Finding a left tackle

At the professional level, the left offensive tackle position may be the toughest position to fill with an overall amazing talented player. With Roman Oben recovering from off-season surgery that was deemed serious by Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, San Diego could be looking to grrom a replacement or, if need be, start a new one.

In a day and age which displays phenomenal athletes, with amazing size and speed flying after the quarterback, a thoroughbred at this position is deemed critical.

With Denver pursuing John Abraham, Derrick Burgess in Oakland and Kansas City beginning to turn its defense around, the pivotal position must be handled with care.

Hands down, D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia) is rated as the top offensive tackle prospect in the draft. Following Ferguson are a few intriguing prospects, some of whom could become solid contributors at the professional level.

Winston Justice from USC, Marcus McNeil of Auburn, and Eric Winston from Miami all have received significant attention. McNeil in particular was talkative and open in discussing his health, training, and collegiate career.

"There were times I may not have played as well as I could or should have. I believe I have raised my level of play and maturity and I am hungry for the opportunity to play in the NFL," McNeil said. "I am in pretty good shape and working hard, I have had some things happen (Grandmother's death) which played into some of things being said in Alabama (Senior Bowl), but I am ready."

Scouts from Chargers told Scout.com that McNeil has the physical attributes to play tackle on either side of the offensive line.

And scouts from several teams confirmed that he came across well during interview sessions.

They also saw some competitve fire from him during drills.

"I see it like the scouts are all going to be here," said McNeil. "It's a big stage to perform on. I don't have a problem performing. I've never had a problem performing before, so I just want to get after it." In Indianapolis, the Chargers followed up with McNeil after meeting with him at the Senior Bowl.

Provided the medical checks out, McNeil figures to go in the second half of the first round. With San Diego needing more lineman to offer depth and competition among the starters, McNeil would not be a reach at 19.


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