Cover Photo: Getty Images
The Los Angeles Chargers are arguably one of the most talented teams in football. Unfortunately, due to injuries, a home-field disadvantage and an inability to knock off the New England Patriots, the Chargers still haven't taken that next step into the NFL's truly elite teams.
With a roster this loaded, the Chargers will once again have a shot at making a serious run in the postseason, but that doesn't mean they don't have holes. So, let's break down the Chargers' biggest needs in free agency and the NFL Draft.
On offense, the Chargers are pretty loaded at their skill-position group, but they could use a boost on the offensive line. Los Angeles' offensive line graded out as the second-worst pass-blocking unit in football, according to Pro Football Focus, so getting Philip Rivers more protection has to be a priority.
Unfortunately, there aren't many viable options available in free agency, so the Chargers will likely look for help in the 2019 NFL Draft. Los Angeles would be wise to upgrade its center spot, as Mike Pouncey received a 56.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, which was No. 25 among centers last season. Garret Bradbury projects as an immediate impact player at the position, and he could be available when the Chargers are on the clock at No. 28.
Alternatively, someone like Oklahoma's Cody Ford could be a nice fit. He's versatile enough to play both guard and tackle, and he'd be an insurance policy for Russell Okung, who has struggled staying on the field in the past.
As for the other side of the ball, Los Angeles arguably has the most dynamic pass-rushing unit in the league, but it could use an upgrade on the interior of the defensive line.
Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery is a freak athlete, and he could take a lot of attention away from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, but he's not exactly a finished product yet. Boston College's Zach Allen is less dynamic, but he's a polished player who's excellent against the run, versatile enough to play inside and solid as a pass rusher.
After losing the oft-injured Jason Verrett in free agency, the Chargers need a bit more depth at cornerback as well. Of course, with the increased prominence of the nickel package, it's probably fair to say that most teams need more depth at cornerback, but it's a need nonetheless.
Los Angeles should make sure it retains DB Trevor Williams, who's a restricted free agent, but taking a flier on someone like Morris Claiborne wouldn't hurt either. The Chargers could also address cornerback with their third-round pick, and Kentucky's Lonnie Johnson certainly has the size to be the prototypical cornerback Chargers' defensive coordinator Gus Bradley covets.
Finally, the Chargers need help at linebacker, particularly in the run game. The Chargers' leaky run defense was exposed in the postseason against the Patriots, as Sony Michel tallied 129 rushing yards on just 24 attempts.
After signing former Carolina Panthers' All-Pro Thomas Davis, it's unlikely the Chargers will sign another linebacker in free agency. But the 36-year-old is unlikely to make a dramatic impact, so Los Angeles could still address the position in the draft. Alabama's Mack Wilson projects as a solid NFL-ready player, and he could be on the board in the second round for Los Angeles.
Ultimately, the last stretch of this offseason will be crucial for the Chargers. As currently constituted, the Chargers have the stars and impact players they need to make a serious run. If they patch up some of their remaining holes, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Los Angeles take a huge step forward next season.
Build your free bracket today, unlike other brackets, our $250,000 payout is guaranteed! It’s tournament time, and this year, you can get a piece of the action for FREE. Fill out your free bracket today, then come back to bet all throughout the tournament. https://www.fanduel.com/march-madness
Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.