Philip Rivers is a really good quarterback, but the San Diego Chargers find themselves, once again, making an effort to fix his pass protection after he was sacked 36 times in 2014. That effort began with a five-year, $36.5 million contract given to former Denver tackle Orlando Franklin, and it could very well continue in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
John Gennaro of Bolts from the Blue made the Chargers' No. 17 overall pick in our 2015 NFL mock draft, and the position he addressed shouldn't be a big surprise.
17. Chargers: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Gennaro: To see what the Chargers are going to do, just look back at what they have done. Year after year, the front office identifies a weakness and tries to repair it through free agency and the first round of the draft. Last year, it was Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett in the defensive secondary. This year, it will be Orlando Franklin and T.J. Clemmings, here to help rebuild an offensive line that almost got Philip Rivers killed last season.
As an added benefit, Clemmings is a tremendous value at No. 17 (arguably the BPA), and he helps the rest of the line by allowing D.J. Fluker to bump inside to right guard (where he should be). He also adds more versatility to an already versatile line, which is something that the team stresses. Franklin and Fluker can play either guard or right tackle. Chris Watt can play either guard or center. King Dunlap can play either tackle spot, and Clemmings would theoretically be the same way. This is how the team wants to fight against injury and prevent what happened last season from happening again.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: As far as offensive linemen go, Clemmings indeed would be the best player available in this scenario. His value is about right in this area of the first round. Clemmings, to me, is exclusively a right-side tackle in the NFL. He could play guard, but he really had trouble at the Senior Bowl when he worked on the left. But the idea of having Clemmings and Fluker on one side of the line is dangerous. The Chargers could be in play for a running back, but if they have those two on the right, it might not matter who is running the ball.
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
- 15. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
- 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- 19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
- 20. Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
- 1-17: T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
- 2-48: (coming April 13)
SB Nation presents: A breakdown of our latest mock draft