Chargers select Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker in first round

April 26, 2013

On a day that saw nine offensive lineman chosen in the first round -- including tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, and Lane Johnson going in the first four picks -- the San Diego Chargers joined the run on "big uglies," selecting University of Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker with the eleventh overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

“He comes from a winning program and he’s going to bring a mentality that we can add here to our offensive line,” said Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco. “A physicality. A toughness. He can help both the run and pass game. He’s a guy we think can be a cornerstone in our offensive line for a long time.”

The 6-5, 339-pounder was a cornerstone for the Crimson Tide, starting all 27 games at right tackle over the last two seasons. A second-team AP All-America, Fluker graded out at 98.6% on his blocking assignments, surrendered only four sacks, and was flagged just twice all season

Among Fluker’s 2012 statistics, he was credited with 90 knockdown blocks and 22 pancakes.

“D.J. is the guy, day-in and day-out that will go get it,” said Fluker in describing what he’s like on the field. “He’s the guy that you will go to war with for 60 minutes in a game. A guy that’s going to give you everything he’s got on every single play. A guy also that’s a leader of his offensive line. Me personally, I want to be the Ray Lewis of my offensive line, and my team. I’m a guy that’s going to lead my team to victory. And, just basically be the high-energy guy. I love to have fun. Being on the field is my playground. I enjoy it.”

According to Telesco, Fluker is expected to contribute at right tackle, "we think he can protect our right side pretty well in pass protection.”

Last season, however, the Bolts protected quarterback Philip Rivers' blind side with an undrafted free agent at left tackle. By choosing a tackle in the first round, the obvious question becomes whether Fluker -- a right tackle in college -- can successfully make the transition to the left side, if needed. Others had projected him to play at guard in the NFL.

“I never limit my abilities, I can play anywhere,” said Fluker in response to where he thinks he’ll fit in. “Right tackle, right guard, left guard, left tackle, it doesn’t matter. The sky is the limit. I’m a guy that works to get better. I never stop working. I can play right tackle. I promise you can I do that. Definitely.”

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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