Is Clary the Right Man at Right Tackle?

OT Jeromey Clary (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

The Chargers have several obvious needs this offseason: defensive end, linebacker and receiver among them. One gray area is right tackle, where incumbent Jeromey Clary is one of the NFL's most polarizing players. If the Chargers are not sold on Clary, they may find competition early in the draft.

It's among San Diego folks' constant gripes: too many tourists taking up beach-front parking spaces, the cost of living and Chargers right tackle Jeromey Clary.

OK, the first two for sure, but the third complaint is coming on fast.

No matter how well - he's coming off a solid season - or how poorly Clary plays, he is a flash point for fans and pundits complaining about the Chargers' offensive line.

With Pro Bowlers at left tackle (Marcus McNeill), left guard (Kris Dielman) and center (Nick Hardwick), most of the attention whenever things go sideways turns to the right side.

Right guard Louis Vasquez in his first two years hasn't been put in the cross hairs yet. Not so with Clary.

So is this the spring the Chargers spring for an upgrade, something they have long considered?

Maybe and maybe not.

That the Chargers would burn their first pick, at No. 18 overall, on someone to hold down the right edge seems to be a reach with so many more pressing needs. But with them holding five of the first 89 picks, a right tackle could be found somewhere in that mix.

Not only is Clary being looked at it, but when eyeing the roster there is not a lot of depth. Brandyn Dombrowski was thought to be the right-guard backup, but he played so well in McNeill's absence last season his lot in his NFL life may be on that side.

Clary, a sixth-round pick in 2006, has surprised many that he has lasted this long. But will he last through another draft without seeing some competition headed his way?

Among the prospects the Chargers could consider is Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, a 6-6, 320-pound beast of a man. Carimi started on the left side for the Badgers, but it appears his future would include a switch to right tackle. While he has impressive strength and has enough quickness, it's believed his footwork and lack of agility could put him at right tackle. There he wouldn't have to tangle with the elite speed rushers - as much, anyway - and could use his strength to open running lanes for Ryan Mathews and friends.

Colorado's Nate Solder, a converted tight end, is another interesting player. He goes 6-8, 310 and has a chassis that could handle more weight. He's quick off the ball, although his footwork is still a work in progress.

Solder is far from a finished product. But his body and upside is too impressive to pass up and the Chargers might chose not to - especially if his name is still on the board in the second round; some think that isn't likely.

Boston College's Anthony Castonzo is the top tackle available according to many draft insiders. He played both sides for the Eagles, which could make him a nice fit on the right side for the Chargers.

But his resume is such the Chargers would need to grab him at No. 18 - and there are no guarantees he would still be on the board.

He has started since his freshman year, and at 6-7, 300 pounds with a considerable wing span, he could be just right (tackle) for the Chargers' wish list.



How should the Bolts re-tool their offensive line? Discuss in the message boards.




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