If there is one problem that the LA Chargers have consistently had throughout the years it is the offensive line. Philip Rivers was long plagued with unbearable amounts of pass rush that always limited what the team could do.
That was the case in 2020 as well as Justin Herbert played behind a horrible offensive line. Luckily, Herbert was the best quarterback in the league under pressure in his rookie season so he was able to still succeed. It definitely sent a message to the front office and new head coach Brandon Staley saw that message as well.
As a result, the Chargers have spent the last two offseasons rebuilding the offensive line. The team brought in three new starters in 2021 in Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler and Rashawn Slater. This year, the Bolts used the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to take the best guard in the class, Zion Johnson.
All of these efforts are paying off as the Chargers went from having a bottom three offensive line in the league two seasons ago to having one of the best in the league ahead of the 2022 season. Justin Boone of The Score recently ranked all 32 offensive lines in the league and the Chargers checked in at no. 8.
This is a fair placement for the Bolts and proves just how much the team has grown in two offseasons with Staley. The best part? The Chargers likely won't stay at eighth throughout the year.
The LA Chargers offensive line might end up being even better than anticipated.
The great thing about the LA Chargers offensive line this season is that as long as everyone stays healthy, the group has a relatively high floor that we can predict. The only regression candidate on the offensive line is Matt Feiler, who might be the fourth-best member of the line anyway.
Plus, just because he is the only regression candidate does not mean he will actually regress. At this point in his career, he probably is not taking his game to a whole new level, but we know what we will likely see out of him.
Corey Linsley and Rashawn Slater are both All-Pro talents and this projection reflect that. As long as Linsley plays at the same level it is a big win and Slater will inevitably improve even more in his second year in the league.
The biggest x-factors are on the right side of the offensive line. While people throughout the league respect Zion Johnson and know that he will be a positive presence in year one, there is a good chance that even he shocks people with how polished he is out of college.
I would not expect him to be at an All-Pro level in year one like Slater but there absolutely is a world in which he is a Pro Bowler. Not many people seem to be expecting that out of Johnson, even if they expect him to be good.
Most projections seem to just accept the right tackle position being the one hole on this offensive line. While it is undoubtedly the weakest point of the line, there is also potential there for it to be better than expected. Just imagine if Trey Pipkins wins the job and is a league-average right tackle for the Bolts. That would be absolutely massive.
There is a world in which the Bolts have an All-Pro left tackle, an above-average left guard, an All-Pro center, a Pro Bowl right guard and an average right tackle. That sounds like a top-five offensive line in the sport to me.