Was Shelton the right choice for the Bolts?

The Chargers signed 10-year veteran L.J. Shelton to a two-year contract on Tuesday. Shelton will step in and provide insurance behind Marcus McNeill and Jeromey Clary. But was he the best player available? The market was hardly ripe with talent, but team expert Michael Lombardo identifies three other players who were worthy of consideration.

L.J. Shelton (6'6", 345 pounds) is a former first-round pick who has played his best ball as of late. He started all 16 games each of the last three seasons – two with the Miami Dolphins and one with the Cleveland Browns – and has plenty left in the tank at 32 years old.

His stock has suffered from the poor play of the offenses he's been a part of, but that has more to do with Charlie Frye and John Beck than it does with Shelton. By all accounts, he was the right man for a Chargers team in dire need of proven depth.

But what other viable choices were out there? Here's a look at the top three.

1. Fred Miller, Chicago Bears – Miller, 35, is older than the Chargers would like and would struggle if asked to play left tackle. However, he has the aggressiveness and savvy to excel in spot-duty and to improve the overall toughness of the line. Miller has started every game he's played over the last ten seasons, never missing more than one game in any of those campaigns.

2. Barry Stokes, Detroit Lions – Stokes played so well that he nearly ran himself out of the league. He started 29 games for the Browns between 2002 and 2003 before asking for a massive contract extension and eventually demanding his release. He spent the next four seasons bouncing around the League, spending time with the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Lions. His asking price has now plummeted and the Chargers could take advantage by adding his blue-collar work ethic and strong in-line blocking skills to the mix.

3. Nat Dorsey, Cleveland Browns – Dorsey, 24, is the least experienced player on this list but may also be the most talented. He came out of Georgia Tech in the 2004 draft as one of the few prospects with the size (6'7", 335 pounds) and agility to play left or right tackle. His professional progress has been jilted by a series of changes – be it the trade from the Minnesota Vikings or the changes at offensive coordinator in Cleveland – but San Diego could provide him a steady landing spot where he can reach his potential.

Do you feel Shelton was the best fit for the Bolts. Thresh it out in the forums!

Lightning Quicks

Rounding out a busy Tuesday, the Chargers made some moves in the front office following the retirement of assistant general manager Buddy Nix. The team signed Randy Mueller -- the former GM of the Dolphins and Saints and a one-time Executive of the Year -- to fill out its thinning ranks.

Six current staffers earned promotions, including lead Ed McGuire, who will take on assistant GM duties while continuing in his role as lead negotiator. John Spanos, son of Dean Spanos, also took a promotion and replaces Jimmy Raye as the director of college scouting. Raye has been named the new director of player personnel.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.


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