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Chargers 90-in-90: OT Trey Pipkins

The former DII All-American is hoping to find some work as the team’s swing tackle in 2021.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, Pipkins starred on the offensive line for Apple Valley High School. As a junior, he helped lead his team to a 8-3 record and the school’s first appearance in the state playoffs in over 19 years. As a senior, he blocked for a quarterback that set school records in single-season passing yards and passing touchdowns.

Pipkins stayed fairly close to home by committing to play at the University of Sioux Falls where he was a three-year starter for the Cougars. After redshirting in 2014, Pipkins saw time in 10 games while playing mainly on special teams and sparingly on the line. In those limited snaps, he managed to allow zero sacks.

As a first time starter in 2016, he got the nod for all 10 games the team played and earned his first All-NSIC honor with the second team. He repeated the postseason accolade after starting 12 games the following year, as well. In 2018, Pipkins put the cherry on top of his lengthy college career by earning not only a First-Team All-NSIC selection, but he was also voted to the AP’s Division II All-American First Team. This was the season that helped him catch the eye of NFL scouts and it earned him an invite to the East-West Shrine Game to play against some of the best talent in the country.

In March of 2019, Pipkins also became the first player from Sioux Falls to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and he certainly did not disappoint. At 309 pounds, he ran a 5.12 forty-yard dash and jumped 33.5 inches in the vertical which was a top mark among all offensive linemen at the event.

Following Pipkins’ selection with the 91st pick, the Chargers had no intentions of having him see the field as a rookie. However, thanks to a string of injuries, Pipkins was called upon to start three games, including the final two of the season.

During his sophomore campaign, Pipkins lost the training camp battle to Sam Tevi for the starting left tackle spot. However, with nagging injuries to right tackle Bryan Bulaga, Pipkins ended up starting five games last year, mainly at right tackle.

Basic Info

Height: 6’6
Weight: 307
College: Sioux Falls
Experience: 2
Years with team: 2

Contract Status

“Trey Pipkins signed a 4 year, $3,607,576 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $877,076 signing bonus, $877,076 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $901,894. In 2021, Pipkins will earn a base salary of $850,000, while carrying a cap hit of $1,069,269 and a dead cap value of $438,538.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

Pipkins saw improved play from his rookie to sophomore season with a burlier build and a year of experience under his belt. He still offers the ideal physical makeup for a NFL tackle but missing an entire offseason due to the pandemic didn’t help his case. Especially for someone coming out of the Division II ranks.

He has the chance to win the swing tackle job in training camp.

The Bad

As I stated above, Pipkins saw improvement but it wasn’t the type of progression that moved the needle all that much. He failed to win the starting left tackle job as Sam Tevi beat him out in training camp but that’s may be more due to Tevi’s surprising improvement as opposed to Pipkins’ lack thereof. When Tevi left to sign with the Colts, that opened the door for Pipkins to take the left tackle job for himself, but the new coaching staff was obviously less-than-impressed and decided to spend their first-round pick on Rashawn Slater who figures to be the penciled-in starter on Justin Herbert’s blindside.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2021?

Pipkins will make the final roster as the team’s likely swing tackle. This is the best-case scenario for him as he only has to beat out Storm Norton for the role, but that may not be as easy as it sounds. Norton played admirably in his limited snaps a year ago so I’d expect a legitimate competition between those two. Aside from Norton, there isn’t anyone else worthy of being viewed as competition for Pipkins during camp.