So many Chargers fans are so quick to write off Trey Pipkins. Everyone points to the fact that he did not have a great first season. What every fan fails to realize is that he wasn’t supposed to. Offensive Line is not one of those positions that players come in and make an enormous impact right away, or at least rarely do. It takes time to develop the skills needed to be successful, especially at the Left Tackle position.
Pipkins has all the measurables to be a stalwart tackle in the NFL. He stands 6’ 6’’ and weighs between 310-320 pounds. He has long, 34’’ arms. He isn’t the strongest guy player at his position, but he is plenty quick with his kick step. His functional strength is something that can come with time in the weight room. I fully expect him to be bigger and stronger next season.
James Campen will also be huge for the development of Pipkins and some of the other young players on this roster. The long time Green Bay Offensive Line Coach has been known for turning mid-round picks into formidable starters. you should expect him to help push this group up in overall level of play. When you get better play at one position on the line, it tends to radiate along the rest of the positions.
The best teams in the league develop their own players. It works for the Patriots, Packers, Ravens, Colts and Eagles. While bringing in an established veteran like Jason Peters is tempting, sticking with Pipkins is better for the long-term success for the team. The fastest way to develop is playing time. There is no experience better than actual experience.
If Pipkins does win the starting job next season, expect him to struggle. He should, as a young player still learning the blocking assignment, calls, stunts, blitz packages and a new playbook. He will be moving from a statute, like Philip Rivers, to a more mobile style of player under center. He is still growing into his role. Be angry and upset, but also stick behind him. He will be a member of the offensive line for the next few seasons. More than anything, watch his growth and project what he could be before you go marching with your pitchforks.
Trey Pipkins starting now is better for the team in the future than paying a free agent tackle. Let him learn by playing and let him grow into the player the Chargers drafted him to be. If it pays off, it’ll pay dividends to the team for years to come.