It shocked everyone among the fan base. If you say it didn’t, I don’t believe you.
What I’m referring to is the Chargers making the decision to completely pass on drafting an offensive tackle in this year’s draft. To be honest, if it wasn’t a tackle, I could have easily seen them draft another interior lineman, too. But they didn’t and now the question of “who will play left tackle?” is right where it was prior to this past weekend.
ESPN gathered their NFL beat writers to ask each one what the biggest question was that each club still needed to answer following this year’ NFL draft. For the Bolts, Lindsey Thiry said this:
“The Chargers filled several position needs through the draft but must still determine who will play left tackle as they did not select a tackle with any of their six picks. “I’m comfortable with what we have,” coach Anthony Lynn said after the draft. But after trading Russell Okung to the Panthers, it’s unclear if Trey Pipkins or Sam Tevi will be able to step up.”
As things stand, the Chargers have thrown out four names who could eventually the job out of camp. The options, according to Tom Telesco and Lynn are:
- Sam Tevi - 6’5 315 pounds
- Trey Pipkins - 6’6 304 pounds
- Storm Norton - 6’7 317 pounds
- Forrest Lamp - 6’4 310 pounds
Two of those options, Norton and Pipkins, have always been a left tackle in the NFL. Tevi has spent most of his time at right tackle being the starter there over the last two seasons and Lamp has been a guard but excelled at left tackle for four years while in college. Tevi, Pipkins, and Norton are all built like the prototypical left tackles in the NFL. They’re all on the athletic side, as well.
Tevi and Norton are at their best when they get into space and become the lead-blockers for the backs. They have a knack for proper body control have success latching on to defenders at the second level. Pipkins was one of the better testers at the combine in 2019 and Telesco mentioned he liked his feet following last year’s draft.
Rookie Trey Pipkins and FB Derek Watt doing a nice job of getting out front and paving the way for RB Justin Jackson. Gain of 16 yards. There’s no denying Pipkins’ athleticism. pic.twitter.com/hSLUAgVIhr— Chargers Wire (@TheChargersWire) August 18, 2019
Lamp was also one of the most-athletic offensive linemen in the entire 2017 draft but was kicked inside to guard for a lack of length. As things stand, Lamp has always seemed like the best option to play LT but he has only spent time at guard since being drafted. You also can’t forget all the missed time due to injuries.
In Tom Telesco’s latest Zoom call with media, he mentioned that the offense is changing to help out some of these younger guys and it always seems to be noted whenever Sam Tevi at left tackle gets brought up. It truly seems like they think the new offensive scheme will help potential shortcomings with one or more of these current options.
I’ve always had a man-crush on Lamp. It’s been well-documented. Of course I want him to win the starting job but I’m open to any of these players if it means the best outcome for the Chargers. Until it actually happens, I just can’t rely on the team to sign a Jason Peters or another trusted veteran. For the time being, I’m slowly getting used to the idea of one of these players being the blindside protector for Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor.