The Los Angeles Chargers came up aces at the 2020 NFL Draft when they brought in quarterback Justin Herbert at No. 6 overall. After that selection, the Oregon product rewarded the franchise by putting together a Rookie of the Year season and, more importantly, solidifying the position for the foreseeable future. Once they found their QB of the future, the 2021 offseason mission became clear: protect him. The club made strong strides in doing just that by signing former Packers All-Pro center Corey Linsley and ex-Steelers guard Matt Feiler in free agency, but there is still work to be done along that O-line, specifically at left tackle.
"Yeah, there certainly [is] a hole there right now," coach Brandon Staley said of the left tackle position on Thursday, via NFL.com. "We feel like we have some tackle prospects on the roster that can certainly play there. But it's gonna be certainly a position that we need to address you know, before July. As you know, there's a lot different ways to address it within the draft, free agency, trade. So there's a lot of different ways that you can do that. Definitely that's gonna be a piece that we need to fill before July and we're excited to do it. But we really like the way we've started in free agency with the interior of our line."
This need in left tackles comes thanks to the departure of 2020 starter Sam Tevi, who has since signed with the Indianapolis Colts. As Staley noted, the club can go in a number of different avenues at filling that rather important need along the offensive line. One way could be through the NFL Draft, which is just a few weeks away. The tackle class seems to be particularly deep this year and there's one prospect with who Herbert is quite familiar. Oregon's Penei Sewell is looked at as the top tackle in this class and protected Herbert during his time with the Ducks. The tackle even noted recently that it "would be a dream come true" if they were able to reunite at the next level. However, because Sewell is so highly touted, he's pegged to come off the board well before Los Angeles is on the clock at No. 13 overall. With that in mind, the Chargers would have to make a significant leap up the draft board If they want to make that reunion happen.
If they stand pat, CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Ryan Wilson has L.A. picking up USC tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 13. Vera-Tucker was able to work on the blindside during his final season with the Trojans, but, as Wilson notes in his latest mock, could be an even better guard, which does bring some versatility to the unit if the Chargers bring him aboard. Northwestern's Rashawn Slater is another tackle prospect to monitor for Los Angeles in the opening round.
Outside of the draft, there are still a number of left tackles that could be had either in free agency or via trade as Staley suggested. That said, finding a long-term steward for Herbert is likely best found at some point of the draft.