This selection is by far the most surprising of the Chargers’ draft up to this point. With several names on the board at other position of need (cornerback, defensive interior, offensive tackle), the team decided to select a Division II player.
It’s a big need, don’t get me wrong. More surprising at the moment than disappointing simply due to shock factor. Pipkins is more highly-regarded by analysts than I initially let on. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had Pipkins as a projected fourth-round pick who possesses all the intangibles for an NFL linemen.
At 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds, the East-West Shrine Game invitee has prototypical size and athletic ability for the position. However, Zierlein doesn’t think Pipkins should see the field in his first season, calling him a “likely practice squad candidate early on”.
Sioux Falls OT Trey Pipkins is an interesting day three prospect. Has the size and movement skills to play on the left side. Balance, foot speed, knee bend to mirror and strong hands. Has NFL caliber pass sets. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/6oq5mYcDBh— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 19, 2019
In the end, the Chargers went and got their athlete at offensive tackle with the hopes of creating some competition at the right tackle position. With NFL-level pass sets and some surprisingly smooth footwork, let’s hope the former small-school player can take that large step forward when he arrives in Costa Mesa.