3 Year Before You Know For Sure
It will take at least three years to legitimately evaluate the results of the 2013 NFL Draft as it applies to the San Diego Chargers and to the league’s other 31 franchises. That will allow the players a sizable opportunity to perform for their collective teams, and provide a substantial amount of results with which to accurately determine how effective each draft day decision actually was. However, fans and observers alike avoid waiting for that period of time to elapse, and choose to immediately render opinions as the selections unfold. Simply because we enjoy the process of assigning and reviewing draft grades.
For that reason, here is the report card for the Chargers, with full knowledge that a more accurate assessment can be delivered once a few seasons have transpired. But for now, here is an appraisal regarding how effectively G.M. Tom Telesco addressed the team’s most glaring deficiencies, how successful he was at accumulating depth, and how proficiently the new additions are expected to perform.
And With The 11th Pick...
It was essential to upgrade an offensive line that yielded a mammoth 49 sacks last season, and contributed significantly to Philip Rivers’ unsteady comfort level and subsequent turnovers. Since tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson had been among the initial four players selected, and guards Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack had joined them within the top 10, D. J. Fluker was the best remaining lineman on the board when Telesco made his first selection. The choice of Fluker addresses the need to improve along the line, and it supplies the Chargers with a powerful run blocker. However his strengths do not necessarily correspond to what is needed to succeed at left tackle, which will result in Fluker becoming the starter on the right side instead. His presence will help, but the issue at left tackle persists nonetheless.
Moving Beyond Round 1
Telesco then executed several maneuvers in order to move up seven spots, and used that newly acquired slot to grab Manti Te’o in the second round. The widely discussed linebacker will have an opportunity to start on the inside, and the degree to which he adeptly and swiftly makes plays will determine how often he performs, and whether it was wise to secure his services. Third round pick Keenan Allen has size, is a capable route runner, and is competitive enough to become a difference maker at wide receiver once he fully regains his health. And at a minimum, he should become a regular component in the offense. Fifth round selection Steve Williams has a reasonable chance to see snaps at cornerback, as does sixth round pick Tourek Williams at outside linebacker.
The Final Verdict
The team still has weaknesses, starting with the massive one that exists at left tackle. But Telesco did attend to the line by drafting Fluker. And if the top three selections make ample contributions as expected this season, this should be considered as a successful draft.
Draft Grade B
Rd Pick Player Position School
1 (11) D.J. Fluker OT Alabama
2 (38) Manti Te'o LB Notre Dame
3 (76) Keenan Allen WR California
5 (145) Steve Williams DB California
6 (179) Tourek Williams LB Florida International
7 (221) Brad Sorenson QB Southern Utah