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2017 Training Camp Preview: The Offensive Line

As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we'll preview each position for the Los Angeles Chargers.  Next up is the offensive line.

Russell Okung –The Bolts added one of the premiere tackles available in free agency when they inked Russell Okung to a four-year deal.  His arrival kicked off a whirlwind offseason in which Los Angeles revamped its offensive line.  A former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion, Okung figures to anchor the unit in 2017.

Matt Slauson –Last year's starting center spent most of the offseason at left guard.  Not afraid to mix it up, Slauson is a mauler up front who epitomizes toughness.  He emerged as a leader in his first year with the Chargers in 2016, and figures to play an important role molding the team's young interior linemen.

Forrest Lamp –Regarded by notable pundits as the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chargers somehow managed to land Forrest Lamp early in the second round when most thought he'd be off the board on day one. A four-year starter and two-time team captain at Western Kentucky, Lamp brings toughness, athleticism and power to the interior of the offensive line.

Dan Feeney –The Bolts doubled-down on day two of the NFL Draft, selecting Indiana product Dan Feeney in the third round.  The 6-4, 305-pound guard has also seen time at center during the offseason program.  Feeney won numerous honors each year with the Hoosiers, and was a first-team All-America pick as a senior last season.

Spencer Pulley –The center entered training camp a year ago fighting for a roster spot as an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt.  This year, he's fighting for a starting job.  Pulley endeared himself to the Chargers with his work ethic and no-nonsense approach. 

Joe Barksdale –Entering his third year with the Chargers, Joe Barksdale looks like he'll be the only starting member of last year's offensive line who'll return at his same spot this season.  The right tackle looks to revert to his 2015 form in which he was voted the team's lineman of the year.

Kenny Wiggins –Versatility is the key to Kenny Wiggins' success as he's capable of playing all five positions up front.  Wiggins is a highly-respected veteran in the locker room having defied the odds since joining the league as an undrafted free agent.

Max Tuerk –After what amounted to a red-shirt rookie year, the 2016 third-round pick looks to cement a meaningful role with the Bolts now that he's fully healthy.  Known for his athleticism, the USC product can play both center and guard.

Sam Tevi –As the third offensive lineman selected by Los Angeles this year, the Bolts selected Sam Tevi out of Utah in the sixth round.  Blessed with great feet, he's a former defensive lineman who turned heads after making the transition to tackle.

Chris Hairston –Known for his toughness and grit, Chris Hairston enters his third season as the Chargers' swing tackle.  He began his career in Buffalo before joining the Bolts in 2015.

Tyreek Burwell –The third-year tackle plays with the type of mean streak teams covet in an offensive lineman.  Originally a tight end in college, his knowledge of the position has grown by leaps and bounds since signing as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati. 

Dillon DeBoer –Signed after going undrafted this April, Dillon DeBoer is a versatile lineman who played tackle, guard and center during his career at Florida Atlantic.  As a result, he was voted the team's Offensive MVP while also being named to the Conference USA Honorable Mention Team.

Donavon Clark –A seventh-round pick out of Michigan State in 2016, Donavon Clark's rookie year ended before it began after suffering a knee injury last preseason.  The guard looks to make up for lost time in 2016.

Brett Boyko –The 6-6, 301-pound UNLV product spent most of last season on the Chargers practice squad.  He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, and spent the entire year on their practice squad.

We're Keeping Our Eye On

Ricky Henne:I'm tempted to say Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney, but I've got to go with Russell Okung.  I had high hopes when the Bolts signed him in March, and he more than met them with an impressive offseason.  Okung is determined to transform the offensive line into a strength, and quickly endeared himself to teammates with his work ethic and leadership approach.  The team made a number of investments in the offensive line this offseason, so I want to see if Okung can take the unit to the next step once the pads come on.

Hayley Elwood:I'll go with Ricky's first thought and take the rookies.  So much has been made about the improvements the Chargers made on the offensive line this offseason, and they certainly bolstered it with Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.  What will be interesting to me is to see if either – or both – of the rookies can earn a starting spot.  Both were thrown into first-team action at one point during mini camp.

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