Chargers Draft

Chargers face difficult decisions along the offensive line

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Offensive tackle Sam Tevi #69 of the Los Angeles Chargers battles defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans in the second half of the game at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Offensive tackle Sam Tevi #69 of the Los Angeles Chargers battles defensive end J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans in the second half of the game at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 08: Trey Pipkins III #79 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to an NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 08: Trey Pipkins III #79 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to an NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Chargers: Where do they make changes?

Is there a single trustworthy starter in this offensive line group? Okung has been the best, but no one is entirely sure about his future, and he’s even missed games due to football-related injuries this season. Feeney isn’t a reliable starter at left guard. Pouncey had a poor start to his season before a potentially career-ending injury forced him to the sidelines. Schofield is an above-average starter, and maybe their best bet to continue along as he has this season. Tevi is a train wreck. Quessenberry does not have the experience to be considered a lock just yet. Lamp is one of the team’s biggest draft disappointments ever. Pipkins, though promising, is the most inexperienced of all the linemen.

What a mess. Let’s try and sort it out.

Now, keep in mind, this is coming from the guy who believed there was no way the Chargers would pass up on an offensive tackle in the first round last season. So, even when all the signs point to one thing, the Chargers could go another way.

Let’s break this into two scenarios: One that should happen, and one that will happen.

Here’s what should happen:

  • LT: Okung
  • LG: Draft pick or free agent
  • C: Quessenberry
  • RG: Schofield
  • RT: Pipkins

Surprised to see Pipkins not only as a starter, but as the starter at right tackle?

His best performance in the preseason was against the Seahawks, particularly on a drive where he was tossing defenders playing right tackle. Moving him to the right side wouldn’t be the worst idea, particularly since he’s held his own at left tackle. Working together with Hunter Henry, Pipkins could do well in both the run and pass game.

The Chargers can use the depth of the 2020 NFL Draft to fill needs: One left guard taken earlier in the draft, and a swing tackle later on. The Chargers would now be two-deep at each position (though there is a drop off) with Feeney and Lamp backing up the guards, Feeney again an option at center, and the mid-round draft pick the option at either tackle spot (or right tackle if Pipkins takes left tackle in the even Okung is hurt).

Here’s what probably happens, however:

  • LT: Okung
  • LG: Feeney/Lamp
  • C: Quessenberry
  • RG: Schofield
  • RT: Tevi initially, but a draft pick will win the job

Both scenarios have just one new player added to the starting lineup, likely in the form of a draft pick. However, the first scenario maximizes what they can do and provides two upgrades, since Pipkins is no longer relegated to being just the backup tackle.

Next. Chargers: Defensive Mount Rushmore

How much can the Chargers trust Okung to stay healthy? Do they go with Pouncey or Quessenberry at center? Should they bring back Schofield? Is Lamp going to take the left guard job? How much depth along the line should this team have? These are all questions the Chargers must address this offseason, and answers must be found if they hope to be successful in their first year in their new stadium.

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