The one thing that really held the Chargers back last season was the offensive line. With King Dunlap, Chad Rinehart, five different centers, Johnny Troutman, and D.J. Fluker all a part of the offensive front, Philip Rivers was sacked 37 times and hit 75 times. The running game wasn’t much better, as the Chargers ranked 30th in rushing yards in 2014. Their number one priority this offseason? Solidify the line. Well, Tom Telesco has started to do just that.
New Additions: Orlando Franklin, OG/OT from the Denver Broncos. At 6’7″, 320 pounds, he is an absolute monster. Place him next to Fluker, or Dunlap, and you have one side of the line fixed. He was ranked 2nd highest of all guards in 2014 with a 98.6 pass blocking efficiency. He may not play tackle anymore, but he is an instant upgrade over both guards the Bolts had last season.
Re-signing of King Dunlap: The Bolts have re-signed Dunlap, who, in my opinion, was as important to the team as Brandon Flowers. He signed a 4-year, $28 million contract a few weeks ago. Dunlap, 29, had one of the best seasons of his careers. The King solidifies the left tackle spot and makes Rivers’ blind side well protected.
Who the Chargers should target in the draft: There is still one big hole on the line, and that is who is playing right tackle/right guard? Will D.J. Fluker get one more year to prove he can play the position of right tackle? Or will they shift him inside to right guard? The Chargers should stick with Franklin as their left guard, and keep Fluker as their right tackle.
So, the question arrises as to who should be targeted in the upcoming NFL Draft. Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson of Duke is a great option. He has quick feet, rolls his hips well and is a bulldozer in the run game. In Mike McCoy’s offensive system, running is a huge part of the gameplan. Adding Tomlinson potentially gives the team of the best run blocking lines in the league. One of his weaknesses is his consistency. He tends to be lethargic at times, but that can could be adjusted in the NFL. He is projected to go in the second round, and he could fall into San Diego’s hands. That leaves you with a first-round pick, which could possibly be used on a running back.
With these additions to the team, it gives you the perspective of the offensive line in 2015: King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Chris Watt, Laken Tomlinson, and D.J. Fluker. That is a very good offensive line.
How do you guys think the line will do? Who would you like to see drafted/signed? Let me know in the comments.