The Los Angeles Chargers drafted offensive linemen in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL draft. Here, we look back on the rookie year put together by Dan Feeney.
The offseason rookie report cards are rolling out. Wide receiver Mike Williams has received his grade and now it’s time to evaluate the team’s third-round pick. Feeney is up next because second-round pick Forrest Lamp missed the entire season.
The Chargers achieved more success than many felt they would in 2017, but the season-ending injury to Lamp was among the biggest low points of the year. Selected with the No. 38 overall pick, the argument could be made that the Chargers could have gotten the steal of the entire draft as Lamp was considered a first-round pick by nearly every draft analyst.
But that never came to fruition because he never took the field. Though Lamp could still end up proving to be that steal of the draft, his rookie grade has to be an incomplete until we see what he can do.
Moving onto Feeney, what a rough start he got off to.
Though it certainly wasn’t the only reason or even the main reason the Chargers were defeated by the Denver Broncos in the season opener, he sure drew plenty of ire for allowing the Broncos’ Shelby Harris push right past him in order to block Younghoe Koo’s field-goal attempt to tie the game.
It looked like Feeney may be in for a rough season as a rookie after that start, but boy did he turn things around.
Feeney ended up starting nine games after Matt Slauson went down for the year. He literally seemed to get better and show something new each week.
Noted for his toughness and intelligent play, Feeney made the Chargers look good for taking him in the third round. Take a look at these two blocks.
When this team gets Forrest Lamp back they're gonna really be in business. Rookie LG Dan Feeney taking care of business here: pic.twitter.com/v1ZWbKY8Oz
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) November 22, 2017
The Chargers can still use a better overall effort from the offensive line, but it improved by leaps and bounds in 2017. The team allowed just 18 sacks all season, the least of any team in the league.
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The team likely wanted Feeney to sit back and soak up what he could as a rookie while watching veterans such as Slauson, Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale. When he was thrust into the lineup, it could have easily gone south for the rookie.
But he stepped up and played well, so well that he’s likely earned himself a starting role going forward. That could be up for debate, but that’s how I see it.
He still has room to grow, but I think you can look back on his rookie season as a very positive one. In my opinion, the line played better as a unit with him in than it did while Slauson was healthy. Fans should be highly encouraged about what Feeney can do in year two, especially once you add the versatile Lamp to the mix.