Chargers’ Sam Tevi in driver’s seat to start at left tackle

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn called Sam Tevi the starting left tackle, but said it’s an open competition with second-year lineman Trey Pipkins.

“He’s the starter over there right now on the left side,” Lynn said about Tevi on Friday after the team’s first full-speed workout of training camp. “He’s played left before. He’s been on the right for us the past couple years. But we expect Trey to step up. Yeah, it’s a competition, but like I said, Sam Tevi is in the driver’s seat.”

Lynn pointed to Tevi’s 44 games of experience with 30 starts for reasons why he has the early edge on Pipkins, whom the Chargers drafted in the third round last season. Pipkins saw action in 13 games and started three during his rookie season. Tevi was a sixth-round draft pick by the Chargers in 2017.

“He’s been in the system,” Lynn said about Tevi. “He’s played both sides for us. He’s played more. I thought when Trey came in last year, it wasn’t too big for Trey, and that’s what I like. I liked the look that he had in his opening game. I thought he went in and I thought he held his own, but I’m expecting Trey to compete over there as well.”

The Chargers were left with a vacancy at left tackle in March after trading former Pro Bowler Russell Okung to the Carolina Panthers for offensive guard Trai Turner.

Lynn said Pipkins had a setback a few days ago and that’s why he was seen wearing a knee brace during the open portion of practice to the media Friday. Teams aren’t required to provide an injury report during training camp.

Forrest Lamp is also in the mix for the left tackle opening, but Lynn said he prefers to keep him at offensive guard. Lamp will likely compete with Dan Feeney for starting left guard.

“I liked Forrest inside before he got hurt,” Lynn said. “No doubt he can be a starting guard in this league, but we will put him at left tackle just to see how he looks.”

This is shaping up to be a two-man race between Tevi and Pipkins.

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