Pickin’ Bolts: Chargers Should Draft Laremy Tunsil

(AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)
(AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)

Mississippi’s Left Tackle has been at or near the top of the draft heap since the beginning of last year. Prior to the 2015 college football season Tunsil and Ohio State’s DE, Joey Bosa, were vying for the #1 pick. As is often the case, two factors are contributing to their slides (supposed or real). First, and most understandable, there are really only 15-20 legitimate starting quarterbacks in the NFL. So when a team doesn’t have one, they will spend a lion’s ransom to get a good prospect (Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, please enter stage right).

The second reason is that the top-rated guys get an extra level of scrutiny; and scrutiny of a specific negative bent where evaluators are looking for flaws. Conversely lower rated prospects are looked at in a positive light as evaluators ask themselves, “Is there something here to make me like this guy more than the other?” The system plus our natural psychology causes us to dislike the top candidate and root for the underdog. Unless there’s a player who is so far above his competition the top player at the beginning of a college season will rarely be drafted #1 overall (Andrew Luck and Cam Newton and a few others have been recent exceptions).

Back to Tunsil. There’s actually a third reason why we discount the talented LT. When we watch football. We actually watch the football; or rather, we watch the person with the football. Or in the case of defensive players, we watch those making plays on the ball: defending the receiver, sacking the QB, making the tackle…we rarely get excited about interior defensive linemen or offensive linemen.

Let’s take a closer look at Laremy Tunsil.

I’m not the talent evaluator that some are. But I’m good at reading between the lines. I am also good however at picking apart scouting reports and saying Prospect A is better than Prospect B…so let’s not re-invent the wheel.

From Tunsil’s ProFootballFocus.com scouting report:

“Elite pass protector. Faced the toughest slate of edge rushers of anyone in the country and yielded only five pressures in 185 pass blocking snaps…”

“Locates and attacks linebackers at the second level extremely well…”

…and concludes with, “The cleanest tackle to come out of college in some time. Tunsil simply looks different from your average tackle in the NFL with comparisons to Tyron Smith not being unfounded.”

Chris Collinsworth, the NBC Sunday Night Football announcer, part-time ProFootballFocus.com contributor, and former Cincinnati Bengal compared Tunsil’s footwork to that of Collinsworth’s Hall of Fame former teammate, Anthony Munoz.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

Tunsil has been called the best offensive tackle prospect since Cowboys’ Tyrone Smith, others say since Joe Thomas, and some go all the way back to former Seattle great, Walter Jones.

Tunsil’s WalterFootball.com scouting report has this glowing summary statement, “In any draft class, even a top-heavy class like 2014 or 2011, Tunsil is worthy of going in the top five, and he is the only prospect who teams feel that way about this year.”

And keep in mind, while playing in the SEC, Laremy Tunsil only allowed 2 sacks in his 28 game career.

The Chargers were last good, consistently good, when they had Marcus McNeil protecting Philip Rivers’ blindside. When injuries forced McNeil’s early retirement the Chargers’ success left with him. McNeil missed 12 games in his final 2 seasons. His career ended after the 2011 season. In McNeil’s final healthy season, 2009, the Chargers record was 13-3.

Rivers is among the better QBs in all the NFL. But he’s also among the least mobile. For the Chargers to be successful they need to protect Rivers. Drafting a young elite tackle like Tunsil is a no-brainer.

Thanks for reading. And if you’re not already doing so, please follow me on Twitter: @PickinBolts.

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