Storm Norton is a name the XFL fans will never forget. The former Los Angeles Wildcats offensive tackle was a fan-favorite across the league, proving himself as an elite pass protector before being declared captain of the Wildcats. Since then, the 317-pound Toledo alumni has gone from strength to strength, cementing his position as starting tackle for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers. However, things haven’t always gone according to plan.
Norton began carving a name for himself at the University of Toledo. The same Toledo that blocked for the #1 rushing attack in the Mid-American conference back in 2015. At 6ft 7, Norton was a towering figure and never looked out of place at left tackle. He started 28 games and appeared in a total of 46, adding first-team All-MAC honors to an already impressive resume.
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As we cast our minds back to 2017, few would have predicted Storm Norton going undrafted. However, he was later selected for the practice squad of both the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals that same year. Luck seemed to be against Norton this time around, as he failed to fit in with either team’s offensive playbook plans. After the release, Vikings were quick to approach the elite lineman, although Norton was never truly able to settle into the club and work his way up through the depth chart.
Storm Norton’s stint in Minnesota was a rollercoaster, to say the least. The lineman spent much of his time boomeranging between the practice squad and the active roster before having his contract terminated after just one professional game and being released. A man of Norton’s quality would not be sidelined too long, as XFL teams began to show plenty of interest.
The emergence of the XFL was a huge turning point in Norton’s career. Finally, a platform where Norton could show off his ability, battle it out against other elite football players, secure sufficient game time, and prove his doubters wrong.
It started well for Norton after being selected first overall in the second phase of the XFL Draft by the Los Angeles Wildcats. A succession of fantastic performances began to create a real buzz around Norton’s name, as peers voted him as LA Wildcats defensive captain. The buzz didn’t stop in camp, with Pro Football Focus claiming the 6ft 7 317-pound lineman as the highest-rated offensive lineman of the 2020 season.
Nobody expected COVID-19 to have as significant an impact on the world as it did, and it wasn’t long before the XFL made the difficult decision to postpone the season. The league later suspended operations in 2020, leaving Norton without a contract again.
Ex-Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn clearly saw something special in the former Wildcat, as the Bolts wasted no time in signing Storm just four days after the XFL suspended operations.
The promising tackle lodged only one professional start (Vs. New Orleans Saints) in the first half of his 2020 season, but it soon became apparent that Chargers brought in Storm Norton as one for the future. As playbook knowledge increased, playing time followed, and by the end of the season Chargers #74 had three starts and five games under his belt.
2021 has seen Norton propel himself to the top of the depth chart, cementing starts in all three pre-season games, as well as two out of three NFL season fixtures – 50% of his total playing time from last year already.
After reigniting the flame at Wildcats and having it burnt out, it’s great to see Norton settled once more. We expect the towering presence to continue to grow, add to his game, and, who knows, perhaps become defensive captain of the LA Chargers one day.
Chargers are currently 2-1 after beating Washington and big rivals Kansas City while still managing to put points on the board in their tightly contested matchup and loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
For the statisticians and bettors among us, you will be interested to know that the team has averaged over 22 points a game this season and holds a 2-1 record going into their match with the Raiders (3-0) on Tuesday.
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