According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, former Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker is "one of the true rising players in the draft."
The gregarious Fluker was a 35-game starter at Alabama and left the Crimson Tide with a year of eligibility remaining. While some have questioned his footwork in pass blocking, Fluker missed just 11 assignments as a junior and was flagged for just two penalties. The All-American certainly has the tape to match his rising draft stock.
Also going in his favor, Fluker had the longest arms amongst offensive linemen in Indianapolis. Ross Tucker of SIriusXM Radio noted that he knows of one team in the top 10 that loves Fluker. Here's what else we know about Fluker and the teams that are looking at him:
DJ Fluker/T/Alabama has visits set up with the Minnesota Vikings, St Louis Rams & Tampa Bay Bucs this week...NY Giants very coy thus far..— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) April 4, 2013
Here are the fits for Fluker in the 2013 NFL Draft:
It's been nearly a month since free agency began, and starting right tackle Andre Smith remains unsigned. The latest on Smith and the Bengals is that they're "not close" on a deal. If he's not brought back, the Bengals could find Smith's equivalent in Fluker, and for a cheaper price. With two second-round picks, the Bengals could even work a deal to move up and get Fluker. If they do a deal, a team will probably give back their third-round pick for one of Cincinnati's second rounders.
Fluker, at 339 pounds, is built for the Cowboys' power line scheme. More importantly, the Cowboys need offensive linemen. Whether he's used as a guard or a right tackle, Fluker would be an immediate starter in Dallas. Doug Free as been disastrous as a right tackle since signing a big-money contract and Mackenzy Bernadeau wasn't much better.
St. Louis Rams
In his latest mock draft, Matthew Fairburn has Fluker going to the Rams with the 22nd pick. The Rams have been working out a lot of wide receivers and could want to find a value pick in the second round. If they do, Fluker would work as a guard next to Rodger Saffold on the right side.
Obviously the Browns wouldn't take Fluker with the sixth pick in the draft. But if the much-ballyhooed Miami/Cleveland trade goes down, Fluker with the 12th pick is a fit. The Browns have worked out or will work out four guards – Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, Kyle Long and Larry Warford. It's apparent they have interest in a guard. Shawn Lauvao hasn't been all that good on the right side and Fluker fits the power-blocking style they have in the run game.
The Vikings are another team that set up a visit with Fluker. Phil Loadholt is fairly set as the Vikings' right tackle. But left guard Charlie Johnson is in the final year of his contract and Fluker would be an upgrade over Brandon Fusco.
The Bears have done well adding pieces to the with Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson. The Bushrod signing in particular leaves J'Marcus Webb in limbo. Does he get looked at as a right tackle, or does he strictly become a backup? If it's the latter, the Bears could look at Fluker at 20 to be their right tackle. Of all the teams listed here, Chicago seems the least-likely landing spot.
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