As the Chargers prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will review their list. Part 7 of 10: Offensive line.
Throughout the 2019 season, Philip Rivers publicly supported his offensive linemen.
The veteran quarterback never failed to note his commitment and his desire to protect him. The fact that they cared deeply, Rivers said more than once, which is why he appreciated them so much as teammates.
It was not until December that coach Anthony Lynn suggested that Rivers’ difficulties could be linked to the irregular performance of the offensive line, the first open admission that there was a problem.
Now there is a very real chance that the Chargers will open this season with four offensive liners other than the five who started the final last season.
So far, they have acquired right tackle Bryan Bulaga and right guard Trai Turner, while trading in left tackle Russell Okung.
They are hoping for the return of center Mike Pouncey, whose 2019 season ended after five starts due to a neck injury.
And Lynn has been frank about the possibility of adding a left tackle to start while the 2019 third round pick Trey Pipkins is allowed to grow further.
During an off-season in which they leave Rivers after 14 seasons, the Chargers have made it clear that the quarterback is not their only priority.
No matter what ends up at the left tackle, the biggest obstacle entering the season may be the ability of the rebuilt offensive line to freeze, which will not be allowed to start – at least in the traditional sense – for an offseason program which is virtual.
Given the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, who can be sure how much time the new Chargers liners will have in person before the season opens?
Bulaga described the times generally shared in April and May as “vital representatives”. He also noted that “it will be a different training camp for sure.”
“I’m more of a guy who likes to go out and rehearse things on the ground,” he said, explaining why gatherings such as Zoom meetings are not the same as tours or practices.
However, and each time the 2020 NFL season is played, the Chargers will start with a largely modified look up front.
Under contract for 2020: Turner ($ 9 million), Pouncey ($ 7.25 million), Bulaga ($ 4.833 million), Dan Fenney ($ 2.364 million), Sam Tevi ($ 2.173 million), Forrest Lamp ($ 2.141 million), Pipkins (894 $ 269), Scott Quessenberry ($ 821,063), Trent Scott ($ 750,000), Cole Toner ($ 750,000), Koda Martin ($ 613,000), Tyree St. Louis ($ 610,000), Storm Norton.
Free agents: Longtime tackle veteran Jason Peters remains available, and the belief is that the Chargers have an interest in the Pro Bowler nine times. At 38, Peters has spent the past 11 seasons with Philadelphia.
Draft copy: The 2020 class is considered strong on tackle. If the Chargers were more comfortable in the quarterback, there is no doubt that they would read a left tackle with choice # 6. As it stands, they are still candidates to take an offensive lineman early .
List decisions: Feeney is the incumbent incumbent of the left guard, with Lamp among those who are also competing for the position. A second-round pick in 2017, Lamp has appeared in just nine games in an injury-damaged career. It is entering its most pivotal season to date.
NEXT: Running backs.