The offensive line has been somewhat of a black box for the Chargers the last couple of seasons. While its general purpose is of course known, the results have been all over the map. Especially in Anthony Lynn’s four years as head coach, the Chargers featured lines of varying quality.
These included groups with inconsistent (read: injured) veterans (Russell Okung, Mike Pouncey and Matt Slauson), draft busts (Forrest Lamp) and players in over their head (Sam Tevi). LA has come a long way since the dark days of the 5-11 2019 season, with the current Bolts offensive line potentially at its highest level since the mid-2000s when it featured multiple Pro Bowlers (i.e. Nick Hardwick and Marcus McNeil). Anchored by a stellar left side of the line, the Bolts have a chance at fielding *checks notes* one of the best units in the league next season.
So as the NFL Draft nears, Bolt Beat takes a closer look at how the Chargers can improve on their offensive line unit with some solid gems in the mid-rounds. Also, giving credit where it is due, a lot of the information here does come from Dane Brugler’s stellar 2022 NFL Draft Guide – “The Beast” (288 pages!). Also, with multiple scenarios potentially still on the table, the Chargers will be doing their best to find the best steals possible in the later rounds.
Chargers mid-round target no. 4: Nicholas Petit-Frere, redshirt junior from Ohio State
A mammoth tackle at 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds (well, everyone on this list is giant), the Ohio State offensive lineman is currently projected as a third or fourth-round selection (99th overall) according to Brugler’s guide. In terms of strengths, Petit-Frere does have prototypical NFL size along with being a spry athlete in the trenches. He also has starting experience at both left and right tackle and was recognized as a First-Team All-American in 2021. He also has added over 40 pounds to his frame since high school and played on a number of high-level squads with the Buckeyes.
While the First-Team All-Big Ten pick started 19 games in his Ohio State career (12 at left tackle and seven at right), he does have some weaknesses in his game. He was not spectacular in big-time performances against Michigan and Penn State last season and also must improve his hand level and hand technique in the running game.
Also, as pointed out in The Athletic’s breakdown, Petit-Frere does have a high ceiling because of his size, quickness and higher-end instincts that NFL coaches love, but he is more of a project in terms of full development. He does have the measurements to develop into an NFL starter, but the Chargers are in a win-now mode (given Herbert’s rookie deal) which does not make him as enticing as a prospect.