SAN DIEGO -- With this year’s NFL scouting combine complete, we take a closer look this week at some of the players who could make sense for the San Diego Chargers at positions of need for the team.
Up first is offensive line. The Chargers had trouble keeping guys healthy last season, with seven different starting offensive-line combinations and a total of 24 different combinations up front, fourth-most in the NFL.
I put the list together based on the assumption that Laremy Tunsil will go to the Tennessee Titans at No 1 overall. Obviously, things could change. And if Tunsil was still available at No. 3, the Chargers would certainly have to take consider picking him because of the team’s obvious need and player’s elite talent.
Here are six players the Chargers could target in the draft:
Jack Conklin, Michigan State: Conklin says he patterns his game after another talented NFL player from a small town in the state of Michigan -- San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley. That’s a pretty good comparison, as most draft analysts initially felt Conklin would have to move to right tackle at the next level. But after posting impressive numbers at the combine, Conklin is being considered as a left tackle prospect and a possible top-15 pick. Like Staley, Conklin plays with a mean streak, particularly in the run game. But he also has solid technique and enough agility to hold up in pass protection. At 6-6 and 325 pounds, I like Conklin because of his nasty disposition and the consistent way he finishes blocks.
Nick Martin, Notre Dame: The younger brother of Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Zack Martin, the younger Martin played both center and guard in college, and can play all three interior-line positions. As a center last season, Martin played mainly shotgun at Notre Dame, which I think helps him because the Chargers are predominantly a shotgun team with Philip Rivers. At 6-4 and 300 pounds, Martin has enough size to hold up at the line of scrimmage.
Jason Spriggs, Indiana: At 6-6 and 301 pounds, Spriggs showed he’s an elite athlete for his size, and he should excel in a zone-blocking scheme. Spriggs said he played about half the time in a three-point stance in college, so that will help his transition to the NFL. He was one of the top offensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, and has a chance to slip into the end of the first round. If the Chargers are looking for help at tackle, Spriggs makes sense.
Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame: Not as athletic as Tunsil, Stanley is a more effective run blocker. At 6-5 and 304 pounds, Stanley is a good technician who plays to the whistle. A three-year starter who started two years at left tackle at Notre Dame, Stanley would be an instant upgrade for the Chargers up front.
Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State: At 6-4 and 303 pounds, Seumalo had good movement skills and was always on balance during the offensive-line drills. He has versatility as a prospect who can play all three interior-line positions. But a broken foot that kept him out for a full year during the 2104 season will be a medical concern NFL teams need to address. Seumalo could be a late-round sleeper.
Christian Westerman, Arizona State: Westerman has a max bench of 500 pounds and led all offensive linemen by bench pressing 225 pounds 34 times. So Westerman is strong, but he’s also a technician who plays with a low pad level and should be a fit in a zone-blocking scheme.