Aside from his play, the thought process of moving D.J. Fluker inside to guard was because of the talent pool among the offensive tackles in the upcoming draft class. There is quite the collection and diversity at the position. I will place them in tiers based on a grading scale based on what traits I think the Chargers value most out of their lineman. First and foremost you must be adept at blocking in space. This is one of the most underrated aspects of King Dunlap, who can get to the 2nd level and cut off linebackers, and does a good job on combo blocks.
The next highest trait is blocking against speed rushers. It's an area where Fluker has improved but is still not where he needs to be. Most fans think speed rush is letting the defensive end run around you. Getting beat across your face on a counter move is where the real damage is done, especially with a quarterback like Philip Rivers. Rivers prefers to slide up in the pocket so losing the edge isn't the worst thing in the world. So what I've looked for is players that this happens to the least. Players that have the feet and quickness to redirect on counter moves to the inside as well as maintain the edge. Aside from those 2 traits, I'm looking for consistency. Guys that just do not get beat. Here's how my top 11 shakes out:
T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
I was incredibly high when I first broke down Clemmings, so I went back and watched him to see if maybe I was caught up too much in his natural strength and athleticism. Nope. He progressed through the year like a guy who hasn't played the position 3 years should. To go with his tools, he didn't get beat. He had a rough Senior Bowl, and many have soured on him. I have not. I'm not passing up on a potential Tyron Smith/Trent Williams type with the floor of an already solid NFL tackle.
La'el Collins, LSU
When I went backed and re-watched these guys, I came away more impressed with Collins. I could see why some wouldn't view Collins as a top 10 player. He falls off blocks, gets beat to his inside, and can be slow off the snap. However, Collins has top tier feet that allow him to cut off speed to the edge, plays with the type of nastiness and power you want in a lineman, and just doesn't give up pressure. I think he's the 6th best player in the draft.
The Runners up
Jake Fisher, Oregon
The 1 Duck that is worth a 1st round pick. Fisher gets the kind of movement in the run game, whether straight ahead or moving horizontally, that is tough to ignore. He created big running lanes against some very good players and finished. I had him for 7 knockdowns in the Championship game. Fisher can be more consistent when it comes to his shooting his hands to make 1st contact as well as lunging in the run game. His flaws are correctable, though.
Andrus Peat, Stanford
It's easy to see Peat's talent. He can go any direction and get there with ease. He's quick enough to reach defensive tackles and has very good awareness in pass protection. In a vacuum, he didn't get beat. In the pros, I worry about Peat not generating power, lunging at defenders, and just trusting his feet in general. He is the type of talent that Joe D'Alessandris could mold into a star. For that reason, he's a worth a 1st round pick.
Plenty Good Enough
Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
My favorite tackle in the draft. Williams played on the right side, and every game all he did was put defenders on their backs. Williams is a finisher. He locks on, takes you where you want to go, and that's usually the ground.
With the Chargers transitioning to more of a power scheme towards the end of the year, Williams next to Fluker would mean yards for whoever is back there. Williams is far from a great athlete, but he understands angles and how to get depth efficiently. In the 4 games I watched, he did not surrender 1 single QB hit or Sack. He did finish with a ridiculous 12 drive blocks and 11 knock downs.
Cedrick Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
Ogbuehi is kind of a wildcard, having torn is ACL leading up to the bowl game. He was thought of as a 1st rounder, I never bought that talk. Ogbuehi might have the worst timing of his punch in the draft that will remind many of Eric Fisher. This will lead him to getting walked back into the QB's lap. He's not weak, but it's easy to be controlled when defenders have their hands on you 1st. As far as working in space and against speed rushers? Ogbuehi rivals anyone in the class. If you fix his punch timing and his footwork in pass protection, you have a star. He also has played both tackles and right guard.
Hot and Cold and Mr. Consistent
Ereck Flowers, Miami
Against Duke, Florida State, and Louisville, Flowers looked like a surefire 1st rounder. He rarely got beat, he showed great strength, and he just got guys blocked. Against Randy Gregory and Eli Harold you'd ask yourself why take him before the 4th? He just couldn't keep up with those guys and when they converted speed to power on him, Flowers was embarrassed. I have him as a late 2nd rounder and that might be too generous.
D.J. Humphries, Florida
Humphries got beat consistently every game more than anyone else on this list. His flaws were easy to see. Lunging, late to the 2nd level, on the ground a lot. I think he really could've used another year in school. That said, he might just have the best feet/athleticism of any tackle. He can move. Against Louisville I promise every other play was him messing up or him driving a defender 4 yards off the ball. He is more of a project with a high ceiling.
Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin
Much like the player he took over for, Ricky Wagner, Havenstein just gets guys blocked. He's probably better than Wagner, though. He's not going to excel in space like most of these guys on the list, but Havenstein is a perfect example of not falling for athleticism and understanding a player that doesn't make mistakes. If the Chargers want to wait until the 3rd round for an offensive lineman, Havenstein is their guy.
Can't Trust 'Em
Donovan Smith, Penn State
Smith is a straight ahead, mauler type. He can thrive in a power scheme. He gets easy movement when he locks on. The issues come when he's in space or against speed. Defenders were able to hit Smith with a hesitation move and get around the edge with speed, or counter to the inside and he had absolutely no answer. He just couldn't recover. I don't trust lineman that can't redirect back to the inside, and that's what I see with Smith.
Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State
Sambrailo did a fine job of getting depth when defenders would try to beat him to the edge. I thought he was pretty sound with his hands as well. The issue with Sambrailo, like Smith, came when defenders crossed his face. He just could not redirect in time. In addition, Sambrailo gave up far too much ground when defenders would bull rush him. For these two reasons, I can't trust them protecting my quarterback.