The LA Chargers have a new-look offensive line in 2020.
For a moment, there probably were signs pointing to a decent offensive line for the LA Chargers in 2019. Russell Okung was still solid and Mike Pouncey was coming off of a pretty good pass blocking year in 2018.
As Chargers fans know, Okung would suffer a pulmonary embolism that wrecked his regular season. That’s before even getting to Pouncey’s neck injury that caused major line shuffle as well.
The Chargers knew they couldn’t stand pat on the offensive line any longer. First, Okung was traded for Carolina’s Trai Turner,a five-time Pro Bowler at right guard.
After the Chargers missed out on Tom Brady, they decided to spend some of that money on other free agents, one of which was Green Bay’s Bryan Bulaga. He’ll shore up the right tackle spot for the team.
In addition to those two new installments on the offensive line, Pouncey was cleared to play recently and will start the 2020 season. That leaves uncertainty at two spots on the offensive line-left guard and left tackle.
LA Chargers’ right tackle:
Bulaga was the Chargers’ premier free-agent acquisition. While they also acquired Chris Harris and Linval Joseph, offensive tackle was clearly the most important position of need.
For the last few years, Sam Tevi has manned the right tackle spot to mostly underwhelming results. He was slightly better in 2019 in comparison to 2018, but still only reached a 59.8 overall grade. While Tevi improved as a pass blocker, it wasn’t enough of an improvement to rely on him to take starter-level snaps in 2020.
Again, to Tevi’s credit, he’s gotten better. There still is no comparison between him and Bulaga though. Bulaga scored a 77.8 PFF overall grade, while scoring 15 points higher than Tevi as a pass blocker, and about 20 as a run blocker. In the last two seasons, Bulaga has allowed 48 pressures. 101 pressures were given up by Tevi in the same time frame.
Bulaga is projected to be a great addition to the line. In a way, he’s the most important piece of the line now. If he’s healthy, the Chargers are set for the next three years. Bulaga played all 16 games in 2019. In 2017 and 2018 though, Bulaga played a combined 19 games out of a possible 32.
There are some injury concerns with Bulaga, even if he played a 16 game season last year. If he’s out, the Chargers probably won’t be able to stop the bleeding at the position by throwing Tevi back at right tackle or shifting the line. He’s a great offensive line piece, but the depth behind him at the position concerns me.