Why picking D.J. Fluker at 11 makes sense for the San Diego Chargers

USA TODAY Sports

The general response to this pick has been overwhelmingly negative. Let me tell you why there's reason to be optimistic.

The initial reaction of most fans and media members to the selection of D.J. Fluker appears to have been to light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks. This is wrong for several reasons. First of all, you should keep your pitchforks sharp all the time so that you don't have to waste time sharpening them when the mob is already forming. Secondly, D.J. Fluker is a monstrous right tackle that will immediately upgrade what has been a weakness on the San Diego Chargers for years and years now.

Some people have suggested that Fluker is little more than Jeromey Clary with a lower cap number and a higher opportunity cost. At least one of those people was me. This is an absurd position to take. Fluker represents a substantial improvement over Clary at right tackle both in the run game and the passing game. Fluker's weakness is as a pass blocker, but that's a relative thing in that he's just an incredible beast as a run blocker. It isn't that he can't pass block. He has held up very well against quality opposition in the SEC.

Even the people defending Fluker have sold him short by focusing on his intangibles. While it's great that he has a mean streak, plays with great energy and enthusiasm, and he loves the game of football, those things sound like a smokescreen for a bad player. D.J. Fluker is a long, long way from being a bad player. He was a consensus first round pick, and most pundits had him going in the 11-20 range. Some people don't think he can play right tackle, but Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy and the rest of the coaching staff obviously think he can. I'm inclined to trust their evaluation of his ability to fit into their particular scheme.

There has been talk about trying Clary at guard, but he really seems like an awkward fit given his particular build. Cutting him would essentially "pay for" Fluker as it relates to cap space, though.

Right tackle was clearly viewed as a need by the new regime even if those of us on the outside thought Clary was competent enough to hold down the position. That position is no longer a need and in fact may well be considered a strength for the next five years. Are there a lot of other holes on this roster still? Yes, but that was going to be true regardless of who became a Charger at 11.

This pick may not have been sexy, but the run game and passing game just got a much needed kick in the ass. Where do I buy my Fluker jersey?

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