Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (2024)

The 2024 NFL Draft is just over a week away, and plenty of intrigue remains about what the Chargers will do with the No. 5 overall pick.

This is the second of a three-part series looking at potential options the Chargers have in Round 1, continuing with a focus on offensive linemen. Part 1 looked at wide receiver options with the fifth pick.

Why does an OL make sense?

The Chargers could potentially need long-term options at multiple positions along the offensive line, with center and right tackle at the top of the list.

We'll focus on the latter of those two positions at No. 5 since taking a center that high almost certainly won't happen because of positional value.

So, could the Chargers be looking for another tackle to pair with Rashawn Slater for the foreseeable future?

Trey Pipkins III has two years remaining on his contract but has been up and down a bit with his play the past few seasons.

NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger noted that Harbaugh's rugged mindset could be what sways the Bolts to take an offensive tackle high in Round 1.

"With Harbaugh coming in, that's going to be an emphasis," Baldinger said. "Everything starts up front and it always falls on the offensive line."

Who could be the pick?

This year's offensive tackle class is full of top-tier prospects.

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has eight offensive tackles in his top 50 list.

ESPN's Jordan Reid, meanwhile, has nine in his top 50 prospects. Dane Brugler of The Athletic, as he has a dozen tackles in his top 100 prospects.

Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (1)

Joe Alt of Notre Dame is viewed as the consensus top tackle, as he's ranked fifth overall by Brugler, sixth by Reid and eighth by Jeremiah.

Jeremiah's scouting report noted that "Alt isn't a rare athlete, but his combination of size, instincts and youth (he'll be 21 for his entire rookie season) is easy to bet on."

Alt, whose father Jon was started 149 career NFL games at tackle for the Chiefs, would have to switch sides as he played left tackle in college.

Alt earned unanimous First-Team All-American honors in 2023 for the Fighting Irish.

Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (2)

Olu Fashanu would also have to switch to the right side after a standout career at Penn State.

Fashanu is a top-15 prospect in the eyes of Jeremiah, Brugler and Reid.

Jeremiah wrote that Fashanu "explodes out of his stance, redirects easily and has strong hands to stab and steer defenders."

Fashanu was the 2023 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year Award and also earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors.

Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (3)

Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga is ranked a tad lower by our trio of analysts, but he also played exclusively at right tackle in college.

Jeremiah, who has Fuaga as his No. 10 overall player, said "I don't see much weakness in Fuaga's game. He has Pro Bowl potential at tackle."

Fuaga, who played 39 games for the Beavers, earned First-Team Pac-12 honors in 2023.

Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (4)

Alabama's JC Latham comes from a blue blood program and also only played on the right side in college.

Latham, a top-20 prospect in the eyes of Jeremiah, Brugler and Reid, allowed just two sacks in 2023.

Jeremiah wrote the 6-foot-6, 342-pound Latham is "a massive right tackle. He has an enormous power base and taps into it in both the run and pass games."

If the Chargers end up drafting an offensive tackle at No. 5, these four players could be the ones in play.

How does an OL impact the Bolts in 2024 and beyond?

If the Chargers needed to play a game tomorrow, they could line up a solid offensive line with Slater and Pipkins as the bookends.

But the chance to pair a top-tier tackle with Slater for the next decade or so could be enticing to the Chargers, who are also always looking for ways to beef up the protection for quarterback Justin Herbert.

"With the offensive line, it gets really interesting to see how they feel about Trey Pipkins at their right tackle spot," Reid said. "We know Rashawn Slater is the long-term future and an entrenched guy at that left tackle spot.

"So, how do you feel about Alt or Fashanu or even Fuaga? Or even Latham from Alabama," Reid added. "There's so many options and a bunch of different players they could take."

With Pipkins on the roster, that doesn't mean that a possible tackle at No. 5 needs to play right away either. They could be eased into the rigors of the NFL and grow at their own pace.

From the moment he took the Bolts job, Harbaugh has been preaching the importance of being physical and dominant in the trenches. Taking an offensive tackle at No. 5 would reinforce those beliefs.

Chargers Draft Scenario: What if the Bolts Take an Offensive Tackle in Round 1? (2024)
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