Chargers Chat Up FSU O-Lineman

When free agency opens on Tuesday, GM Tom Telesco will look to upgrade his interior offensive line. While he plans to aim big, reportedly targeting San Francisco’s Mike Iupati, he also has a fallback strategy that involves waiting for the NFL Draft. Hear from one guard prospect who met with the Bolts at the NFL Combine and believes he could make life easier for Branden Oliver and company.

As reported by’s Jamie Newberg, the Chargers met with Florida State OL Bobby Hart at the NFL Combine. Hart played tackle during three of his for years with the Seminoles, but projects as a guard in the NFL.

“That’s what most of the scouts are telling me and that’s fine,” Hart said. “So I will be an offensive guard in the NFL. If that best suits me that I am all for it. I want a career in the NFL and I am willing to do whatever I need to.”

Hart is a powerful run blocker who can move the line of scrimmage. He mauls opponents once locked on, but his agility is lacking and his footwork leaves a lot to be desired. He had some struggles in pass protection, but the move to guard should mask some of those.

Hart, who just turned 20 in August, is still developing as a player and a person.

“Honestly, I feel like I underachieved [at Florida State],” Hart said. “I have really done some self evaluating and there were certain situations that I didn’t entirely take advantage of. I wasn’t a professional and now I am learning how to be a professional.”

The Chargers have a fluid situation at guard. The position outlook could change greatly over the next few weeks, when the Chargers will make a strong push for Iupati and possibly others. There also remains the possibility that 2013 first-round pick D.J. Fluker will slide inside to guard.

Last year’s starters, Chad Rinehart and Johnnie Troutman, will both return; however, Telesco wants to push them [if not replace them] after they delivered uneven performances last season. Hart certainly seems capable of intensifying the competition.

“I started playing when I was five years old,” Hart said. “This was always my dream. I knew then what I wanted to do.”

Hart is one of four offensive line prospects from Florida State -- joined by Cameron Erving, Josue Matias and Tre Jackson -- and all are potential targets for San Diego. The Seminoles are a well-coached team known for producing NFL-ready players, which is part of the appeal with Hart.

Hart will spend the next two months training and building on the foundation that was laid in Tallahassee.

“It was a challenge,” Hart said of his time at FSU. “Playing for those guys and [offensive line] coach [Rick] Trickett. But it was also rewarding because I became a player and he prepared me each week for [the Combine] and the NFL.”

If Telesco believes that preparation and potential can be paired into productivity, he will have no problem pulling the trigger on Hart at some point on Day Three of the draft.

How should the Bolts fix the interior offensive line? Discuss in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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