What position will Chargers offensive lineman Forrest Lamp play in 2018?
General manager Tom Telesco and head coach Anthony Lynn spoke to the media at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, and they told us what they have in mind for the Chargers’ 2017 second-round pick.
Telesco stated that the team views Forrest Lamp as a guard. However, nothing will be handed to him after missing his entire rookie season due to injury.
“He still has a lot of work to do,” Telesco said during his press conference. “I don’t think anyone’s just going to give somebody a position. But we’re excited about him. We’re excited about what he can bring to our offensive line.”
Lynn also told reporters that he expects Lamp to return to right guard, a position he was playing–and likely going to start at–prior to tearing his ACL in last year’s training camp.
“Losing Forrest last year was big. I saw enough in a week to know what he could’ve done for the rest of the season. He’s working his way back right now. He’s not quite back yet. With him back in the lineup at that right guard position, I’m expecting him to pick up where he left off last year.” – Chargers.com
Many fans thought Lamp, the former Western Kentucky Hilltoppers’ left tackle, could potentially replace right tackle Joseph Barksdale, who might be a cap casualty in 2018. Lamp did get some reps at that position, but it’s clear the Chargers want to go forward with him as their starting right guard. Kenny Wiggins, last year’s starter at right guard, is an unrestricted free agent. The Chargers will likely move on from the 29-year-old veteran lineman, especially if he wants top dollar.
The Chargers have a decision to make at tackle. Do they keep Barksdale, who is scheduled to make a base salary of $4.5 million in 2018, around for one more year before potentially releasing him in 2019 (the final year of his deal)? Do they have faith in 2017 sixth-round pick Sam Tevi, who played well in his lone start at left tackle against the New York Jets this past season? Will they re-sign tackle/guard Michael Schofield, who replaced the injured Barksdale for five starts at right tackle and did a fairly decent job?
Will they look to add a tackle in free agency or the draft? Nate Solder, who’s been the Patriots’ starting left tackle the past seven years, is going to want left tackle money; the Chargers already paid Russell Okung last offseason. Patriots backup tackle Cameron Fleming and Steelers backup tackle Chris Hubbard are young players who earned quality playing time in 2017 due to injuries to their fellow teammates; they’re at the top of an underwhelming list of free-agent tackles. In regards to the draft, Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey and Texas’ Connor Williams are two solid options. However, the Chargers would most likely have to use their first-round pick on one, as both are not expected to fall out of the first round. Upgrading the defense (DT, LB or S) in Round 1 should be the top priority, so looking for a tackle in the middle rounds would make more sense.