Even after spending a ton of resources to renovate the most of all but one position along the offensive line, the Chargers are still looking for another offensive lineman to either nab early in this year’s draft or to sign in free agency. That’s how bad the play was that they got out of Storm Norton and their right tackle spot.
A couple of the draft’s top tackles will be gone by the time the Chargers select at #17 but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a shortage of notable offensive line prospects. North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu and Alabama’s Evan Neal will likely both be gone within the top-15 picks which means the Chargers could easily snag one of the top three lineman in the entire class.
One lineman who will likely be there at #17 is Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere, a redshirt junior who is looking to be the next great tackle out of the storied program.
At 6’5 and 315 pounds, Petit-Frere has the prototypical build for an edge protector in the NFL. He’s long through the arms and dense through his core which allows him to take on a variety of pass rushers.
While Petit-Frere started for the Buckeyes on the left side in 2021, he spent the entire 2020 season manning the right side where he showed just as much ability. There were also times this past season where he was needed on the right side for a drive or two, so he’s not going to be that far removed from seeing notable snaps on that side. That’s great news for a team likely looking to convert a collegiate left tackle to the other side.
The most casual snatch by Nicholas Petit-Frere (LT) pic.twitter.com/yAfzxWdScP— Steven Haglund (@StevenIHaglund) January 19, 2022
In Petit-Frere’s draft profile over at The Draft Network where he’s ranked as the site’s #22 overall prospect, draft analystKyle Crabbs believes his best fit at the next level is in a zone-heavy system but he’s skilled and versatile enough to thrive in just about any scheme you want to utilize him in. In the Twitter video above, you can see Petit-Frere’s snatch technique which looks incredibly naturally. He’s able to pinpoint his opponent’s hands in a fraction of a second, grab ahold of one, and put him in the dirt instantaneously.
Crabbs likens Petit-Frere to Baltimore Ravens tackle and former top-10 pick, Ronnie Stanley. Stanley has recently missed time due to injuries, but before 2021 he was considered one of the best offensive tackles in the entire league.
And so you can see a bit of him playing right tackle, here’s a clip from 2020 where he shows scouts that he’s got the tenacity to play until the whistle. Similar to what Rashawn Slater showed immediately as a rookie, if Petit-Frere can bring that same finisher mentality to the other side of the line, look out.
I've talked about him before but keep the name Nicholas Petit-Frere (Ohio State RT 78) circled. Look at him here just going to the whistle. Love it! We'll talk about him in the fall. pic.twitter.com/8UnMRFe9X3— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) April 10, 2021
Chargers fans will be playing tug-of-war all offseason long when it comes to whether the team should take a defensive or offensive lineman in the first round of this year’s draft. To be honest, I think both are up there in the top-three. However, we’ll get a much clearer picture of their draft plans once free agency begins the prior month in March. If the Chargers sign a player at either position, that’ll immediately improve the chances of the other getting taken with the first-round pick.
As always, let me know what you think if Petit-Frere in the comments below and let me know what other players you’d like to see me profile en route to April’s draft.