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The Case for Signing Joe Barksdale

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The Chargers offensive line has a few issues, and here is how former Ram Joe Barksdale fixes them all.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the Chargers not drafting an offensive lineman in the 2015 draft is surprising is quite the understatement. The addition of Orlando Franklin was a huge step in the right direction, but the Bolts are still missing a piece (or two) that would call this line complete. Joe Barksdale is the last remaining option that can fix all of their problems.

1. The D.J. Fluker Problem

DJ Fluker's skillset makes him an below-average offensive tackle, but projects very favorable inside at guard. He is a very powerful player, who lumbers a bit and struggles in pass protection. While Barksdale is not a great pass protector, he is better on the edge than Fluker. The inside would give DJ more help on each side and allow him to focus more on mauling defensive lineman than beating quick edge rushers to their spot to protect the quarterback.

2. The Johnnie Troutman Problem

This is where the real value of signing a starting caliber offensive tackle is present, with the replacement of Johnnie Troutman. Tom Telesco has said that right now, Troutman is the startng right guard. Maybe that is the real reason Philip Rivers reportedly wanted out of San Diego. He was Pro Football Focus' second-lowest ranked guard in the NFL last season, as he just doesn't do anything well. Barksdale over Fluker would be a small upgrade, but Fluker over Troutman would be a huge upgrade.

3. The Depth Problem

To put it simply, if Johnnie Troutman is your second best guard, then what comes after him is downright terrifying. The Chargers locked up Trevor Robinson and Chris Hairston as solid reserves at center and tackle, but depth at guard is a question mark at this point.

I am not sure what is holding up the signing of Joe Barksdale at this point. He has been a solid starter for the last two seasons in St. Louis, and was healthy enough to play all but six snaps last year. San Diego invested heavily in the running game with the signing of Orlando Franklin and drafting of Melvin Gordon, but they still need one more piece. Joe Barksdale is the right man for the job.