Bolts Notebook: Inside the Draft

Forget the draft grades ... we are cutting right to the core of Tom Telesco's first draft. What is there to like about each of his draft picks? What is there not to like? And which top prospects did he pass up en route to assembling his debut draft class? All these answers and more inside.

OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama

What to like: Fluker will be an opening-day starter at right tackle. He replaces Jeromey Clary, who for years has been a lightning rod for fan criticism. Fluker instantly improves San Diego's running game and gives Ryan Mathews a road-grader to run behind. He also has underrated athleticism.

What not to like: Fluker lacks the feet and agility to play left tackle, leaving a gaping hole on the line's most important position. And while he is a better athlete than Clary, he is not an elite pass protector (four sacks allowed in 2012). Mike McCoy may have to give Fluker help in obvious passing situations, especially early in his rookie season while he adjusts to the speed of the NFL.

Who else was available: DT Star Lotulelei, SS Kenny Vaccaro

ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

LB Manti Te'o
What to like: The Chargers had a gaping hole at inside linebacker following the release of Takeo Spikes. Te'o fills that void in the starting lineup and figures to be an every-down defender (100-plus tackles in three straight seasons, seven interceptions in 2012). He is an instinctive and productive playmaker and is just the latest building block in a suddenly strong defensive front seven.

What not to like: There are some concerns with Te'o, including his lack of speed and inability to get off blocks. He also comes with off-the-field drama thanks to his now infamous fictitious relationship. That should not be too much of a problem -- unless he struggles like he did in the BCS Championship Game.

Who else was available: OT Menelik Watson, SS D.J. Swearinger, OT Terron Armstead

WR Keenan Allen, California

WR Keenan Allen
What to like: There is no arguing with the value. Allen showed what he can do when healthy in 2011, when he finished in the top-10 nationally with 98 catches and 1,343 yards receiving. He has excellent size (6-foot-2, 206 lbs.) and is the kid of big, physical target Philip Rivers feels most comfortable with (think Vincent Jackson, Danario Alexander, etc).

What not to like: Allen missed three games last season with a knee injury and is still only 90 percent healthy. But more importantly, the Chargers did not have a pressing need for a receiver, especially with Alexander signing his tender and Vincent Brown coming back from an ankle injury. Expect Allen's rookie season to include about a half-dozen healthy scratches.

Who else was available: DT John Jenkins, CB Logan Ryan

CB Steve Williams, California

What to like: Unlike the addition of his college teammate, Allen, Williams fills an obvious need. He has the speed and ball skills to match up well against slot receivers and should have an immediate role in John Pagano's nickel and dime defenses. He also has experience playing outside and may be asked to do so depending on the progress of Shareece Wright and/or Marcus Gilchrist.

What not to like: A small stature (5-foot-9) and poor tackling skills mean Williams will never be more than a role player. He left college a year early to help support his 1-year-old daughter and could have benefited from an extra year of reading offenses and diagnosing routes.

Who else was available: OT Jordan Mills, OT David Quessenberry

DE Tourek Williams

What to like: The Chargers needed another pass rusher after losing Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes in free agency. Williams can replace some of that heat off the edge (17 sacks over his last three seasons). He is a relentless player who picks up sacks on second efforts and chases down plays from the back side.

What not to like: He played defensive end at Florida International and will have to transition to linebacker. He does not have great strength or a wide variety of pass-rush moves. He also lacks the quick first step that most great pass-rush specialists possess.

Who else was available: CB Demetrius McCray, CB Jordan Poyer

QB Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah

What to like: McCoy likes having a young quarterback to develop and he has one that fits his system in Sorensen. He can make all the throws and shows good touch and accuracy. Off the field, McCoy likes giving Rivers a pupil to take under his wing; it should help reinforce Rivers' fundamentals as he transitions into a new offensive system.

What not to like: The Chargers drafted just one offensive lineman, no defensive linemen and no safeties. That being said, it is tough to justify spending a draft pick on a quarterback, especially with a franchise player running first string and a strong veteran holding down backup duties.

Who else was available: Hundreds of non-quarterbacks.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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