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!
Only three weeks of quiet remain before training camp begins for the San Diego Chargers. There are still newsworthy pieces afloat on the web and after scouring the internet, here are five worthy submissions for your reading enjoyment.
Joey Bosa will continue to be news until he signs his contract. More analysis courtesy of ESPN below:
ESPN Chargers writer Eric Williams asks in an AFC West round table if the Bolts can go from worst to first. Check out the responses from the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos writers here:
Center Max Tuerk became the last 2016 draft pick not named Bosa to sign on the dotted line on Thursday. Around The NFL writer Marc Sessler wrote about it here:
Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote a training camp preview of the offensive line. Read it here:
Courtesy of Hayley Elwood of Chargers.com, right tackle Joe Barksdale gets the profile treatment. Read the insightful piece here:
In case you missed it, read my two-part series breaking down the Chargers’ offense, including position-by-position points projections here. Give it a read and tell me if you agree or diasgree.
http://boltblitz.com/?p=21128 Part. 1
http://boltblitz.com/?p=21222 Part. 2
Stay tuned to Boltblitz.com for the latest in Chargers news. Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!
The Greg One
Jim Trotter of ESPN.com writes about the way that Philip Rivers has handled the talks about an extension.
Annie Heilbrunn of mighty1090.com prematurely grades the Chargers 2015 draft class.
Hayley Elwood of Chargers.com talks about third-round draft choice Craig Mager overcoming tragedy.
Tom Krasovic of UT San Diego notes that the team is excited about the work that Melvin Ingram has done this offseason.
Michael Fabiano of NFL.com ranks the top-20 fantasy rookies for this upcoming season.