The 2017 NFL Draft started with a bang on Thursday evening, as the team that called San Diego home for 56 years chose a wide receiver, Mike Williams of Clemson, straight out the gate with the seventh selection of the first round.
But what really made fans stand and take notice was the same team taking not one, but two guards on Day 2: Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky and Dan Feeney from Indiana. The two form a pair of hulking individuals whose presence should go a long way towards giving Bolts’ signal-caller Philip Rivers something that has been increasingly absent the last couple of seasons: a “little” thing known as time.
It took the Chargers two years to fill the glaring gap facing them when former center Nick Hardwick announced his retirement in February of 2015. The lack of the presence of Hardwick’s recognition of which protections to call at the line of scrimmage became exacerbated as Rivers took that responsibility upon himself the last two seasons due to countless injuries along the offensive line.
Last spring, in an effort to take some of that weight off his quarterback’s shoulders, general manager Tom Telesco added free-agent Matt Slauson (Chicago Bears) to the offensive line. Slauson is a guy who is well-known for his toughness. His skillset and experience were badly needed and highly rated.
Below we’ll take a quick look at the newest pieces to be tasked with keeping Rivers on his feet and off of his back.
Forrest Lamp was Telesco’s second-round choice (No. 38 overall). The former Hilltopper stands 6-foot-4, weighing 309 pounds. He started 51 games at left tackle while at Western Kentucky.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock on Lamp: “I thought his Alabama tape was the single most dominant offensive line performance I’ve seen against that front in 5 years…He’s gonna be a center or a guard at the next level.”
Third-round selection (No. 71) Dan Feeney tips that scale at 305 pounds, while matching Lamp’s height at 6-foot-4. He was a large reason why former Hoosier running backs Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons, 2015 draft) and Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears, 2016 draft) performed as well as they did at Indiana.
Feeney is a tenacious blocker who is tough, smart and carries one quality the Chargers desperately need on offense: nastiness.
Mayock on Feeney: “A really solid interior offensive lineman. I think he’s a natural right guard…this is a good pick for the Chargers. You can tell there’s a concentrated effort to get Philip Rivers hit less.”
The rookie is from the same school as Kris Dielman, the former left guard and four-time Pro Bowler for the Bolts who retired in 2012 after nine years in the trenches.
Speaking with Hayley Elwood of the team’s official website, Feeney reminisced that as a sophomore, Dielman returned to the Indiana campus to talk to the players. “He was an amazing player…Going to the Chargers just like Dielman is a huge honor for Indiana and especially myself,” added the rook.
Will Lamp and Feeney be starters heading in to the regular season? Only time will tell. Adding these two guys into the mix alongside Slauson and free-agent signing Russell Okung certainly should give Rivers time in the pocket, while also creating holes for third-year back Melvin Gordon.
Anticipation is building for a season of the unexpected; from playing in the mini-stadium that is the StubHub Center, to the hope that first-year head coach Anthony Lynn may lead this team back to the playoffs.
The 2017 NFL season for the Chargers is setting up to be one helluva year.
Thanks for reading!
The staff at BoltBlitz.com gives their predictions to Thursday’s game versus the Broncos.
Corey Decker: Chargers 31-28. Broncos miss a last-second field goal.
Cheryl A White: 31-28, the guys in the blue color rush unis. Gordon with two rushing scores, Henry & Williams with TD passes + a Lambo field goal give the Bolts win No. 2. Whether or not it’s enough to save McCoy’s job, we’ll find out Friday.
Charles LaFurno: The Chargers win and save McCoy’s tail, unfortunately, 27-20.
Bosa has two sacks and causes a fumble. Gordon goes for over 100 yards from scrimmage.
Zak Darman: The Chargers never get into rhythm on offense and rival signal caller Trevor Siemian slings a late TD to clinch. 24-3 Broncos.
Brian Scott: Denver holds a 9-1 record over the last 10 games against San Diego, winning the last five in America’s finest city. In San Diego, the last five against Denver, Denver has outscored the Chargers 23.6-14. Gordon grinds it out in the middle where Denver has been exploited this year. With an established run game, Rivers is able to throw underneath often and even tests the excellent secondary of Denver, with a few long balls – Rivers never backs down from a challenge. Joey Bosa fuels the fire from his debut last week and will have at least two sacks, and will disrupt Trevor with the help of Liuget. Even with the polar opposite records, how horrible the losses have been for San Diego, they somehow find a way to win at home against Denver for the first time since 2010. Chargers 26 – 21
Travis Blake: As much as I want — NEED — this team to win, and as good as I am feeling about their chances in this game, I still can’t pick them to win. The Chargers of late have always failed hardest in Prime Time, tonight will be no exception. The color rush will be awesome! Broncos defenders will be caught starring at the brilliant blues as Double H, TW16, Travis Benjamin, and MG28 run past them for a couple of TDs! But soon the Bronco defenders will snap out of it and start stopping the run and pressuring PR17 to death. With a short week of preparation and healing Mike McCoy’s team folds yet again. THE Bolts lose, 24-17. Stay tuned after the game if you’re still awake to see who the new head ball coach will be!
Laura Leech: I was worried about being the only one not predicting a win. It will come down to if the Chargers can effectively run the ball. They won’t be being the huge passes from the Chargers like they did against the Raiders. Chargers are without their starting secondary and the Broncos will use that. Their secondary is the best in the league. I think the defense gets two turnovers but it still won’t be enough to secure the win. 21-17 Broncos
Will McCafferty: The one thing the Chargers have been consistent at this season is being inconsistent. They have proven that they can come from ahead better than any other losing team in the league. With that in mind, I have decided to think outside the box for this game against Denver. Many of us hope that if the Chargers fall to Denver tonight, Mike McCoy will lose his gig as head coach. With that in mind, I fully expect the Chargers to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions. That will secure McCoy’s job until week 10 against the Dolphins. At that time, with McCoy’s job on the line again, the Chargers will secure their third victory of the season, once again saving McCoy’s job. Finally, their fourth and final win of the season will be week 17 against the Chiefs. With that win, the Chargers will end the year at 4-12, but Dean Spanos will be so proud that the Bolts beat KC to end the year, that he will make sure that McCoy will get a three-year extension on his contract. As for tonight….. Chargers 24 Denver 23
Chris Hoke: Chargers start slow in the second half settling for 2 field goals. While the defense gives up 14 point one on a long bomb to Sanders and the other on a five-yard rushing TD From CJ Anderson. The Bolts come charging back and take a 20-14 lead going into the 4th, once again settling for a field goal. McNorv has Lambo kick a field goal, which is blocked and returned for six points and the Broncos win 21-20.
Brian Krich: These are the games the Chargers tend to win. Games when you think they have no chance against a deeper opponent. I think they get some things down the middle of the field and Gordon contributes in the passing game. I like the Chargers in a 20-13 type of game.
Big question is can Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin win some of the one-on-one match-ups on the outside. You know Denver is going to do what Denver does. They’re going to play a ton of Cover-1 and dare you to throw the ball outside. If the Chargers can get them out of some of those single-high safety looks the run game should open up, allowing them to control the ball a little bit and get in to manageable third downs.
Dave Booga Peters: When looking at the respective records of the Chargers (1-4) and the Broncos (4-1), this game could possibly be over before it starts, ending in a Denver win.
But, not so fast, my friend.
Historically, the Chargers tend to play up to their competition when facing an elite opponent. They are doing just that Thursday night as they face the defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos.
In this contest, the Bolts do NOT forget about running back Melvin Gordon and he sets his career-high in total yards from scrimmage with almost 200 yards, scoring twice in the game. Rivers is efficient enough, posts a solid QBR but does not wow in most major passing categories. That being said, he easily throws for over 126 yards, passing Hall of Famer and San Diego Chargers great Dan Fouts for the team record in passing yards. Rivers does manage to throw for two passing scores, with one to Tyrell Williams and the other to Hunter Henry.
In the end, the Bolts triumph over the Broncos by a score of 34-27, ending their 10-game losing streak within the AFC West.
Feel free to leave your prediction for the game in the comments section below.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters