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Chargers Draft Primer: Offensive Tackles

Discussion in 'NFL Draft' started by Thumper, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Thumper
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    Chargers Draft Primer: Offensive Tackles

    By Michael Lombardo
    SDBoltReport.com

    If A.J. Smith chooses to hold on to his first-round pick, the Chargers are expected to grab a player at one of three positions: offensive tackle, cornerback and running back. Team expert Michael Lombardo breaks down each of these positions in a three-part series, examining each of the top prospects and detailing which of them makes the most sense for San Diego. Up first, offensive tackles.

    The Chargers will have plenty of talented tackles to choose from at the bottom of round one. The three top prospects who could be available are Jeff Otah (Pittsburgh), Gosder Cherilus (Boston College) and Anthony Collins (Kansas). Otah is projected to go in the middle of round one, but it is conceivable he could fall into the Chargers’ laps at the bottom of the round.

    It would be considered a coup if the Bolts could land Otah (6’6”, 322 pounds). Otah only started playing football as a senior in high school and spent two seasons playing JUCO ball before transferring to Pittsburgh, so he has plenty of room to improve. It’s not that he needs much improvement; he started every game at left tackle each of the last two seasons, earning first-team All-Big East Conference honors along the way.

    If Otah is off the board, San Diego’s top target could be Cherilus. It was during an appearance on the NFL Network last month that I first identified Cherilus as a top candidate for San Diego’s first-round pick, and I stand by that assessment weeks later. Cherilus projects as a right tackle on the next level, so he could move into the starting lineup and allow Jeromey Clary to return to his more natural swing position.

    If the draft board fails to fall in their favor, the Bolts could make a play for Collins. Although Collins was projected as a second-round selection in Chris Steuber’s latest second-round mock draft, he has the talent to justify a selection at the bottom of round one.

    Collins (6’5”, 317 pounds) entered the draft as a junior following a 12-1 season in which he was named first-team All-American. As a former defensive lineman, Collins has the aggressive demeanor the Chargers look for in their offensive linemen.

    There are several options the Chargers could consider if they decide to address their offensive line needs later in the draft. Already this offseason, the Bolts have enjoyed one-on-one meetings with Carl Nicks (Nebraska), Mike McGlynn (Pittsburgh) and King Dunlap (Auburn).

    If the Bolts decide to fill their offensive line needs through the undrafted free agent market, David Hale (Weber State), Jeremy Zuttah (Rutgers) and William Robinson (SDSU) are considered the team’s top targets. The Chargers brought in Hale and Zuttah for private workouts and met with Robinson at the NFL Combine.

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