As the Chargers prepare for the NFL draft, The Times will examine their roster. Part 5 of 8: Offensive line.
He was the fourth offensive lineman selected and the highest pick the Chargers have used on an offensive lineman over the last five years.
In April 2017, Forrest Lamp appeared ready to contribute immediately after the team selected him from Western Kentucky in the second round with the 38th choice overall.
Instead, he sustained a significant knee injury that dashed his rookie season and then spent 2018 as a reserve who couldn’t break into the starting lineup as the Chargers’ offensive front gained momentum and chemistry.
Lamp’s continued push to carve out an NFL career will be one of the team’s top stories this summer, both he and the Chargers hoping to see his role grow. His time in the league has netted appearances in only two regular-season games.
Coach Anthony Lynn said last month that the team will keep Lamp at guard for now before trying to expand his role to include tackle.
If he can handle both positions, Lamp would have a much better chance to contribute because of versatility. In 2018, his limitations kept him inactive in most games.
The Chargers appear to be satisfied for now at their tackle positions, where the well-compensated Russell Okung and low-budget Sam Tevi are starting. Center Mike Pouncey is coming off a Pro Bowl season.
Tevi, who also was drafted in 2017 — four rounds and 152 spots after Lamp — emerged last season following an injury to Joe Barksdale in Week 1. He ended up being a starter for the remainder of the season.
The guards are Michael Schofield and Dan Feeney. Schofield was claimed off waivers from Denver two years ago and Feeney was also drafted in 2017 during the third round.
The Chargers have drafted at least one offensive lineman seven of the last eight years. It seems likely that they’ll make it eight of nine next week and could use their top pick to fortify their depth upfront.
That and the delayed emergence of Lamp would give the team a commendable collection in front of quarterback Philip Rivers.
Offensive linemen under contract: Okung ($15,968,750), Pouncey ($8.75 million), Schofield ($4.5 million), Lamp ($1,818,247), Feeney ($1,024,158), Tevi ($685,451), guard Spencer Drango ($645,000), center Cole Toner ($645,000), guard Scott Quessenberry ($641,063), tackle Trent Scott ($570,000).
Free agents: Given their roster makeup, the Chargers wouldn’t appear likely to pursue offensive line help via free agency, unless it is simply to add potential depth.
Draft: The Chargers have been linked to several offensive linemen as it relates to their upcoming early picks. The group of prospects includes Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, Washington State’s Andre Dillard, Kansas State’s Dalton Risner and North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury.
Roster decisions: Along with Lamp, the Chargers have young linemen in Quessenberry, Scott and Toner whose futures could be greatly affected based on their training camp and preseason performances.