Player Interviews

Will the Chargers Draft Jeromey Clary 2.0?


Jeromey Clary is one of the most polarizing players in Chargers history. For years, he was the favorite whipping boy of fans because of his struggles to combat speed rushers off the edge. However, he fared better later in his career after moving from right tackle to guard, and his retirement following the 2014 season sparked a “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” sentiment.

Heading into the 2016 draft, the Chargers have a chance to select Jeromey Clary 2.0.

The Chargers spent time during Senior Bowl week getting an up-close look at Kansas State OL Cody Whitehair. The gritty lineman shares more than an alma mater with Clary. Both players demonstrate elite awareness and stun defenders with a strong hand punch.

The versatility is a tie that binds, too.

“The teams that I have talked to said, ‘As long as you can play both, you’ll be fine,’” Whitehair said. “I hear a lot of guard talk. I played guard the first two years at Kansas State and then moved to left tackle my last two years there. I feel comfortable at both positions.”

The comparisons between Whitehair and Clary run deep. The way Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder praises Whitehair’s work ethic and leadership sounds awfully similar to how he commended Clary a decade ago.

Additionally, both players are renowned for their durability, which is music to the ears of Chargers fans who are sick of observing constant turnover on the offensive line.

I asked Whitehair (6’4”, 309 lbs.) about the comparison last week in Mobile, Ala.

“I’ve watched a lot of film on Jeromey Clary,” he explained. “We have quite a bit of tape on former players and I’ve had quite a few guys compare me to him. That’s funny you asked that, because the last couple weeks I’ve actually been watching some film on him. I’ve really studied how he used his guard techniques out at tackle and [later on] used his tackle techniques at guard. I think that speaks volumes for him and that’s why he was so successful in the league.”

The Chargers were able to steal Clary in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, but Whitehair will not come so cheaply. He carries a strong second-round grade, making him a possibility with the No. 35 overall pick or a potential steal with the No. 66 overall pick.

GM Tom Telesco will certainly consider making the investment. For all the criticism Clary endured during his time with the Chargers, I always contended that if the Bolts had a chance to draft him all over again, they would do so in a heartbeat.

In approximately three months, we’ll find out if Telesco feels the same way.

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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