Team needs: San Diego Chargers

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The Chargers have missed the postseason in each of the last three seasons, their win total declining from nine in 2010 to eight in 2011 to seven in 2012. New head coach Mike McCoy and first-year GM Tom Telesco inherit a club with some strengths — but also some glaring weaknesses. Here is a closer look at the Chargers’ draft needs:

Offensive tackle: The Chargers, who hold the No. 11 overall pick, don’t necessarily have to add a tackle in Round One; in fact, seven years ago, they found a solid, multi-season solution at left tackle in Marcus McNeill in Round Two. Nevertheless, the Chargers would be wise to add to their options on the edges of their line, with the left side (the blind side of quarterback Philip Rivers) a more pressing issue than the right side. Rivers lacks mobility and needs to be well-protected to perform at an optimal level, but he can still hurt defenses if he has the necessary time in the pocket.

Outside linebacker: Shaun Phillips, who led the Chargers in sacks in 2012, is an unrestricted free agent. While second-year pro Melvin Ingram can surely be more of a rush threat that he was as a rookie (one QB sack in 16 games), the Chargers might want to add to the OLB depth chart. Jarret Johnson is tough but not an exceptional pass rusher, and he will be 32 at the start of the season. Also, fourth-year pro Larry English, who hasn’t produced as hoped, will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Cornerback: San Diego could be replacing both starting corners from a season ago with Antoine Cason signing with the Cardinals and 33-year-old Quentin Jammer unsigned. Ex-Jaguar Derek Cox and third-year pro Marcus Gilchrist will be two primary contributors at this position, but there is a little uncertainty thereafter, and the depth could stand to be bolstered.

Interior offensive line: The Chargers added guards Rich Ohrnberger (Arizona) and Chad Rinehart (Buffalo) in free agency, and center Nick Hardwick has been a dependable nine-season starter. However, the Chargers must continue to improve in the trenches given their struggles protecting Rivers and getting much out of the ground game in 2012.

Defensive tackle: With Aubrayo Franklin moving on to the Colts and Antonio Garay now with the Jets, the Chargers might want to add a little bulk in the middle behind starter Cam Thomas, the only defensive tackle currently on the roster.

Giving Rivers the best chance to succeed has to be a top priority for the Chargers, who have one pick in each of the draft’s seven rounds. San Diego has enough skill-position talent to be competitive, but Rivers can’t be sacked 49 times like he was a season ago if the Chargers are to be in the playoff mix. It’s hard to believe, but no AFC team in 2012 gained fewer yards per game than San Diego (297.3).

13 responses to “Team needs: San Diego Chargers

  1. Biggest upgrade of the off-season already happened…dropped Norval and AJ. An upgrade on O & D line and the Chargers could be in the Wild Card hunt by week 13-14. Might need another draft to get back to the postseason, but they built a strong coaching staff and look to be headed in the right direction.

  2. The thing I’m most excited about is our new coaches. I want to see what they can do with guys like Mathews and Meachem. I think this team has the potential to be in the wild-card hunt in December due to the schedule. Also, I curious to see if our new coaches can come up with innovative game plans week-to-week, something that was lacking under Norv. Remember guys, this team was a freaking 4th and 29 away from beating the Super Bowl champs last year. Maybe the new coaches will teach angles and how to tackle. One can dream!

  3. Having HC Norv Turner gone is the most important improvement so far. He was a very good OC, but terrible as a HC. How many times did the cameras show him acting like a deer on the sideline after a terrible call when they needed a HC to be a tiger? Yes they need at least 3 starters on the O line and probably 3 Back-ups. If OT Clary is on the team at all, things will get worse.

  4. joetoronto | Apr 13, 2013, 8:41 AM PDT
    1. Moving Vans
    2. Fanbase

    Choo choo!

    Hey joe! The UPS guy is here with those fan base replacing tarps the Raiders ordered. What part of your “stadium” do you want them? They’re big enough to cover the whole thing, so that is an option.

  5. The biggest mistake AJ made was not drafting OL for years.

    He let that go and let that go and finally it all fell apart. Rivers has been running for his life for several seasons and the running game is non-existent.

  6. It may not be a TOP priority (that argument begins and ends with the O-line), an exit strategy at QB needs to be considered. There is no question that Rivers is their guy this year and next, and his decline over the last two seasons had much more to do with pressure in the pocket than Rivers’ skill set. That said, Rivers’ arm just hasn’t been the same since that shoulder injury he didn’t have and his best seasons are likely behind him. He will be a better than serviceable QB for the next 2-3 years, but Whitehurst is not the answer as the heir-apparent. Whitehurst honestly isn’t even a viable backup in an offense that relies as much as it does on the passing game. And, new OC not withstanding, this will remain a pass-first offense until Glass-Bones Matthews proves he can carry the load for a whole season or they bring in someone who can. By round 3, this team needs to at least be evaluating the QB talent still on the board.

  7. 1.) invest in the offensive line to give Rivers a moment to throw the ball
    2.) call more plays that include blocking full back and a blocking tight end (L.McClain & J.Phillips) to help the line protect Rivers
    3.) let your young players PLAY (like Ingram, Mouton, Troutman & Shareece Wright). Drafting players in the 1 to 3rd rounds can contribute, and are better than depth.

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