What do the Los Angeles Chargers need to accomplish this offseason to put them in contention?
The Los Angeles Chargers have a talented roster as it stands right now. The problem is, they haven’t all played together as a full team for very long due to injuries. The biggest win for the Bolts this offseason would be to have everyone stay healthy. The offensive skill positions aren’t in need of improvements. As for the rest of the roster, offensive linemen and defense are the biggest needs to improve.
Upgrading the Offensive Line
It’s pretty clear that the biggest concern for the Chargers heading into NFL Free Agency was the offensive line. There aren’t many positives to take away from their performance on the field in 2020. The Chargers attempted to improve the line from the 2019 season with the additions of guard Trai Turner and tackle Bryan Bulaga, but injuries once again resurfaced.
Turner was released, creating cap room for the Chargers.
This still leaves a giant hole at left tackle, which the Chargers will likely seek to address in the draft.
Improving the Defense
The Chargers need playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Without star safety Derwin James in 2020, the Chargers had plenty of trouble making plays on a consistent basis. Los Angeles was near the bottom of the league in run-defense and didn’t force many turnovers, with 19 combined. As usual, injuries forced former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to shuffle his defense around, and opposing offenses caught on — especially in the fourth quarter.
So far, the Chargers re-signed cornerback Michael Davis. However, there are still moves in the secondary that need to take place, after releasing Casey Hayward. Derwin James will make any free agent defensive back want to join him. James has the tools to do it all, so that will be a factor the next few weeks.
It’s starting to look like Melvin Ingram will put on a new jersey next year. Replacing Ingram needs to be a top priority for the Bolts. Bringing in another elite edge-rusher to pair opposite of Joey Bosa isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. The market is stacked with a plethora of great edge rushers.
Los Angeles isn’t in need of an interior linebacker, due to the rise of Kenneth Murray, but depth never hurts.
However you look at it, the Chargers have positions to fill. If they are able to land an elite free agent on both sides of the ball, then that puts the team in a good position to contend in 2021. The Chargers now have nine picks in this upcoming NFL Draft. Philip Rivers leaving the Chargers for the Colts last offseason allowed for the Chargers to earn a third-round compensation pick in the 2021 Draft. They could potentially package some of the picks up for a trade, and I expect Telesco to be on the phone making moves in the next coming weeks.