What do I mean by O-Line heavy draft? I mean like drafting linemen in rounds 1 - 3. Let me explain myself because I know the idea may seem a little bit wacky. First off let me say that I know we have a lot of draft needs, but what I am thinking is that of these draft needs our offensive line is in the most dire situation and continues to have the most negative impact on the Chargers ability to win football games. Briefly I will give my limited outlook on our our offensive/defensive units, then I plan to summarize or justify why I would consider the offensive line draft strategy.
Defense (DBs): Not sure where we are defensively yet. We have played well as of late, even if not spectacular. The defensive backfield situation could be better and we do have some free agents that we need to decide on. Quentin Jammer - probably not a lot of market for the well-seasoned vet and may be willing to retire with the team that drafted him (which never happens). Antoine Cason - at the very least he is average, if not one of our better corners - I don't think we can lose both him and QJ without getting anything in return. That leaves Corey Lynch and Chris Carr. Corey could be kept probably and can add serviceable if not reliable depth. I don't see Carr staying, we only used him it seems to field kicks or punts due to injuries.
Defense (LBs): I think we have some youth on our defense at the LB spot that just is not being used very well -if at all. But let's start with Shaun Phillips because he is going to be a FA. I am no longer enamored with his play but I still think he is an above average OLB even though he is a little long-in-the-tooth. Losing him may hurt us more than re-signing him in one-way or another (financially, depth, talent). Then there is Takeo Spikes - the consummate pro. Love the dude but if Shaun Phillips is long-in-the-tooth, then this guy is just old! Which is not a problem when your physical talents still present themselves at times but I don't think he is going to be a reliable contributor outside the two guards, let alone outside the two tackles. It may be time to let him go or at the very most cut him, resign him at the league minimum, and keep him for depth and teaching the younger players. Demarrio Williams - still has the speed but is also a bit injury prone. Again try to resign at league minimum for depth. Jarret Johnson was who we thought he was - a solid football player, but not worth the contract. The rest of LBs: Donald Butler, Melvin Ingram, Antwan Barnes primarily give us something that we can build on and possibly build one of, if not the best LB corps in the NFL.
Defense (D-Line): Young and talented. They just need a scheme and playing time to cut-their-teeth on. Aubrayo Franklin is a FA at the end of the season and I think Garay is too. Everyone knows that the cornerstone of a 3-4 scheme is the NT - the better he fares the better your LBs fare - the better the DBs fare. If I could only keep one I would like to keep Franklin. But Kendall Reyes and Corey Liguiet are the real-deal-holyfield-shaquille-oneal I think. We just need depth at this position.
Offense (RBs): The whole lot of them need to be replaced. I was a Ryan Mathews apologist but frankly he just gets injured to ding-dang much.
Offense (WRs): Sigh. Alexandar is a FA and while he has been playing well we just don't know what his health is going to be an issue next year, he is a roll-of-the-dice. Floyd is a legitimate #2 WR but definitely not a 1. Vincent Brown returns next year (probably slowly at first) which I think his HUGE for us. The rest of the WR corp can be replaced based on this past years performance which wasn't even mediocre.
Offense (TEs): We are old and young here - no where in between. We have some young guys who have the tools to one day replace AG85 but it just doesn't seem like they are getting the coaching that they need. Or maybe its just that they aren't getting the opportunities? Dontaie Rosario is the only FA I think so as far as the rest of the roster is concerned our TE position is solid.
Offense (QBs): Remember that saying "It's cheaper to keep her"? Well there is no reason why we shouldn't be trying to rebuild PR17s offensive line and offensive weaponry. We do however need a real backup that can be developed over the course of the next couple years without qualifying for social security while he is on the active roster.
Offense (O-Line): Fellas here is the meat-n-potatoes. I believe we have 4 offensive linemen (3 guards and 1 tackle) that are to be FAs next year. With 4 offensive linemen scheduled to be free agents it really doesn't matter if they are starters or backups - its FOUR. The must resign at guard is Louis Vasquez - only 4 or 5 years in the league and should be considered top 10 of all active guards in the league I think. Then we have our tackle situation which is probably one of the worst situations in the NFL for that position. The center position is solid and if Hardwick doesn't comeback (which is always a possibility) I think that David Molk will find his way.
So there is a brief summary of the Charger's future when it comes to next year. There free agency talent pool for offensive lineman is pretty good I think. There should be no reason that we can pull one bonafide starter worthy lineman out of FA. But our history of FA has not always been successful as of late. There are some other needs as well, like at the DB, RB, and WR positions. Free Agency can be expensive though. A lot more expensive than the draft. So I figure you go get the proven talent at these 3 positions (DB, RB, and WR) and use your first 3 draft picks on shoring up the offensive line for years to come. Am I crazy or just insane?