The LA Chargers are in an interesting position when it comes to right tackle heading into the 2022 season. Los Angeles did not sign nor draft a right tackle in the offseason, leaving several options to potentially explore that are already on the roster.
When it comes to traditional right tackle options, the Bolts have Storm Norton, who started all season at the position last year, and Trey Pipkins, a developmental tackle taken in 2019 that has never shown the progress that was expected of him.
Then there is the option of kicking Matt Feiler out to right guard and either starting Jamaree Salyer or Brenden Jaimes at guard. Feiler can certainly play right tackle and if the Bolts are comfortable with either of those young offensive linemen playing guard then that could be the way the team goes.
One thing is for certain, just about every Charger fan does not want to see Norton be the starting right tackle in 2022. The last thing that we saw from Norton was him getting absolutely torched by Maxx Crosby in Week 18 last season. It was not a pretty sight.
However, that one horrible game does not equate for an entire season, and when you break down Norton's entire 2021 campaign, you would be a bit shocked.
Storm Norton was better for the LA Chargers in 2021 than you think.
I want to be on the record and say that this is not an article petitioning for Storm Norton to start at right tackle next season. However, the Chargers should obviously be going for the option who looks the best during camp and the preseason. I would not be totally shocked if Norton ends up being the best option. Is he the favorite? Absolutely not. But outright removing him from the conversation is silly.
First of all, Norton is a capable run blocker who can more than hold his own on the right side. He is by no means the run blocker that Rashawn Slater is, but put Tre' McKitty on that right side and Norton can do just fine.
When it comes to pass-blocking, Norton was really just bogged down by three really bad games in 2021. Don't get me wrong, part of being a good offensive lineman is not having these disaster games like Week 18 but Norton had far more good games than he did bad games last season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Norton allowed 11 pressures in Week 18, eight pressures in Week 8 against New England and nine pressures in Week 2 against Dallas. There were two other games that were not good but were not a complete disaster. He allowed six pressures in the first Vegas game and five pressures against New York.
Norton played 16 games in 2021 (one of which was half of a game in Week 1). In 11 of his 16 games last season, Norton allowed three or fewer pressures. Ten of those games he allowed two or fewer pressures.
Norton's three awful games accounted for 28 of his 60 pressures allowed last season. That means that in the other 12 games he allowed just 32 pressures for an average of 2.7 pressure per game.
Yes, part of the reason why those numbers actually are not that bad is the nature of the Chargers' offense last season with a quick-strike approach and the help the team would give Norton with chips on the right side. Is Norton as good as someone else with those exact same numbers? Probably not.
However, if he cleans up his game and continues to develop as a player (remember, this is just his third year in the league) then he could at least be a serviceable candidate to play at right tackle.
It definitely is not the best option, but if the Chargers got a slightly better version of Norton in 2022 starting at right tackle then it definitely would not be the end of the world. They could win games with that.