Please report to the stage, offensive guards.
The starters: Orlando Franklin (D.J. Fluker is now with the New York Giants).
The backups: Spencer Pulley, Donavon Clark, Kenny Wiggins.
What they need: A starting right guard and a prospect who will challenge for the left guard position.
At the end of the 2015 season, the Chargers offensive line was ranked 32nd by Pro Football Focus. This means they were the worst-graded offensive line in the entire NFL. For those of you who thought “things can only go up from here,” you were only barely right.
Once the 2016 season came and went, the Chargers had improved their offensive line play to...31st in the league. Only the Seattle Seahawks had a worse line than the Bolts. Poor performances all season long led to Orlando Franklin’s seat feeling a bit warmer while DJ Fluker’s chair essentially went up in smoke. He unsurprisingly was the first casualty of free agency.
Anthony Lynn has made it known that several positions along the offensive line will be up for grabs come training camp. This includes both guard positions. Waiting in the wings are recently re-signed Kenny Wiggins and a couple of second-year players in Donovan Clark and Spencer Pulley. Pulley was able to get some playing time due to injuries while Donovan Clark spent the year on the injured reserve list after a suffering a torn ACL prior to the season. Kenny Wiggins is the only other serviceable lineman but the Chargers have been dealing with “serviceable” for far too long.
As Philip Rivers continues into his twilight years, his protection needs to be reinforced and the run game must take a step forward in order to relieve some pressure from the aging quarterback. Finding an interior lineman to come in right away and immediately upgrade the front five is a must. More so than the majority of the other holes on the team’s roster.
With a fairly shallow talent pool for interior offensive linemen, the Chargers will need to look within the first few rounds of the draft to find a top-tier prospect with the ability to make an immediate impact on day one.