The selection of former-UCLA center Scott Quessenberry, or “Q-Berry” as I like to call him, was a bit of a head-scratcher as the interior of the offensive line did not seem like the weak link amongst the team’s front five. If you were to ask just about anybody, they would tell you that the right tackle position was the spot needing a bit of reinforcement.
However, in the fifth round, Tom Telesco and company pulled the trigger on the hometown kid and brought his childhood dream to life.
Quessenberry grew up a die-hard Chargers fan in nearby Carlsbad, California while his family had season tickets every year. To make things even more special, Quessenberry with don the number 61 on his jersey, the former number of the last great Chargers center Nick Hardwick.
If the Chargers had not signed Pouncey in free agency, I would fully expect Q-Berry to fight for and win the starting job over Pulley. At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, Quessenberry is a thick, compact linemen with well-distributed muscle mass throughout his frame. He doesn’t posses eye-popping athleticism at the position but he has a solid, consistent game all the way around.
UCLA used Quessenberry in a very similar manner that Whisenhunt uses his linemen in the run game. He likes to take advantage of down blocks and allow his interior guys to pull and look to ear-hole an unsuspecting defensive linemen. He also enjoys pulling his more athletic guys into space in order to get RB Melvin Gordon on the perimeter where he is at his best.
The biggest drawback with Q-Berry is that he lacks the pure strength to be a traditional mauler in the run game. He rarely gets adequate vertical movement on down linemen which is probably like why they utilize him on pulls and down blocks. He runs adequate zone tracks and does a great job of scraping his way along the line of scrimmage when on the move, but the ability of being able to line up across from a defender and move him from point A to point B has been lacking far too long in this offensive line.
Athletically, Q-Berry was among the top guys at the NFL combine where he ran a 5.09-second forty, cranked out 25 reps on the bench press, jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical and 111 inches in the broad. He really does fit the mold of a Tom Telesco offensive linemen over the past several years.
Looking forward to the season, Q-Berry will likely be in a backup role as the Chargers recently signed Mike Pouncey to be their starting center while Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp look to secure both guard positions for the forseeable future. If there is an injury to either of these three players, I expect Q-Berry to be the first name called to take their place.