The Los Angeles Chargers offense suffered a significant blow when it was announced that left tackle Rashawn Slater will miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured biceps tendon injury. Slater was named to the Pro Bowl in 2021 as a first-year player. His blindside protection abilities will undeniably be missed. The Chargers will now turn to rookie sixth-round offensive tackle Jamaree Salyer to replace Slater. It catapults Salyer into a huge spot. There may be growing pains, but Chargers fans should be optimistic about Salyer’s long-term outlook.
The No. 195 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Salyer joined the Chargers as a national champion following the Georgia Bulldogs’ latest triumph. Salyer was expected to transition to guard in the pros, and that’s likely where his eventual future lies. But the Chargers are in a bind, and Salyer’s experience at left tackle may help them survive Slater’s injury.
Salyer started 11 contests at left tackle for the Bulldogs last season. In 2020, he started Georgia’s first nine games at left tackle. Salyer has also seen extensive action at right guard but one can argue Salyer is currently more comfortable at tackle as opposed to guard, as his acclimation to the inside on a full-time basis remained ongoing.
The Chargers are trusting Salyer to protect the blindside of elite quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert has only been sacked on three occasions this season. Continuing that form up front is crucial since Herbert is playing through a painful rib injury. Limiting his exposure to sacks, quarterback hits, and hurries are of the utmost importance. It’s a sizable task, but one Salyer is prepared for.
Salyer’s first test is trickier than it appears. The Chargers play the winless Houston Texans in Week 4. Houston’s defense has been better than advertised. The Texans have recorded 10.0 sacks through three contests. Only four NFL defenses have totaled more quarterback takedowns. The underrated trio of Jerry Hughes, Rasheem Green, and Jonathan Greenard have combined for 7.5 sacks. Salyer may be put into action against all three.
At Georgia, Salyer was a physical offensive lineman that fired off the ball with aggressive intentions. Salyer is heavy at the point of attack while bringing the fight to opposing defensive linemen. The learning curve will be steep, but Salyer won’t encounter opponents more physical and hard-nosed than himself.
Salyer has been battle-tested in the SEC. He showcased excellent initial quickness out of his stance and into his passing sets at left tackle. Salyer is an experienced blocker that plays with awareness and instincts. The NFL game won’t be too fast for Salyer to process.
It was shocking to witness Salyer slide to the sixth round. Versatility was a huge selling point for Salyer as a prospect throughout the pre-draft process. That versatility is about to benefit Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
“NFL teams have asked me about playing both guard positions, but I’ve had a lot of teams talk about me playing both right and left tackle as well,” Salyer told The Draft Network in March. “Being versatile is huge. I can play every position. I want to be a guy that can be counted on to shine when my number gets called.”
The Chargers are about to call Salyer’s number in the largest manner imaginable. Recently perceived as Super Bowl favorites, the 1-2 Chargers haven’t experienced the desired start to their 2022 campaign. The roadblocks ahead get significantly bumpier in the wake of Slater’s injury. A motivated and underrated Salyer is capable of stepping up.
- Dec 09, 2022
- Dec 09, 2022