The San....I mean the Los Angeles Chargers (man that's gonna take some getting used to) are a team stuck in no man's land in my opinion. Across the board they actually have a very solid roster from the quarterback to their offensive weapons and then their defense has a solid front to go along with a solid secondary and linebacking core. However, they are stuck in one of the toughest divisions this season if everyone stays healthy. They have to face off with the Raiders with the superior young quarterback with a terrific o-line. Then they face off with the Chiefs who have the better coaching staff and more dynamic defense. Lastly, the Broncos could be the team they leap frog if neither of their quarterbacks step up, but their great defense will always keep them in games.
For the Chargers I think their offense is much improved after an off season of improving their always terrible offensive line. They brought in buy-low candidate Russell Okung who when healthy can be a steady blind side protector. Meanwhile, they might have gotten two of the biggest steals in the draft with Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney at both guard spots solidifying the interior with Matt Slauson at center. The biggest key though for Philip Rivers on offense is the health of his weapons from Melvin Gordon who is still developing and Keenan Allen who has never played a full season. They drafted Mike Williams, but unfortunetly he has a health issue already that will slow him down. The best thing about Rivers though is his willingness to throw to whoever he has, which brought out the emergence of Dontrell Inman and Tyrell Williams. Plus, Hunter Henry should keep developing after a solid rookie season learning from Antonio Gates. Overall, if the offense remains healthy they will put up points.
It's crazy how a draft can turn out a year later. After being buried by pundits for drafting Joey Bosa who many were down on going into the draft, the Chargers get the last laugh. He turned out to have a terrific rookie season and winning the rookie of the year honors even after missing a few games. Even as they move to a 4-3 front I think he should be fine due to being a more natural base end. I worry more from Ingram who was such a terrific edge rusher standing up, but normally great players transfer easily to a new position thanks to their natural gifts. Bosa was not the only stand out from their rookie class their late round find Jatavis Brown stood out as a center piece in their linebacking core. My only worry is their secondary that needs a better safety in my opinion after letting Eric Weddle walk a few years back. Jaleel Addae was a great find last year after being a back up most of his career, but relying on Dwight Lowery is a bad decision. If corners Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward stay healthy they should be fine out there.
In the end, I think they will land another 7-9 season unless a big injury happens to one of the teams in their division. Though I would not be shocked if they end up winning more games and taking games from teams like the Chiefs or Raiders over the year. Remember they were one of those teams that kept losing late in games all last season and if they can button it up under new coach Anthony Lynn they should win those games. Always key is the health of Philip Rivers, but he much like his fellow 2003 classmates have been very good at staying on the field.
1 (7) - Mike Williams WR - Unfortunately, the Chargers first round pick may miss a few weeks of training camp due to a hernia issue. That's tough for the young man as we all know that transition to the NFL is probably the toughest for the receiver position. Hence, why I would rather select a receiver later in the draft and land a more safe prospect in the first round with less bust ability. Especially since over the years we have seen guys like Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, A.J. Jenkins, Sammy Watkins, Tavon Austin, and Laquon Treadwell all not develop or even provide any production in some cases. I did like Williams coming into the draft however, due to his size and ability to be a red zone threat. Hopefully, when healthy he can provide a good one-two punch with Keenan Allen, of course he has to stay healthy too.
2 (6) - Forrest Lamp OL - As mentioned above I think Lamp was one of the biggest steals in the draft. So many thought he would go in the mid-teens in the first round, but slipped as teams rather draft skill position players instead of blockers. Their loss, the Chargers will take Lamp to help fix one of their biggest issues for the past few seasons. Keeping Rivers upright will be key for the Chargers and Lamp at the right guard should be a mainstay for about a decade if he can translate to the NFL. I see no reason why since the Western Kentucky blocker stone walled the great Alabama defensive line in their match up last season.
3 (7) - Dan Feeney OG - Another great draft selection here for the Chargers. I have a feeling Feeney who is a blue collar technician on the inside can be this year's Cody Whitehair who many regret passing on. He along with Lamp can create a good young core on the interior of the line keeping Rivers upright. The best way to do that is up the middle to allow him to step up on his throws.
4 (6) - Rayshawn Jenkins S - This is a head scratcher of a pick for me since they reached on a safety here instead of picking the best player available they had been doing the past few seasons. Jenkins is an old school thumper in the box type of safety who can be a solid player at best, but to me there is very little upside here. If he can be a solid special teamer I guess that's not terrible, but there were better options here in my opinion.
5 (7) - Desmond King DB - Now this is one of those players I thought had better upside than Jenkins and they got him here since they stuck with their best player available mantra. King is a terrific and instinctive secondary piece who can move around on their defense. He can play at the slot corner spot or even better be a safety who can be a ball hawk. His size and speed will probably never be the best, but his willingness to get in the scrap and get in the face of receivers stands out. I can easily see him out playing Jenkins.
6 (6) - Sam Tevi OT - The only thing that worries me about the Chargers offensive line is the right tackle spot and even the depth behind their starters. Like I said above Okung can be a good blocker for them if healthy, but he has had a tough time doing that the past few seasons. Tevi can be a solid swing tackle and one who can develop to be a steady starter in a year or two.
7 (7) - Isaac Rochell DT - The Chargers are transferring to a 4-3 defensive front so they can use a few depth pieces up front. They do not have a go to interior pass rusher either and maybe Rochell can develop into that. However, run stopping is his calling card and even if that's all he provides this is not that bad of a 7th round pick.
2018 Off Season:
The Chargers are in an interesting spot being a team in a new city. I have no idea how much longer Rivers will be playing for and to avoid any fan disinterest if he does retire or drop off the map the Chargers need to find an heir apparent sooner than later to avoid a down period in a new market. Also, those fans in San Diego upset that Dean Spanos moved the team at least half the blame is on you guys. Spanos is one of the least wealthiest owners in the league and had no shot of building his own stadium which is why they tried to get public funding that did not receive enough votes to pass. So, that's on the fans of San Diego. Plus, Stan Kroenke's offer was too good to pass up since he was providing them with a multi-billion dollar facility and all they have to do is pay rent. I would have liked to see them move to a different city instead of an indifferent LA fan base, but I understand why they moved there.
Anyways, they need to continue to draft well to continue to be in contention with the rest of the teams in their division. Starting with the defense they still need better interior pass rushers and few more secondary pieces to have a well rounded defense. Plus, if Okung falters finding a franchis left should be at the top of their shopping list. If anything being in LA can help them attract more free agents in a great city to live in and where many players already live in the off season.
My 2018 Mock Selection:
1 (12) - Tarvarus McFadden CB Florida St
2 (11) - Nick Fitzgerald QB Mississippi St