Chargers rookie Rashawn Slater impresses in brief preseason appearance

Chargers offensive tackle Rashawn Slater participates in a drill at practice.
Rookie Rashawn Slater, shown in May, made his preseason debut with the Chargers on Saturday night against the Rams.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Chargers opened their preseason Saturday night against the Rams in a game that didn’t include most of the team’s regulars.

Coach Brandon Staley announced Thursday that the majority of his starters wouldn’t participate in any of the three exhibitions scheduled for this month.

Still, there was plenty to observe early in the Chargers’ eventual 13-6 win.

Rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater looked impressive in his only series. Drafted No. 13 overall in April, Slater was strong and steady as the Chargers went on a 21-play, 73-yard drive that ended in a 21-yard field goal by Tristan Vizcaino.


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He started off matched up against outside linebacker Chris Garrett, a seventh-round pick out of Concordia-St. Paul.

As the series unfolded, Slater next took on Earnest Brown IV, a rookie defensive lineman the Rams took in the fifth round.

That matchup was a familiar one for Slater. He and Brown were teammates at Northwestern.

After the opening drive, Slater was replaced by Trey Pipkins. On the first snap of that next series, Pipkins gave up a pressure.

Chargers quarterback Chase Daniel is sacked by Rams linebacker Justin Lawler.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers' Donte Vaughn (39) and John Brannon (38) break up a pass intended for Rams receiver Jeremiah Hayde.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Chase Daniel started at quarterback and led the offense on its extended field-goal drive to begin the game.

The Chargers picked up six first downs en route to moving from their own 25-yard line to the Rams’ two.

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The possession stalled after a short run by Justin Jackson and back-to-back incompletions. Daniel was pressured on the first misfire as rookie tight end Tre’ McKitty was unable to hold his block.

Along with Slater, the rest of the starting offensive line featured Brenden Jaimes (left guard), Scott Quessenberry (center), Tyree St. Louis (right guard) and Storm Norton (right tackle).

Jaimes, a rookie, was a fifth-round pick.

Rams tight end Jacob Harris can't make the catch in the end zone with Chargers defensive back Tevaughn Campbell defending.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
A Chargers fan walks through Rams territory outside SoFi Stadium.
A Chargers fan walks through Rams territory outside SoFi Stadium.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Chargers’ first series on defense also was impressive as they rose up to force a punt after the Rams moved past the 50-yard line.

Veteran defensive lineman Christian Covington had a tackle for loss, Drue Tranquill pressured Devlin Hodges into an incompletion with an expertly timed blitz and Kyzir White had a tackle for loss.

Rookie wide receiver Josh Palmer, who has been impressive in training camp, continued to shine with six catches for 36 yards in the first half.

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Palmer, a third-round pick, has emerged as a potential target for quarterback Justin Herbert behind veterans Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Along with Tranquill, White and Jackson, edge rushers Uchenna Nwosu and Kyler Fackrell, cornerback Michael Davis and safety Nasir Adderley were among the Chargers who played.