The San Diego Chargers switched their focus to offensive prospects on day two of the NFL Draft, drafting tight end Henry Hunter and center Max Tuerk.
Hunter, who has been compared to veteran Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten by some scouts, was rated as the top tight end and 54th overall player by Mel Kiper Jr. after three seasons at University of Arkansas, a rating that was validated by his selection at the no. 34 overall pick.
Hunter will attempt to fill the void left by Ladarius Green – the last tight end drafted by the Chargers – who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason.
The pick is also in anticipation of the retirement of Charger legend Antonio Gates, who is expected to end his career after his current two-year deal comes to an end.
Only once before have the Bolts taken a TE in the first 40 picks, when they drafted Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow with the no. 13 pick in 1979.
Tuerk, a member of the long line of University of Southern California offensive lineman, was the second ranked center and no. 83 overall player on Kiper’s big board.
Although listed as a center, Tuerk played at four of the five spots on the offensive line while at USC, so he has the experience to play wherever the Chargers choose to plug him in.
The Bolts were expected by many to select one of two offensive tackles – Ronnie Stanley, who went 6th, or Laremy Tunsil, who went 13th – with the no. 3 pick on Thursday before they took defensive end Joey Bosa.
The NFL Draft will conclude on Saturday as rounds 4-7 take place.
The Chargers hold five picks in those final three rounds.