With the 11th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the San Diego Chargers select Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. David Tokarz is serving as the Chargers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The Chargers are in a difficult position here. The team needs a lot of players at a lot of positions, but the biggest needs are on offense and in the trenches. Unfortunately, not a lot of help exists there at the moment.
My first concern was shoring up the offensive line. Much like in Detroit, San Diego's offensive line needs a lot of help. San Diego has lost Jared Gaither at LT and Louis Vasquez at RG, and so having one of the top offensive line prospects fall to No. 11 would have been fantastic. Alas, Lane Johnson, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are gone, and spending the pick on a lineman rated lower would be foolish. This is a team that needs an impact player at No. 11, and while I might have splurged for Warmack if available, there's no offensive lineman worth the pick. Plus, it's a deep OL draft, and I can probably land another pass blocker for Philip Rivers later.
The second concern for the Chargers has to be finding more weapons for Rivers. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead are fine at running back (even if Mathews is made of glass), but the wide receiver position is weak. The Chargers really only have two decent wide receivers, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown, and if there was a wide receiver worth taking here, it might be worth it. With a new scheme and a rebound by Rivers, a WR could have a dramatic impact on this team. Alas, my options here are DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen and Tavon Austin, and I'm not sure any of them offer a ton of value at No. 11. If I had the option of trading down, I might, but nobody's buying here.
So it looks like I'm looking to draft defense. The Chargers have a playmaker in the secondary in Eric Weddle, and combined with a pass defense that was at least league average, I don't think spending more resources in the secondary would be particularly helpful. However, they desperately need either a pass rusher or a defensive lineman who can fit the 3-4 scheme. That means that my choice has been narrowed to either Jarvis Jones or Star Lotulelei, two players who have dropped because of medical issues.
In the end, I think Lotulelei makes the best sense. The Chargers only have one NT on the roster but could use help all along the defensive line, and Lotulelei is versatile enough to fit anywhere. Lotulelei is an incredibly athletic defensive lineman who will be able to help tremendously in both run and pass defense. In run defense, Lotulelei is powerful with a quick first step and has the natural ability to read offensive linemen and the snap count. In pass defense, Lotulelei's a wrecking ball; his bull rush is terrifying and he's an exceedingly powerful guy who will eat up multiple defenders. There's no way he doesn't help San Diego pressure quarterbacks, even if they have to grab an outside linebacker later. Lotulelei also has star potential. This is a guy who gets compared to Haloti Ngata on a regular basis. He's got the ability to be a transformative player for San Diego, and they're lucky to see him fall this far.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.