Chargers to watch closely in preseason opener against Rams

Chargers defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia runs a drill during camp.

Rookie defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia should see plenty of snaps in the Chargers’ preseason opener Saturday against the Rams.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

After struggling against the run in 2021, the Chargers signed three defensive linemen in free agency and drafted a fourth.

That fourth addition — Otito Ogbonnia, a fifth-round pick out of UCLA — figures to play plenty against the Rams.

The Chargers have given Ogbonnia some practice time with the first team because they wanted to see him against legitimate NFL offensive linemen.

“He’s shown that he can hold his own out here,” Staley said. “He just needs to keep improving. I like his mindset, though. He’s been a guy that we’re sure glad we drafted.”

Breiden Fehoko, Joe Gaziano and Forrest Merrill all are battling for backup roles, each having made plays during training camp.

Something else to watch Saturday will be if Jerry Tillery plays. Staley has talked about Tillery, a 2019 first-round pick, still trying to find his way in the NFL. Last preseason, Tillery was held out of all three games.

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