Even before King Dunlap’s recent incident, as innocuous as it may have been, the Chargers would be crazy to go into 2017 thinking that left tackle wasn’t a position of need or that Dunlap would be able to play more than 10 games next year. Dunlap has been the teams left tackle the last 4 years and has played about as well as any of us could imagine. The problem is he’s never on the field.
The question now becomes does the team look for another stop gap in free agency, or look towards the draft? Or do they double dip. Let’s go a over realistic option.
Sleeper free agent
I don’t think Andrew Whitworth is an option not only due to his age, 35, but he’ll likely get a hefty 1 or 2 year deal by some team. The Chargers might could kick the tires on Matt Kalil who is 27. The problem is he only played 2 games last year after being placed on IR and he has already had previous knee surgeries which already hurt his athleticism. Investing in a left tackle that wins with athleticism but has had said athleticism taken away due to surgery isn’t wise.
Enter Ty Nsekhe from Washington. Nsekhe is no spring chicken, at 31 years old. He really doesn’t have much wear and tear and could be signed for an incredibly team friendly contract. He’s bounced around from the NFL to the arena league. The team that gave him his first shot in 2012? Good guess, the Colts.
On the field, Nsekhe is an ox. He flat out moves dudes in the run game.
His ability to generate movement in the run game is impressive. For a man his size, 6’8 325, he showed some nimbleness in the fact that he had no issues getting to the edge or sealing defenders.
In pass protection, I thought he did a good job of beating edge rushers to their spot. But what stood out to me was his hand placement.
That’s against Clay Matthews. That technique is about as good as it gets. Nsheke initiates contact first with his inside hand and is able to anchor against the bull rush. Nsheke also saw some action at right tackle this past year due to injuries, so there’s some much needed versatility as well. In 4 games he only game up 1 sack. I feel confident in saying his 4 games were better than any 4 game stretch of a Charger offensive lineman.
3 Draft options
I’d say there’s a tier of 3 tackles that you could argue being the best in the draft. Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk only played 1 year of division 1 football but is the type of technician that would put him in conversation worthy at 7 for those that are into taking a lineman top 10. From his feet to his hands Ramczyk is a very efficient blocker. His technique allows him to generate power. He can play. The problem is Ramczyk will be coming off hip surgery.
Utah’s Garrett Bolles will be 25 by the time training camp starts and also only started for 1 year. Utah asked Bolles to pull a lot and he executed some remarkable blocks on the fly. In the run game, Bolles is the best finisher in the draft.
He’s nasty and always gives whoever is in front of him a little something at the end of each play. He makes it easy to fall for him doing that. Where Bolles gets in trouble is by not bringing his hips with him.
The last of the 3 is Alabama’s Cam Robinson. For whatever reason I’ve seen people say he needs to move to the right side or kick inside to guard. Could not be further from the truth. Robinson has no issues moving. In the run game he’ll move you. It’s rare to use the word explosive for a lineman but with Cam Rob it feels right. He can uncoil and jolt some serious force.
He has some punching issues but I'm gonna like Cam Robinson more than most. Good cam is gooooood pic.twitter.com/W0Pq9Pax4R— KP (@KP_Show) January 21, 2017
Robinson gets in trouble in the passing game where he either doesn’t get enough depth or gets too much depth as he’s trying to get to his spot. Football is a game of "half man" on the edge where both the offensive lineman and defensive lineman are trying to get "half a man" and win their battle. Most of Robinson’s losses come because he goes to punch when he is at a "full man"
After going over it, that wasn’t Robinson’s feet being the issue but him not getting to a half man then punching. He has soooo many good reps, though. Most of his bad plays are this close to being good that I have no real concern thinking he’ll get his issues corrected.
With these 3 tackles I imagine you would have to overdraft each if you want to get them. They are the 3 least flawed tackles is how I would put it.
The final option would be doing all of the above. Sign a free agent while drafting a tackle in the middle rounds who might not be ready right away, but you can develop and hope to groom into a good player. The Packers did this with David Bahktari who was an all-pro level player this year.
Which do you think would be in the Chargers best interest?