB/DE, LSU
Third Round: Brandon William, NT Missouri Southern State or Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff or Brian Schwenke, C/OG, Cal
(*More and more quality NFL draft prospects are falling in this draft. If additional first round graded draftees continue to fall, expect Telesco to snatch up the best player available vs. team need)
NOTE: With the addition of DJ Fluker, San Diego could cut current right tackle starter Jeremy Clary and save approximately $2.3 million in salary cap savings (and potentially find a new veteran left tackle with that money).