The biggest hole that the LA Chargers had on the offensive side of the football heading into training camp was right tackle. Tom Telesco did not address the position at all and instead left it open for Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins to battle it out.
Norton was the starter last season but was coming off of a disastrous Week 18 showing that catapulted him to finishing second in the NFL in total pressures allowed. Pipkins has been a developmental tackle that has been with the team since 2019 and has not shown enough to start.
All that being said, there was still optimism that all of the talent on the rest of the offensive line as well as the competition itself would elevate one of these players to being a quality starter. While neither player has really taken the opportunity by the horns, the team does seem to have its answer despite not officially announcing it yet.
Trey Pipkins is likely going to be the starting right tackle of the LA Chargers.
Trey Pipkins always seemed to be the favorite for the position from the get-go. Norton's 2021 season did him a disservice while Pipkins had a really good showing in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos when he was asked to spot start for Norton.
There was a lot of buzz over the summer about the strides that Pipkins made with offensive line coach Duke Mayweather as it appeared that the developmental tackle had finally turned a corner and was ready for the starting job.
While Pipkins is likely going to get that job, he still is not to a place where most Chargers fans will be happy. There have still been some issues for Pipkins, especially in the joint practice against the Dallas Cowboys. Justin Herbert was sacked an astronomical (and unofficial) eight times in that joint practice.
The Bolts can help Pipkins and make his life easier by utilizing different blocking schemes and giving him help on the edge in the form of Tre' McKitty. However, Pipkins still has to produce the base-line blocking ability for the Bolts and right now that does not seem to be a guarantee for the fourth-year tackle.
Pipkins will instantly be tested in Week 1 of the NFL season as well as the Chargers have a rematch against the Las Vegas Raiders. Maxx Crosby does not want any of that smoke from Rashawn Slater, meaning that he will likely be lined up on Pipkins' side as he looks to do better than Norton did last season.
Luckily, Pipkins has more help on his left via Zion Johnson, so that will help the Chargers scheme for Crosby a bit better than they did last season.
After that Pipkins will get reps against some younger guys like George Karlaftis and Travon Walker, which should favor him. His next elite test is in Week 5 against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns.