It seems like the Chargers are always one play or one player away from being part of the elite every season. They were honestly the best team to not make the playoffs in 2017. They were arguably better than some teams that did make it, (I’m looking at you Titans). Over the past decade they’ve missed on a few of their 1st round picks, which is likely what has kept them from being truly competitive in the AFC.
Back in 2013 the Chargers were looking to bolster their offensive line to protect Philip Rivers; insert D.J. Fluker, the mountain of an offensive tackle from Alabama. He was dominant in the tough SEC, which lead him to being selected 11th overall. His career actually started off well, he made the All-Rookie team as a right tackle. Unfortunately he didn’t maintain that success and in 2015 he was forced inside to play guard. After the move he was still mostly ineffective which caused the Chargers to release him in the off-season before 2017.
When teams pick players as highly as Fluker they expect a franchise caliber player, not a guy who gets released instead of having his 5th year option picked up. There were plenty of those types of players still on the board when Fluker was picked. Still available were Sheldon Richardson, Kyle Long, Xavier Rhodes, DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Ertz, Darius Slay, and Travis Fredrick. Missing on Hopkins doesn’t hurt as badly since they took Keenan Allen during this draft, but had they taken both they’d have the best receiving tandem in the NFL. Long and Fredrick would have provided them dominant players on their interior line, while Rhodes and Slay would have been great compliments to Casey Hayward.
Los Angeles has a strong roster, full of players that could be considered top 10/15 at almost every position. Unfortunately it looks as if their window is closing due to Philip Rivers being 36 years old. An interesting off-season story to monitor will be whether or not the Chargers address their need for a quarterback of the future.