Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has shown promise and poise in his rookie season for the Los Angeles Chargers. The organization now has to invest in long-term protection for the rookie signal-caller, these three tackle prospects would help.
If we are talking about protecting a potential franchise quarterback, it all starts in the trenches. Neither Sam Tevi nor Trey Pipkins would be confused with the title of ‘premier tackle.’ It’s not a knock on them as players but the Chargers have to know they will need to invest draft capital next April at tackle.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco will have to decide whether a tackle or pass rusher will be his pick. If Los Angeles wants to keep Hebert upright in the coming years, then the decision should be easy.
So which prospects should the Chargers be looking at?
Let’s take a look at some tackle prospects that excelled in pass blocking this past collegiate year, as a side note, the Chargers need to keep all of them on their radar.
Let’s assume that the prized jewel at Tackle, Penei Sewell, will be gone by the time the Chargers are on the board.
Brady Christensen, BYU
Let’s start with arguably one of the better pass-blocking tackles in this year’s class. A Junior from BYU, Christensen would instantly be the starting right tackle for the Chargers. In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, Christensen grades at 95.2 in pass blocking this season. If that’s not impressive enough, the six-foot-six, 300-pound behemoth graded at 96 for his run blocking. In other words, the Chargers would be getting a well-rounded tackle prospect in Christensen.
Drae Harris of The Draft Network is high on Christensen as well, and rightfully so. He does point out that while he played left tackle, he might be better suited at right. Harris stated that Christensen’s strengths are his hands, length, and is fluid in the passing game.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
The second prospect that could be worth a look plays in the same vicinity as the ‘Bolts.’ Vera-Tucker has played his collegiate ball at the University of Southern California. Most recently, he’s played at left guard but is considered one of the better tackle prospects this season. Even our own Steven Haglund is high on him and believes he would be a fit in the first round.
PFF is very impressed with his pass blocking abilities, so much so that they graded him at 92.8 for the season. Overall, Vera-Tucker has seen incremental improvements over the past three years, his overall grades being: 65.6, 78.8, and 86.6, respectively. Harris noted that while he’s not the most athletic prospect, he’s explosive and maintains his depth in the pocket so he’s solid in pass protection.
Christian Darrisaw, Virignia Tech
The six-foot-five tackle from Virginia Tech could also boost Herbert’s pass protection. He played 667 snaps last season, per PFF, and Darrisaw earned a 95.6 overall grade in his senior year. A closer look reveals he garnered a 90.8 for his pass-blocking abilities. Joe Marino of The Draft Network points out that Darrisaw is long, athletic, and showcases good lateral quickness. While there’s room for growth, especially in his footwork, he can no doubt eventually be a starting tackle for Los Angeles.
Chargers brass really can’t go wrong with any of the three aforementioned studs, they need to fill both sides at tackle. The priority has to be keeping Herbert upright, no doubt these three can do it.