The Chargers suffered a big blow losing their 2nd round pick and (potential) starting Right Guard Forrest Lamp to an ACL tear. Lamp was having some great practices and has been lauded as being the Chargers best lineman already less than a week into Training Camp but Lamp won’t able to show that until next season. Lamp being out for the year, while still a significant loss, does not mean the Chargers are in trouble along the Offensive Line come Week 1.
The Chargers covered themselves because during the 2017 NFL Draft they happened to go back-to-back on Day 2 with a pair of NFL ready Guards in Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney. The 3rd Round pick Dan Feeney should now be dropped into his natural position of Right Guard among the starting Offensive Line tandem. Kenny Wiggins and Forrest Lamp have been rotating at Right Guard during camp, moving forward it should be Feeney vs. Wiggins at that spot with Feeney grabbing a hold of that job. In Training Camp, Feeney has been taking some snaps at Center with Spencer Pulley playing the bulk of those reps with the starters thus far and slid in as a Guard as well. Before Wednesday Dan Feeney was sprinkled in with the starters but the good news now for Feeney is that he has a starting job if he wants it at Right Guard. Making the lineup now: LT Okung, LG Slauson, C Pulley, RG Feeney, RT Barksdale.
With Forrest Lamp now out for the year not only is it time to see what the team has in 3rd Round pick Dan Feeney but also the former 3rd Round pick Max Tuerk and last year’s 7th Round Pick Donavon Clark. With Spencer Pulley penciled in as the starting Center, Max Tuerk now has the opportunity to hold down the backup Center role or maybe even push Pulley for the starting job, though that’s less likely. Max Tuerk has Spencer Pulley and Dan Feeney ahead of him on the depth chart getting playing time with the 2nd and 3rd team Offense in camp. Assuming Feeney is now playing Guard, Tuerk has one less player to jump for snaps.
Last year’s 7th Round pick had a very strong camp in 2016 and looked sharp in the preseason before going down with a knee injury against the Cardinals. Clark now has the chance to compete with Kenny Wiggins for the backup Guard position. Losing Lamp now opens the door for Clark to get some starters minutes if another Guard goes down in camp or Slauson takes a vet day and sits out a practice. These are now very valuable reps for Feeney, Tuerk, Clark, and others to showcase that they deserve some playing time not only this season but whether they have starting potential come 2018.
We’re in Training Camp, it early but let’s look at the ramifications come 2018. Matt Slauson’s contract is up after this year and he’ll be 32 if Joe Barksdale has another year like 2016 the Chargers have an out in his deal to cut him come 2018. That means the Chargers could be without this year’s starting Left Guard and Right Tackle. If Dan Feeney and Spencer Pulley (or I guess Max Tuerk) play well together this year and Donavon Clark shows he deserves to be a starter come 2018 you could have an IOL of Donavon Clark, Spencer Pulley, and Dan Feeney. Now enter Forrest Lamp. Chargers GM Tom Telesco praised Lamp’s abilities as not only an NFL quality Guard but also Tackle in this league. Forrest Lamp can get his feet wet in 2018 as the Right Tackle while working on his transition to Left Tackle. As an added bonus 4 of the 5 lineman are young players with lots of room to grow together. In this scenario, granted being the best case, your 2018 starting Offensive Line would be:
LT: Russell Okung
LG: Donavon Clark
C: Spencer Pulley
RG: Dan Feeney
RT: Forrest Lamp
That’s a very young squadThere was a good chance Feeney could’ve won that Center spot over Pulley, Feeney wouldn’t be able to play his natural position at Right Guard, Donavon Clark and Max Tuerk don’t get a more significant role all if Forrest Lamp doesn’t get injured. The Lamp injury is a tough thing to see happen but it opens the door and sets up some players to earn some playing and could help the Chargers transition in the future.