It took until Week 8 to get third-round draft pick Dan Feeney the start, but the former Indiana guard showed why he was worth the selection.
Losing stinks, and sometimes many positives from a game can be overlooked. Players like defensive back Desmond King, safety Jahleel Addae, defensive end Joey Bosa and wide receiver Travis Benjamin (not including his very “special” teams contributions) all ranked top five at their position in Week 8, according to Pro Football Focus.
But those guys are flashy. This article belongs to the big boy, Dan Feeney.
Since being selected by the Chargers in the third round, Feeney has worked hard to crack the starting lineup, even occasionally rotating with the starters on certain plays. When veteran guard Matt Slauson went down, Feeney was ready to rumble.
On a day where Melvin Gordon rushed (only) 14 times for 132 yards and a touchdown, the guard from Indiana made several great blocks, including a nice one on Gordon’s 87-yard touchdown:
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 29, 2017
You can see No. 66 get off the line and out in front in a hurry, cutting down a defender before he has a chance to stop Gordon. Feeney has had some great open-field blocks this year, demonstrating great athleticism and awareness.
However, he was even more effective as a pass blocker. According to PFF, Feeney did not allow a single quarterback pressure across 30 pass-blocking snaps. Full disclosure: He did it against a team without defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Dont’a Hightower lining up against him, but he still excelled nonetheless. In fact, PFF gave him the highest offensive guard grade of the week:
Our top graded guards from Week 8 pic.twitter.com/FwsLqkY2Q7
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 1, 2017
It’s really just one start, but having to watch countless awful offensive linemen protect possibly the greatest player in Chargers’ history has been frustrating. Someone like Dan Feeney coming in and doing even a half-decent job, let alone an excellent job, has me excited for the future. If Forrest Lamp can come in and stabilize another position next season, then Gordon may not have a -10.0 yards before contact average (joking, but sure feels like it…).
Finally, an early 2017 draft pick looks to be paying off.