When starting left tackle Rashawn Slater went down in week three against the Jaguars, it was safe to assume the worst as he was helped off the field while cradling his arm in discomfort. Not long after that game, it was reported that Slater was set to miss the remainder of the regular season with a torn bicep while the team still held out hope for a potential playoff return.
Ultimately, the Chargers turned to rookie guard Jamaree Salyer who just came off a 2021 season where he helped lead the Georgia Bulldogs to a national championship while playing left tackle. The move ended up working gloriously as Salyer held down the spot for the rest of the year.
It was this effort by the 2022 sixth-round pick that earned him the nod for the Chargers’ most underrated player, according to a new piece by Pro Football Focus.
“Drafted in the sixth round prior to last season, Salyer was thrust into the starting LT job in Week 4 in 2022 and maintained that job through the end of the year,” says author William Moy. “Salyer finished the season ranked 31st out of 58 tackles who saw at least 600 offensive snaps in terms of overall grade, but he ranked 20th with his 76.4 pass-blocking grade while tallying up the 12th most pass-blocking snaps among all tackles.”
By the end of the year, Salyer finished with an overall grade of 69.8. By PFF’s standards, a 60.0 is simply average or “just another guy” in the NFL. Salyer falling just short of 70.0 lets us know he was slightly above average which is more than most would have expected prior to his play as a rookie.
Heading into this training camp, Jamaree Salyer is expected to slot in at right guard while 2022 first-rounder Zion Johnson is expected to replace Matt Feiler at left guard. While keeping as much continuity a possible sounds like the way to go, Johnson played left guard at Boston College so the Chargers believe that should be where he stays for the long haul.
With as talented as they believe Salyer is, the switch to the right side isn’t likely deemed a huge bump in the road, either.
Chargers sixth-round rookie Jamaree Salyer might be the story of the week. Never played tackle for the Chargers (guard in preseason), and hadn't played in the regular season until Week 4. He replaced Rashawn Slater at left tackle, no pressures, killer run blocks, and this twofer. pic.twitter.com/Zv4N7bpeHT— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) October 4, 2022