General manager Tom Telesco was hired to run the Chargers in January of 2013. He got hired early enough in the process that he was able to enjoy some bowl games, the Super Bowl, and the bulk of that year’s draft season as the head honcho of the Bolts. After the Senior Bowl, Combine, and all of the pro days, Telesco was fully-prepared to make the first draft pick as a GM when the Chargers were on the clock. His selection? Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
Seven years later, he has yet to select another Bama linemen. Fluker lasted a handful of years in San Diego after finding a home at right guard following his rookie season. He’s now on his fourth NFL team. That’s all you need to know about how that pick turned out.
Heading into the 2020 season, the Chargers still need to find their answer at left tackle. It also just so happens that the best left tackle may be a current member of the Crimson Tide. His name is Alex Leatherwood and he’s kind’ve really good. In the Touchdown Wire’s latest “way-too-early” 2021 mock draft, Leather gets paired with the Bolts at #18, which is actually the highest I’ve seen this team pick throughout the early mocks.
“Drafting Leatherwood gives them that cornerstone type of left tackle, and the flexibility to move Bulaga back to the right side,” says my good friend, and author, Mark Schofield. “The Alabama OT is aggressive and has strong hands as a pass protector, and is a force in the running game on both gap/power and zone blocking schemes.”
Leatherwood’s scheme-versatility would be a perfect match for the Chargers as they are currently in transition from one scheme to another. They say elite offensive lineman are some of the safest picks a team can make, and I assure you that Leatherwood is a much, much safer pick than Fluker was back in 2013.