After an expected blowout in the vote for the all-decade Running Back, I thought today we'd kick things off with a vote that might be a little closer and more heated. So, without further ado, your nominees for best San Diego Chargers Right Tackle of the last decade...
Jeromey Clary: Part of the reason I picked this position is because Clary is probably the best choice, but there are so many people that have misguided anger towards him that it'll balance out the vote. It amuses me how badly people want to replace Clary with a high 1st round draft pick, but fail to understand that Right Tackles are never taken highly in the 1st round and are never paid a lot of money (unless they're playing for a team with a left-handed starting QB). Clary is a fine Right Tackle, and the teams out there with guys that are better are typically just holding a kid there until the Left Tackle spot opens up for him.
Brandyn Dombrowski: An offseason storyline not many are talking about. Is Dombrowski finally going to be given a shot at the starting RT job? Before a disastrous game against the Seahawks, it was almost a sure thing that he'd take over for Clary at the bye week. Then Dombro got creamed in Seattle, Clary got better, and everyone stayed pat. I think whoever has the job next year has a lot to do with the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). If Unrestricted Free Agency begins for a player after four years, I could see the Chargers letting Clary walk and giving Dombrowski a shot in 2011. He played well as Clary's replacement in 2009.
Shane Olivea: Olivea is the classic RT story for the Chargers. An average player who eventually got replaced at the position by another, cheaper (younger) average player at a position that requires average production. When Clary stepped in for Olivea, I panicked. When I realized everything essentially remained the same, I calmed. Olivea, a started for four seasons, was essentially Jeromey Clary version 1.
Vaughn Parker: Who? Exactly. However, Parker is the longest tenured Chargers RT on this list. A starter for five years, he covered the end of Mike Riley's reign of terror and the beginning of redemption with Marty Schottenhiemer. He was the starter for the first two seasons of this decade, and helped in keeping Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson alive in the beginning of their careers.
Courtney Van Buren: Here's what I know about CVB. He had potentially the greatest nickname of all time ("The Baron"), but I'm not sure anyone ever called him that. He probably hated that nickname. Also, he (along with Olivea) seemed to bounce around as a backup OT for years after playing with the Chargers but never started another game. He was the starter for one season, 2003, which turned out to be nothing but a transitional year for the Offensive Line. Phil Bogle and Kelvin Garmon, anybody?