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Chargers Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line

The Los Angeles Chargers hold OTA’s on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Hoag Performance Center in Costa Mesa, CA.
The Los Angeles Chargers hold OTA’s on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Hoag Performance Center in Costa Mesa, CA.

Chargers Training Camp is on the horizon, as the Bolts will soon return to work to get ready for the 2022 season. The Chargers will host 10 open practices as they welcome fans back to Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.

What's in store for the Bolts in camp? Expectations are high, as second-year Head Coach Brandon Staley leads a roster focused on physicality that added numerous new faces this offseason.

Chargers.com will take a glance at each position group leading up to training camp, continuing with the offensive line.

Who's on the roster?

Rashawn Slater (2nd year in NFL; 2nd year with Chargers), Matt Feiler (8; 2), Corey Linsley (9; 2), Zion Johnson (1; 1), Storm Norton (6; 3), Trey Pipkins III (4; 4), Foster Sarell (2; 2), Jamaree Salyer (1; 1), Will Clapp (5; 1), Brenden Jaimes (2; 2), Zack Bailey (4; 1), Andrew Trainer (1; 1), Isaac Weaver (1; 1), Ryan Hunter (5; 3).

Camp outlook

This position group is among the strengths of the team, as the Bolts should have one of the league's top offensive lines if everything lines up.

The bulk starting group is a mix of veterans (Feiler and Linsley) and young players (Slater and Johnson), all of whom are critical to the unit's success.

Slater excelled as a rookie, becoming the first rookie tackle to be named a Pro Bowl starter since 2012. He also was recently ranked the fourth best tackle in the league according to an ESPN article featuring input from NFL executives, coaches and scouts. Feiler is among the league's more underrated guards, and Linsley made his first Pro Bowl in 2021, his first season with the Chargers.

Johnson was the Bolts' first-round pick in April and will slide into the right guard spot. The former Boston College standout was a First-Team All-American selection in 2021.

Norton started 15 games at right tackle this past season but will battle Pipkins for the starting job, one that will be among the most closely watched in camp.

Nearly everyone else in this group is young or still relatively new to the team.

Clapp provides solid depth on the interior and has seven career starts to his name. Jaimes played in 11 games as a rookie, but it was mostly on special teams.

Bailey and Hunter have been around the league for a few seasons and have spent time with other teams, but could challenge for reserve roles.

Salyer was a sixth-round pick in April, while Sarell spent most of 2021 on the Bolts practice squad. Trainer and Weaver were added as undrafted free agents.

The Chargers hosted their second annual Nike 11-On event this past weekend at Long Beach Poly High School. Boys and Girls prep football programs from throughout Southern California were on hand to hear from All-Pro LT Rashawn Slater before competing in 7v7 drills, lineman challenges, character discussions and team building exercises.

Quick quote

"I think Zion has come in with a great head on his shoulders. I think he has real confidence. He has all of the things that you look for, physically, in an interior player, but I think his mindset has been impressive to his teammates — the guys like [C] Corey Linsley and [G] Matt Feiler, guys who have played a lot of football, [QB] Justin Herbert, [WR] Keenan Allen. This guy has the right mindset. He comes out here, he trains, he's really prepared in meetings. He goes out here and he practices hard. He owns us mistakes. He doesn't make the same mistake twice. Those are the things that you're looking for in a rookie, especially a first-round pick of his caliber." — Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley on Johnson.

One big question…Who starts at right tackle?

The four starting spots on the offensive line from left to right are set. Rashawn Slater, who was an All-Pro as a rookie, starts at left tackle. Matt Feiler at left guard. Corey Linsley at center. And rookie first-round pick Zion Johnson at right guard. The only hole is at right tackle, and Storm Norton and Trey Pipkins will be competing for that starting job in training camp. It is, to me, the most important training camp battle on the roster. If the Chargers can merely get league-average play, particularly in pass protection, from their right tackle, they could have the best offensive line in football. Pipkins looked excellent in the two games he started last year, at left tackle against the Chiefs in Week 15 and at right tackle against the Broncos in Week 17. He spent this offseason working out with respected offensive line coach Duke Manyweather in Dallas. I think Pipkins will have a good chance to win this job, but we will have to wait and see what happens later this month and into August. — (By The Athletic's Daniel Popper).

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