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Chargers Draft: What the Experts Had to Say

Posted Apr 29, 2013

Check out what some NFL Pundits had to say about the San Diego Chargers 2013 Draft class.

Immediately following the NFL Draft, fans want to know how the experts react to their team’s selections.  While much remains to be seen, according to NFL media experts, the San Diego Chargers came out near the top.  Here is what some of them had to say.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.:

Grade: B

The Chargers really needed a tackle, and while I think D.J. Fluker will need to stay on the right side if you want to see the best of him, the guy can pass protect pretty well over there and will simply maul in the run game. Fluker can collapse the edge. Manti Te'o fills an immediate need at linebacker, and I don't think San Diego could have expected to get this kind of a player at No. 38 overall. He will step in and start immediately, and now you look at a corps with Melvin Ingram, Te'o, Donald Butler and Jarret Johnson. Not bad. Keenan Allen wasn't a huge need, but he's got the tape of a first-rounder, so expect impact from him. He's got a lot of  ability and is a couple years younger than many of the other top wideouts in this draft. Both Steve Williams and Tourek Williams are useful backups, and Brad Sorensen has a chance to make the depth chart.

ESPN’s John Clayton:

Winner #1

It was a nice scene when the San Diego Chargers had their top three choices -- tackle D.J. Fluker, linebacker Manti Te'o and wide receiver Keenan Allen -- standing on a podium holding up their new uniforms. This draft might not be as memorable as the 2005 draft, but it was a good one. That draft produced Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo, Vincent Jackson and Darren Sproles. Once Philip Rivers took over the starting job in 2006, the 2005 class provided enough of a lift to turn the Chargers into a perennial playoff team and a Super Bowl contender. Merriman and Castillo provided power and explosiveness to the defense. Sproles offered big plays to the offense and special teams. Call the Chargers 2013 draft class serviceable -- and their best class in years. Fluker should immediately become one of the most powerful right tackles as a rookie. Te'o isn't to be confused with Junior Seau, but his play should make him a fan favorite. In the 3-4, Te'o might not be the all-everything like Seau, but he could be more like Zach Thomas, the former great linebacker of the Miami Dolphins. Takeo Spikes is gone, so starting inside linebacker is Te'o's job to lose. Linebackers are usually favorites for defensive rookie of the year, and it's not out of the question for Te'o to end up as a good candidate. Allen could put this class over the top. He's a big receiver, although he doesn't have Vincent Jackson's deep speed. For a third-round choice, though, the Chargers couldn't go wrong.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke:

Grade: B

In OT D.J. Fluker, LB Manti Te’o and WR Keenan Allen, the Chargers added three starters. Allen, at 76, will easily outplay that draft slot if he’s 100 percent. San Diego did not cobble together much depth — CB Steve Williams and DE Tourek Williams are fringe roster guys. This Chargers’ class will live and die on the first three rounds, with most eyes focusing on Te’o…. Allen has been slow to get back from a knee injury. Had he been healthy through the pre-draft process, he probably would have been a Round 1 pick — and maybe even the first receiver taken.

CBS Sports’ Rob Rang:

Grade: B

They continued a three-player run on Crimson Tide stars, adding the physically imposing D.J. Fluker to bring some toughness and stability to an offensive line greatly needing both. San Diego will love Fluker ... as long as they don't expect him to play on the left side. Manti Te'o is going to take his fair share of ribbing from teammates and opponents (and their fans). But once he proves himself to be a quality starter in the NFL, all of the heckling will quiet down. I love (make that LOVE) the addition of Keenan Allen in the third round for a team that has struggled with consistency at receiver. Te'o will be solid; Allen will prove a steal. Of the Chargers' third-day picks, cornerback Steve Williams is my favorite. While lacking elite size, he possesses terrific feet and good ball skills and is more physical than you might think. Quarterback Brad Sorensen impressed me at the Combine.

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer:

Grade: B

The Chargers hit on their desperation for an offensive tackle with Alabama's D.J. Fluker in the first round, but their next two picks, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and California wide receiver Keenan Allen, are good fits with what they want to do in the Mike McCoy era. Playing next to rangy, big playmaker Donald Butler in their 3-4, there's less pressure on Te'o, who can focus on his strength as an instinctual upfield tackler. Some of what Allen will do should remind offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt of his best Cardinals wideouts.

Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez:

Grade: B

They could have done more to address their offensive line early besides choosing Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker at No. 11 overall. They may have hit home runs with two players who fell further than expected: Te’o (second round) and California wide receiver Keenan Allen (third).

Fox Sports’ Pete Schrager:

Grade: B

It’s ironic Te’o will be lining up every day in practice against first-round pick Fluker — the same guy who ate him alive in the BCS Championship Game. San Diego is probably the best fit for Te’o. Safety Eric Weddle, a devout Mormon, will take the linebacker under his wing and serve as his veteran mentor. Keenan Allen was a first-round talent.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks:

Winner: Nailed it

It's hard to land three first-round talents in one draft class, but the Chargers accomplished that feat over the first three rounds. D.J. Fluker was regarded as the top right tackle in the draft; he becomes an instant starter in San Diego. Keenan Allen gives Philip Rivers the big-bodied receiver he has missed since Vincent Jackson departed via free agency. While Allen is not nearly as explosive as Jackson, he is a gifted pass catcher built in the mold of Anquan Boldin. Manti Te'o has been derided for his poor performance in the BCS National Championship Game and questionable decisions in the girlfriend hoax, but critics are overlooking his rock-solid game and playmaking skills. Playing alongside Donald Butler in the middle, he could be one of the most productive tacklers in the NFL as the focal point of the Chargers' 3-4 defense.

USA Today’s Nate Davis:

Grade: A-

It's not hard to argue they got first-round value on their first three selections, only one of whom actually cost them a Round 1 choice (T D.J. Fluker, No. 11). ILB Manti Te'o (Round 2) and WR Keenan Allen (Round 3) fell for various reasons, but new GM Tom Telesco was there to catch them and just might be rewarded with Pro Bowl dividends. One bit of advice: Go back to the free agent market, which still has quality blockers QB Philip Rivers really needs.


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