LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: Grading the 2020 offensive line

By Alexander Insdorf
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Trey Pipkins #79 of the Los Angeles Chargers before playing the Green Bay Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 3, 2019 in Carson, California. Chargers won 26-11. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Trey Pipkins #79 of the Los Angeles Chargers before playing the Green Bay Packers at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 3, 2019 in Carson, California. Chargers won 26-11. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

LA Chargers’ left tackle:

Let’s start here by saying there’s a lot of ways that the left tackle position battle could go. The LA Chargers could see some development from Trey Pipkins and go with him from week one. This is really my preferred option. While Pipkins still has a ways to go before he solidifies his spot as a starting tackle, he showed flashes down the stretch in 2019.

The Chargers could go out and sign a veteran. They still have plenty of cap room, and there does happen to be an experience left tackle on the market in Jason Peters. Peters is 38, and there is some level of injury concern. A one year deal sounds appealing when considering that he is currently better than any left tackle the Chargers have.

Tevi has to be a candidate for left tackle, even if that comes much to the chagrin of Chargers fans. He has the experience of two full seasons at tackle. Another option is surprisingly Forrest Lamp. Chargers’ offensive coordinator mentioned Lamp in the left tackle discussion earlier in the offseason, and many evaluators thought he could play tackle when he came out of college.

RELATED: All-Clutch team makes another case for Jason Peters

Signing Peters would be awesome, but it makes more sense as of now to talk about the two most likely players to be left tackle on the roster.

Trey Pipkins

Pipkins was always a developmental project, which is why the ire of Chargers’ fans at points last year was confusing. He wouldn’t have been playing if it wasn’t for the bevy of injuries that piled up.

Considering the situation, Pipkins was pretty good last year. I’ll probably catch flack for saying that, but he scored higher in both blocking categories than Tevi. He was also without a doubt much better as a blocker than Trent Scott.

Admittedly, Pipkins didn’t play the amount of snaps than Scott or Tevi did. He started to play at the level towards the end of the season though. For his first career start, the Kansas City game in Mexico went much better than expected. He was still a little slow as a rookie left tackle, but did much better as a run blocker in that game than most thought he would.

If I had to guess, it’ll probably be Tevi or someone else who starts over Pipkins this year, simply due to the amount of experience. His time will come eventually.

Sam Tevi

The most likely option is Tevi converting from right to left tackle. It’s a fairly easy switch to make in comparison to switching from guard to tackle in Lamp’s case.

It’s understandable as to why fans are pessimistic on Tevi. He’s allowed a lot of pressures over the last two years and has been a liability at points. It’s worth pointing out that there was some improvement in 2019 though. Tevi graded 18 points higher as a pass blocker and allowed 21 fewer pressures when comparing 2019 to 2018.

He’s not the optimal left tackle when considering tackles around the league, but he’s a little better than he’s given credit for. He’s still fairly young, and having Bulaga through *hopefully* the whole season on the other side will benefit him in comparison to Okung’s injured season last year. That was responsible for a lot of the offensive line problems in 2019.

LA Chargers T grade: B-

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