Chargers considering a changing of the guard

The San Diego Chargers were so happy to re-sign Kris Dielman, they may draft another player just like him. The team visited earlier this offseason with a top offensive line prospect who -- like Dielman -- spent time at defensive tackle and tight end before moving inside to guard. This interior mauler has the power, agility and attitude to be an elite blocker for years to come.

During the Indy Combine, the Chargers conducted a private interview with Ben Grubbs (6-foot-3, 315 lbs.), a guard from Auburn who is expected to be chosen somewhere near the end of round one. Grubbs spent two years playing alongside Marcus McNeill and has the ability to be just as dominant.

Once he became acclimated to his new position, Grubbs excelled. He was named Second-Team All-America and First-Team All-SEC following his senior season.

Although his offseason has been up and down -- he struggled with his footwork at the Senior Bowl and posted mediocre numbers at the Combine -- he finished on a strong note by shining during his Pro Day.

"My Combine numbers weren't the best but they were good enough to stand on their own, so I just wanted to improve my numbers," Grubbs said. "I improved on everything except my pro agility. All the scouts that were (at my Pro Day) said I did a really good job and to keep it up."

There is much for the scouts to like about Grubbs' game. He can drive his man off the ball and make blocks on the second level. Also, he has the foot speed and balance to excel in pass protection. As a senior, he led the SEC for a second consecutive season with a 90.57 percent blocking-consistency score.

Additionally, Grubbs is an articulate, high-character player who only helped himself during the interview process.

"They know you can play football, but they want to know how you are off the field," Grubbs said. "They asked about my background and my family. Have I been arrested? Have I ever been suspended or missed any games for any disciplinary problems?"

Inquiring teams liked what they heard, as Grubbs never missed a game at Auburn due to injury or for any other reason. He started in 37 straight contests.

It may seem unlikely that San Diego will spend its first-round pick on a guard, given its more pressing needs elsewhere. However, if any team can afford to draft the best player available it is the Chargers. Bringing in Grubbs and grooming him to replace Mike Goff would give Bolts a young starting five that could grow and dominate together for the next decade.

After all, it is better to draft an elite talent than settle for the top player available at a position of need. Failing to follow that rule is how players like Sammy Davis end up in round one.

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