The Chargers showed this past season that LA is not a one team town.
They finally showed an ability to win big games late in the season. Anthony Lynn has proven to be a solid coach, one that players seem to love playing for. It also helps to have a future Hall of Famer under center in Phillip Rivers. And on defense, the team is absolutely stacked and should be one of the top five units in the league next year.
Phillip Rivers is the key to the offense. If he can repeat his borderline MVP campaign from last year, the Chargers will once again be one of the best teams in the AFC. The team has a two-headed monster in the back field with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Gordon is a top 10 running back in football and Ekeler filled in nicely in Gordon’s absence with an MCL injury and on third down last year.
The wide receiver position is also loaded with talent. Keenan Allen is one of the game’s best and Mike Williams showed why the team invested such a high pick on him after a disappointing rookie season. Travis Benjamin has had his struggles but is one of the fastest players in the NFL and can stretch the field. Hunter Henry is coming back from an ACL injury, and if he can stay healthy he should be dependable safety blanket for Rivers.
The team also improved its offensive line, signing center Mike Pouncy after he was released by the Dolphins. However, left tackle Russell Okung is dealing with an undisclosed injury that bears monitoring. If he misses time, the team will have a big hole to fill.
The Chargers defense very well may be the best in the NFL. There is not a single position group that sticks out as a glaring weakness. Along the line the team has pass rushing studs Joey Bosa and Melving Ingram who were one of the best duos in 2018. They also have Brandon Mebane and Notre Dame rookie Jerry Tillery on the interior.
At linebacker the team brought in Thomas Davis, who while older, still showed he has some gas left in the tank. Pairing him with Denzel Perryman and Uchenna Nwosu gives the team a strong core. The Chargers secondary is equally as loaded as its D-line. Casey Hayward is one of the league's best corners and Desmond King is a strong option in the slot. At safety the team has Nasir Adderley and future superstar Derwin James. If everyone stays healthy, it wouldn't be shocking if this unit finishes as the league's best.
Grade: A- | Expected AFC West Finish: 2
The Chargers did a fantastic job of filling out their roster with veteran free agents. Pouncy solidifies the middle of the o-line and Davis will help shore up the weak side on defense. Rookie Jerry Tillery has the tools to be a disruptor in his first year as well. If it weren't for the Chiefs this team would run away with the division, but they should still be a playoff team in 2019.
Graduate of Loyola Maryland and die hard Boston sports fan. "I rub it in pretty good when I win" - Tom Brady