In the 2018 NFL Draft, The Chargers spent four of their seven draft picks on defensive players. Continuing to build upon that defense should still be the team’s top priority during the offseason. But there are needs along the offensive side of the ball that The Chargers will need to address albeit free agency or the draft. One position that has remained in flux over the last couple of years for Los Angeles has been its offensive line. Should the team look to the draft to solve their issues, one option could be Miami Offensive Tackle, Tyree St. Louis.
A 4-star recruit out of IMG Athletic Academy, St. Louis was highly sought after by several college programs. The Florida native turned down offers from Tennessee, USC, Florida, Kentucky, and Florida State before choosing to enroll at the University of Miami. St. Louis began his college career as a contributor on special teams as a freshman. It wasn’t until the midpoint of his sophomore year that he became a permanent starter on the Canes offensive line.
St. Louis was installed at right tackle and provided an improvement to an offense that averaged 425.9 yards per game in 2016. His growth as a starter continued the following year as a junior as he allowed only four combined quarterback hits and just one pressure in eight of 12 games in 2017. Following the departure of former Cane tackle K.C. McDermott to the NFL last year, Miami Head Coach Mark Richt reshuffled his offensive line for the 2018 season by moving St. Louis from right to left tackle. However, the transition did not go as smooth as hoped as St. Louis’s play was inconsistent throughout the year and at times looked badly out of position.
Despite a down year after making his transition, St. Louis has displayed plenty of qualities that will transition to the NFL. Compiling 33 starts over the past three seasons, the 21-year-old offensive tackle has proven to be an athletic and versatile blocker. St. Louis possesses a solid base frame showing good balance and strength. He does an exceptional job getting downfield to the second level in the running game. For a player of St. Louis’ size, he is surprisingly agile. He shows a good first step and quick footwork that helps maintain protection on the edge.
St. Louis will need to make adjustments to his technique at the next level. His hand placement can use some additional work as he sometimes goes too wide on defenders and can get beat with a bull-rush. St. Louis will also need to improve the angles he takes off the snap to prevent himself from being out of position against pass rushers.
St. Louis is one of the few big name tackles that will be coming out of the ACC, so teams will definitely have an eye on him over the next couple of months. He will have plenty of opportunities to elevate his draft stock at the East/West Shrine game and the NFL combine. Despite his versatility at both tackle positions, St. Louis is best suited as a right tackle in the NFL and is currently projected as a second or third-day prospect.
For the Chargers, offensive tackle Joe Barksdale has not lived up to expectations over the past few years and seems to have faded into a reserve role on the roster. This season Barksdale has only played on 21 percent of the offensive snaps as former 7th round pick Sam Tevi has seen more time as a starter. Los Angeles can avoid a $6.3 Million hit against the cap if they release Barksdale before next season.
If the Chargers choose to address their depth at offensive line through the draft, the team could look at St. Louis as a developmental player that could blossom into a future starter.