Chargers’ Top Training Camp Battles to Follow

Which positions in training camp this year will feature the top battles leading up to Week 1?

Training camp is here and the Chargers will begin their quest to formulate a Super Bowl run when the veterans report on Tuesday, joining the rookies who arrived early last week.

Like each year in training camp, some players will duel it out for a starting job, while others are just trying to secure a spot on the roster, entirely. Here are four training camp battles to follow over the course of the next five weeks.

Right tackle

Candidates: Trey Pipkins III, Storm Norton

The biggest question on the roster heading into training camp is unquestionably the right tackle position. 

Since OTAs wrapped up, Pipkins has spent time working with Duke Manyweather, an offensive line guru who specializes in technique. Pipkins has taken strides in each of his three seasons since entering the league and the Chargers would love for him to fully develop into a consistent starter in 2022 and beyond.

If Pipkins doesn’t run away with the starting job, Norton could return to the duties. He made 15 starts last season following Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending injury, but Norton’s inconsistencies proved to be rather costly in critical moments.

No. 3 cornerback

Candidates: Bryce Callahan, Michael Davis

The Chargers cornerback room is unequivocally deeper than last year. With J.C. Jackson and Asante Samuel Jr. holding down two of the starting spots, that pegs the question: who will solidify the third spot in the pecking order when they’re playing nickel defense?

Callahan, who reunites with Staley after crossing paths in Denver, offers a unique skillset in which he can lineup inside at the nickel and along the boundary. Throughout his last two seasons with the Broncos, people in Denver raved about Callahan the player, but injuries derailed his availability to remain on the field.

As for Davis, who entered training camp last season as the team’s No. 1 outside cornerback, will duel it out for playing time this year. Truly, that speaks volume to the competition and depth this team has at cornerback this year versus last season. Quite frankly, despite how things shake out with Callahan and Davis, you can assume both players will still get their fair share of looks.

No.2 running back

Candidates: Isaiah Spiller, Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III

The Chargers’ search for a No. 2 running back continues. The team hasn’t had it’s one-two punch of rushers since Melvin Gordon departed for Denver two years ago. It’s primarily been an Austin Ekeler operation ever since. Meanwhile, Ekeler has voiced his willingness to share some of the workload with another running back in an attempt to remain fresh over the course of a full season.

In an effort to find Ekeler his counterpart, the team selected Spiller in the fourth-round. Spiller is a big-body, downhill rusher who busted through tacklers consistently in the SEC en route to back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Competing alongside Spiller in camp will be Kelley and Rountree – two rushers the Chargers selected in the 2020 and 2021 NFL Draft. While each have had moments of showing encouraging signs, neither have quite taken advantage of the opportunity to cement themselves as a No. 2 rusher.

No. 3 wide receiver

Candidates: Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton

The No. 3 wide receiver spot has yet to be set. However, both options will likely see a healthy diet of targets this season. The question begs which pass-catcher will see more looks?

Palmer, last year’s third-round pick, produced marginally during his rookie campaign. While he saw just 33 receptions in 2021, there’s a lot to like in projecting how he can evolve in the near future.

And then the speed option. Guyton, who’s no stranger to shaking defenders and streaking across the deep part of the field, is also in the mix to shore up the third receiver spot. Throughout the offseason leading up to the Chargers’ draft, rumblings revolved around the team adding speed by selecting a rookie wideout. Ultimately, they went another direction, holding out hope that one of Guyton or Palmer will be sufficient enough to solidify the No. 3 receiving option. At the end of OTAs, Brandon Staley highlighted Guyton as a player who stood out during the team’s offseason program.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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