LA Chargers
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 27: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The LA Chargers have a ton of potential. New head man Brandon Staley comes in with the expectation of developing Justin Herbert and fixing a terrible defense. The defense will follow what he did as the DC with the Rams, a 3-4 front. The offense showed what they can do with Herbert at the helm. Can the Chargers compete? Is Herbert the real deal? Do Chargers fans even exist? All of these questions need to be answered, but for now lets get into the roster and draft picks.

Staley’s Pedigree

The defense was MIA just about the entire season. That’s why Staley got the job. One of the keys for a bounce back will be a healthy Derwin James. James is a former first round pick from Florida State. He has only been healthy for his rookie year and has since been dealing with season ending injuries. The young strong safety may be in a make or break situation. Pairing him with Nassir Adderley could make a lethal combo if they stay together. Seventh round pick Mark Webb from Georgia is the immediate backup to Adderley.

The corner position is a concern due to lack of depth. Chris Harris Jr. is 32 and not what he used to be. The good news is the team drafted Asante Samuel Jr. in the second round from Florida State. For our younger viewers who may not know what is dad did in the NFL, highly recommend you Google him. Look for Samuel to make a compelling case to be a starter. Michael Davis is coming off a year with three interceptions. If those guys go down, not a lot of depth behind them.

The biggest change will be Joey Bosa transitioning from defensive end to weakside linebacker. Uchenna Nwosu will be opposite him. On the inside, it’s 2020 first round pick Kenneth Murray Jr. and Kyzier White. Rookie linebackers Chris Rumph and Nick Niemann will most likely be in line for subpackage and rotational duties to start. The Chargers took Rumph was in the fourth round from Duke. Then, they took Niemann in round six from Iowa. There were not draft picks used on the defensive line. This shows confidence in Justin Jones, Linval Joseph, and Jerry Tillery.

Lighting Strikes

Herbert is looking like the future. He’s smart, accurate, and athletic. Austin Ekeler coming back for hopefully the full season will add some serious dimension to the offense. Sixth round pick Larry Roundtree from Missouri is currently buried on the depth chart, but it’s early. The Chargers are lucky to have a solid group of receivers. First, Kennan Allen is a freak of nature. Anyone who has questions about Mike Williams breaking out should be ready to be proven wrong.

Williams is a former first round talent from Clemson and now has a young QB who can get him the ball on a regular basis. The final starting receiver at this point may be Jalen Guyton. In limited regular action, he had 55 catches, 511 yards, and three touchdowns. The best part is that Guyton averaged 18.3 yards as big play threat. Shout out to North Texas. The team drafted Joshua Palmer in the third round from Tennessee as extra help for Herbert.

The addition of Jared Cook is a little puzzling. He has talent. But, the LA Chargers got a steal with Donald Parham Jr. Like Guyton, his is big play threat. Parham averaged 15.9 yards off of 10 catches, 159 yards, and three touchdowns. With Hunter Henry gone, he will get more opportunities. Tre’ McKitty will also be fighting for opportunities as a third round pick from Georgia. I don’t get to do this often, but I have to give the fullback some love. Gabe Nabers is an athletic fullback. He was undrafted in 2020 out of Florida State. Nabers actually had two receiving touchdowns and added to an up and coming passing attack.

Is It Enough Up Front?

Finally, the offensive line. In the first round, Rashawn Slater was taken in the first round from Northwestern. Slater will play left tackle. The starting center role was a need. Corey Linsley came over from Green Bay. A year prior, Bryan Bulaga came from Green Bay as well. Bulaga is currently the right tackle. The Chargers however still need help at guard. LA probably can’t give up anything to get a big name in a trade.

They do have Brenden James. James is a rookie fifth round tackle from Nebraska. It isn’t unheard of for linemen to shift around. Give it a try, what do you have to lose? If the LA Chargers are willing to part with one defensive lineman or linebacker, since they have a lot of depth at those positions, there is a chance they can get a young versatile swing tackle who can play guard. For those who don’t know, a swing tackle is a lineman who comes in when an extra lineman is required for a play, and is a backup tackle in case a starter gets injured. The Chargers don’t need a superstar, just someone who can play the position well and isn’t getting a chance with the team they are on now.

The LA Chargers can show that they are just as relevant as the Rams. They need to have a good season to prove it. The pieces are in place to be good for a long time. The AFC West will be a struggle to win with the Chiefs as good as they are. If done well, the Chargers have a plan in place to be KC’s biggest competition.

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