Whenever new players are added to the Chargers, we always have to take a look at how the move impacts the players already on the roster and within the shared position group. The selection of Zion Johnson in the first round last night didn’t necessarily shake up the whole team, but it did help us paint a clearer picture of how the Chargers are likely to attack the rest of the draft, as well as how they plan to trot out the offensive line in 2022.
Let’s go ahead and dive right in.
OT Trey Pipkins/OT Storm Norton
When the Chargers decided to draft Zion Johnson over the top remaining tackle on the board in Trevor Penning, at least for the time being, they decided to kick that need further on down the road in hopes of finding some value in the third or somewhere early on day three. So until they finally add another body, both Trey Pipkins and Storm Norton will remain in line to compete for the team’s starting right tackle spot.
Last year, Norton was the full-time starter following the injury to Bryan Bulaga. However, in two emergency starts (one at right and one at left), Pipkins looked like a completely different player than in years past. He played what may have been his best game against the Chiefs late in the year and also looked pretty dang good against the Broncos. On the flip-side, Norton looked every bit of a former XFL lineman against the Raiders in the regular season finale. It remains to be seen if the Chargers will let these two duke it out for a job this season, but my gut says it won’t end up being that simple.
Listeners to the pod have heard me rave about the Chargers' counter game and I just can't get enough. Look at Trey Pipkins go! pic.twitter.com/EiU9E5OJMb— #ZionJohnsonAt17 (@StevenIHaglund) January 5, 2022
OG Brenden Jaimes/OG Oday Aboushi
Prior to Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley’s media availability following the Johnson pick, it was assumed Johnson would likely stick at left guard which would then shift Matt Feiler out to right tackle. As ideal as that sounds, Telesco made it known that they view Johnson as a right guard, meaning the chances of re-signing Oday Aboushi likely just plummeted. At the same time, second-year lineman Brenden Jaimes saw his chances of earning a starting spot greatly diminish, as well.
The team needs depth along the front line so adding back Aboushi would still be a prime move, but you have to think the veteran would want to go elsewhere to potentially chase a starting gig. As for Jaimes, he could stand to put another year of development under his belt before getting the chance to break into a notable role. The Chargers used Senio Kelemete as a swing lineman on several occasions in 2021 so I’d expect that to be a job for Jaimes this coming season.
If you believe Johnson’s selection affected any other players, or any other position groups aside from the offensive line, let me know in the comments below!