Jason Lenzmeier, another gem from undrafted?

June 1st is here and there is no offensive line help in sight. Similar to a year ago, the San Diego Chargers picked up offensive line help in the third round of the 2004 NFL draft and then went onto secure an undrafted lineman. The undrafted player, Phil Bogle, ended up starting before Courtney Van Buren. Could the same happen this year with Jason Lenzmeier getting a start before Nick Hardwick?

Slightly ahead of ourselves for just a second.

With Jason Ball out, Nick Hardwick has the inside track on starting. And Jason Lenzmeier has to make the team. But more and more it seems a formality that Lenzmeier will make the squad in some capacity.

It is a game of numbers and Lenzmeier more than has that on his side. Plus, the kid is pretty talented. From veteran leader of a New Mexico squad to the little man on the totem pole is as big a drop as the new freefall ride at California Adventure. But Lenzmeier is confident he can handle it.

"It is just the way it works," Lenzmeier said. "You have to start at the bottom again and work your way up."

One facet of his game that has endeared the Chargers coaching staff to him is his ability to play with a nasty streak. For a young guy, he is not backing down to anyone. Besides that being a natural part of his game, a roster spot depends on it.

"Yeah, that has probably been my most consistent thing," Lenzmeier says with a smile. "I love playing football. Just get out there and being mean and having a good time, it is a great thing to be able to do."

His versatility is also a boon to a squad that needs depth at multiple positions on the line. He has experience at both offensive guard and offensive tackle.

The only spot not in his repertoire is center.

"I can play either (guard or tackle)," Lenzmeier confirmed. "I can play right side, left side, guard or tackle, it doesn't matter to me. Wherever they need me to play, I am willing to try it."

And in the San Diego offense, Lenzmeier is a perfect fit. He comes from the Lobos, a renowned running school that made their living off the tosses and counters. Opening holes for LaDainian Tomlinson is natural and keeping the defensive linemen's mitts off the star running back is what Hudson Houck expects of him.

Lenzmeier considers himself to be adequate at both pass and run blocking, but there is a definite affinity to power blocking:

"Probably equal," Lenzmeier commented on whether he run blocks or pass blocks better. "But I enjoy run blocking. That is what we did a lot of in college. I have always enjoyed that."

And the work begins on the field with the veterans and offensive line coach Hudson Houck. First are the fundamentals of the offense and basic protection schemes and then come the more advanced techniques of blocking at the second level. It is a progression that is accompanied by plenty of work.

Lenzmeier credits his offensive line coach at New Mexico for bringing the best out of him. He says he was just an "alright" player in high school.

The mental preparedness if just as important as the work on the field. Each compliments one another and the film room reinforces the lessons being taught.

Then there is the compensation of going against faster defensive lineman. It all comes together in the end.

"Film work and knowing their tendencies and what kind of moves they like to make, that always helps," Lenzmeier commented. "Anything that can give you an advantage would be a plus. A ton of film work and just working on technique."

A work in progress. Lenzmeier wants to be a well oiled machine by the time training camp rolls around so he has advantages over anyone else that may be brought in. The coaches have seen his game and are encouraged by his performance.

This year, much like last, Lenzmeier could be just another in a growing list of undrafted free agents to make an impact with the Chargers. The depth chart just grew by 305 pounds.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

SD Super Chargers Top Stories