Is a D.J Fluker a Fluke? Expectations of the Chargers First Round Pick
With mandatory spring camps wrapped up and the players not set to return till training camp in late July, the San Diego Chargers coaching staff used this opportunity to introduce veterans to new Head Coach Mike McCoy’s playbook and the staff to start evaluating rookies.
Already, the Chargers signed their top three picks from the 2013 draft including OT D.J Fluker, LB Manti T’eo, and WR Keenan Allen. Out of these three, Fluker is the most critical as the organization sets a high expectation for the 6’5, 340 pounder. He’s anticipated to help solidify the right side of the offensive line and improve an anemic Charger offensive that was unable to run the football and protect Phillip Rivers in 2012.
Fluker is already impressing coaches and players with his work ethic to reach the heights of becoming a Pro Bowl tackle in the near future.Yet, he is going to find the NFL faster and more physical than the college game. Fluker will definitely make mistakes over the course of his rookie season, but it is absolutely necessary for him to adapt and improve his skills against the faster defensive players of the NFL. With most teams running a 3-4 defense, he needs to make those quick adjustments in order to pick up different blitzing linebackers and defensive lineman. More than likely, defenses are going to throw different blitzing schemes against him forcing him to make rookie mistakes. On the other hand, Fluker’s size and strength can cause opposing defenses headaches.
The 2012 season proved the Chargers were a mediocre football team. Quarterback Phillip Rivers barely survived and continued feeding opposing defensive backs the football. Charger running backs hardly enter the end zone and averaged a pathetic 3.6 yards a rush. These abysmal statistics need to vastly improve in 2013 and it begins with Fluker opening up running lanes for Ryan Mathews and protecting Rivers on right side.
For now it is absolutely critical for Charger fans to show patience with Fluker in 2013. Coming from three National Championships at the University of Alabama, he brings a winning attitude that can spread through the offensive line.
For nearly a decade, fans watched both G Kris Dielman and T Marcus McNeill on the left side, so it is understandable why Fluker is already drawing comparisons with McNeill. Fluker represents the Charger future on the offensive line and he carries an overwhelming burden being a first round pick. Will Fluker be a fluke? Only time will time tell if he holds to these expectations.