Datish played at left guard in 2004 before moving to left tackle in 2005. Last year, he slid inside to center to replace Nick Mangold, who was taken in the first round of the 2006 draft by the New York Jets. He and Mangold still speak regularly.
"(Mangold) tells me to keep doing what I'm doing, and that playing at Ohio State prepares you for what you need to do on the next level," Datish said.
Although their situations are similar, Datish and Mangold have two very different styles of play. Datish relies more on his quickness and footwork than does the more compact Mangold. Also, Datish's ability to play multiple positions makes him a unique prospect.
During Senior Bowl week, he spent the most of his time playing guard. He appeared technically sound and took nice angles to the second level. However, he looked a bit stiff in the hips and struggled to stay low.
"Going to the Senior Bowl, I realized that I'm a center that can play both guard and tackle. That's what I want to bring to the next level. I want to be able to swing anywhere and do anything," Datish said.
In San Diego, Datish would project as a reserve at all three interior positions, a role similar to the one currently held by Scott Mruczkowski. That would allow Datish time to sit and learn until Mruczkowsi is elevated to the starting line-up, likely in 2008.
Despite ample talent on San Diego's offensive line, Datish would still like to become a Charger.
"I'm interested in whoever picks me first," he said. "I don't have any allegiances or alliances with anybody."
Datish is currently projected as a third- or fourth-round pick, and it would be incredibly appropriate if San Diego chooses him with its compensatory selection at the end of day one. There is no better way to compensate for the loss of Drew Brees than to acquire a versatile lineman to protect his replacement.