Finally, it’s Forrest Lamp time.
Lamp, in all his glory, was born and raised in Venice, Florida where he attended the local Venice High School. In 2011, his senior season at Venice, Lamp was named to the First-Team All-Area and First-Team All-State squads for his impressive performances on either side of the line. His efforts also earned him an invitation to the FACA North-South All-Star Game and a two-star ranking by most scouting sites.
He redshirted his first year on campus at Western Kentucky, but once he got onto the field, there was no stopping Lamp from being the stalwart he would become for the Hilltoppers. In his redshirt freshman season, Lamp started 12 games with 10 of them coming at left tackle. He was named an Honorable Mention All-Sunbelt that season.
From 2014-2016, Lamp started every game, minus two to injury, as the team’s blindside protector. Through his final three seasons, Lamp started 13, 14, and 12 games, respectively, earning First-Team All-Sunbelt honors in each campaign. As a senior, he was named as the program’s first player to ever garner USA Today All-American honors on top of being named to the AP All-American team. Lamp has the rare ability to claim he blocked for WKU’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, receiving yards and touchdowns, total points scored, and total touchdowns.
Now that’s something to hang your hat on.
All of that culminated into a rare invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and that year’s NFL Scouting Combine.
While in Indianapolis, Lamp put on one of the best performances by an offensive lineman in his class. At 309 pounds, he ran a 5.00 in the forty, bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times, and broad jumped 9’3.
After being one of, if not, the too offensive lineman in the entire draft class, Lamp somehow fell out of the first round into the lap of the Chargers at the top of the second. Oh, what a day that was...sigh.
Forrest Lamp selected No. 38 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers, becoming the highest NFL Draft pick in WKU history pic.twitter.com/mmVgvNUIQl— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) April 28, 2017
Right, where was I?
Yes, the hype around Lamp was enormous. He was fully-expected to be the team’s new starting guard for the 2017 season but fate had different plans. On the first day of pads that training camp, Lamp fell victim to a torn ACL that would effectively his rookie season away from him before he ever got started.
He came back in 2018 to play sparingly, earning snaps in just two games. In his third year, due to an injury to starting center Mike Pouncey, Lamp saw his first two professional starts come at left guard after Dan Feeney moved to the pivot. But those great times lasted less than a few weeks as Lamp succumbed to a foot injury that would sideline him for the remainder of the year.
College: Western Kentucky
Years with team: 3
“Forrest Lamp signed a 4 year, $6,666,920 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $2,988,669 signing bonus, $3,756,711 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,666,730. In 2020, Lamp will earn a base salary of $1,374,125, while carrying a cap hit of $2,121,293 and a dead cap value of $747,168.” - Spotrac.com
Lamp entered the 2017 draft as the highest-rated offensive tackle in the country in terms of pass-blocking efficiency. You literally couldn’t get much better than his 99.3 grade which is out of 100.
We think the Chargers got a good one in Forrest Lamp pic.twitter.com/0jEMK6xeKY— PFF (@PFF) July 28, 2017
Lamp also left WKU with a pass-blocking grade of 88.2. When compared to the top tackles drafted the year prior in 2016, Lamp bests them all. What’s more insane is the names on the list. All four - Conklin, Stanley, Tunsil, and Decker - are now prominant young players in the NFL at their positions. Tunsil is the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL and Stanley could easily beat him out in that facet in the near future. So you can plainly see why it’s so frustrating that Lamp hasn’t gotten things to fall his way just yet as a professional.
Forrest Lamp's 2016 pass-blocking grade surpassed what any of 2016's first-round lineman did in their final college season. pic.twitter.com/sESWL3bzY7— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 24, 2017
At the end of the day, Lamp is equally talented as a pass protector and run blocker. He’s extremely well-built and one of the more naturally gifted lineman on the Chargers. Is this finally his year? God, I hope so.
Lack of health, bad luck, and unfortunate timing have been the bane of Lamp’s existence since being drafted by the Chargers. After missing just two games in his four-year starting career at WKU, the ACL tear to begin his rookie season could have been seen as a fluke. But the second he got his shot to start last season, he fell victim to a serious foot injury that once again canceled the remainder of his season. In three years, he has two starts to his name and has played in just nine total. I hate, HATE to say it, but this is the pivotal year for Lamp’s time in Los Angeles. If he can’t carve out a spot on the offensive line, I don’t see him sticking around past 2020.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Lamp makes this roster as a primary backup and potential starter at the left guard spot. Although Anthony Lynn and Tom Telesco have mentioned his name in passing as a player who could start at left tackle, I highly doubt he gets the same opportunity as either Trey Pipkins or Sam Tevi, even though he SHOULD. Here’s to hoping that the arrival of James Campen gives Lamp the fresh start that his career truly needs.