The San Diego Chargers have selected Alabama OT D.J. Fluker with the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Pros: Big, powerful man with an exceptionally wide base and a wingspan (36 3/8"-inch reach) that makes him nearly impossible to get around once he sets his feet and gets his hands going. Has struggled with weight at times, but can carry 330-340 pounds with his massive frame. Monstrously powerful player who can demolish defenders for long stretches at a time. Understands leverage and drives with outstanding force. Absolutely explodes underneath his opponent's pads at times and makes said opponents look pretty silly. Surprisingly agile in his kick-step and pass set. Opens huge rushing lanes when he engages, commits and sets the edge.
Cons: Fluker's power allows him to get away with a few things that could bedevil him in the NFL for a while. He doesn't always anchor blocks, and faster edge rushers can get around him fairly easily. Has to double back on too many missed tags around the edge, and isn't always agile enough to do so. Doesn't lock on and tends to shove in space. Needs to learn to mirror with more consistency -- isn't always able to take a defender where he wants him to go. Susceptible to linemen who know how to use their hands -- NFL defenders will get around him after contact until he understands how to stop them.
What he brings to the team: Power at the right tackle position. I've heard some analysts say that Fluker might be best-served by moving inside to guard at the NFL level, but most of those same people compare him to former Alabama and current Seattle Seahawks lineman James Carpenter, and I think Fluker is already more agile and quicker than Carpenter. In addition, as he gains a better handle of the techniques required of tackles at the NFL level, I think he'll make that transition very well. Fluker isn't a speed monster, and his agility is nothing to write home about, but you don't enter a premium 18-wheeler in the Indy 500.
Given the increasing importance of the right tackle position at the professional level over the last few years, Fluker's dominant but embryonic skill set, and the fact that he seems determined to improve, he seems to be a relatively safe bet as a first-tier power blocker.
Was it the right pick? Questionable. The Chargers still desperately need a left tackle, though those guys were all off the board, and they could have gone with another D.J. -- Hayden, the cornerback from Houston.