Defense (Using Nickel Package, which is becoming standard at this point in the NFL)
|CB 1||CB3||FS||SS||CB 2|
DE: Philon (in 3-4 scheme); only DE on current roster (Ben Gardner on PS)
Starting up front, this defensive line has been atrocious; minor league hitters facing major league pitchers. Arguably the best move of the offseason by Telesco was bringing in Brandon Mebane from Seattle. The 10 year veteran will hopefully be the nose tackle this team has been missing since the departure of Jamal Williams.
The defense gave up 4.8 yards a carry to opponents last year (over 2,00 yards in the season), and the 31-year-old Mebane won’t make it all better by himself. The Bolts need to find another starter on the line to go along with Mebane and Corey Liuget, as well as look to add to the depth of the unit that is currently occupied by guys with either injury or performance problems. The Chargers should be elbow deep in the defensive line market this upcoming draft, and luckily for them, the draft class is loaded with talent in this area. The Chargers need multiple defensive linemen.
Looking at the linebackers, fans should be ecstatic at the young core the Chargers currently possess. Melvin Ingram is the oldest of the starters, and he is only 26 years old. On the opposite edge, Jerry Attaochu is only 23 heading into his 3rd season. Denzel Perryman (23) became the most exciting player to watch on the team last season, and will be looking to breakout in 2016. His aggressive and ‘thunder’ like play, has improved the development of Manti Teo (25), who brings the ‘lightning’ aspect of the ILB equation.
However, with the departures of Donald Butler (Alleluia!), Kavell Conner, and Chi Chi Ariguzo, the Chargers will have to look to add depth to the inside linebacker position. As of now, Nick Dzunbar is the only backup on the roster. So put it on the board and add another need the Bolts will have to address during, or after the draft.
As for the cornerback group, heading into free agency, I believed bringing back Patrick Robinson should have been a top priority for the Chargers. But Telesco did one better (in my opinion), bringing in Casey Hayward from Green Bay. He has the versatility to play inside at nickel or on the outside opposite Jason Verrett. This is good news, since I have previously stated that the nerve wrecking Brandon Flowers is imitating Donald Butler; although, the team believes he just had a bad year (sure, play that card) and they’re looking forward to him bouncing back.
With at least 3 CB’s on the field for most of the game, depth at the cornerback position is a must; and that’s not even mentioning the injury problems this team has endured. Steve Williams has been solid in the backup role, but he has been called upon more than you would want.
Rookie Craig Mager showed a little flash at the end of the season, and hopefully he can turn into someone who can end up replacing Flowers.
Finally, there is no way the safety position is set heading into 2016. Dwight Lowry has been brought in, but I assume he will have a similar role that the departed Jimmy Wilson had a year ago. Jahleel Addae whiffs or hits his own guys more often than opponents, and unfortunately the team seems set on him in the SS role. Regardless of opinions on any safeties on the roster, the Chargers need to add at least one more before the season.
Current Roster Conclusion:
I’m no expert, but just looking at every position on offense and defense, it doesn’t take one to realize the amount of work left to do when it comes to assembling this roster before training camp. I wrote the word need when talking about 7-8 positions. So, conservatively, there are 5-6 important pieces of the team that are incomplete. Usually, teams don’t walk away with 6 starters after the rookie draft. The Chargers are in a desperate position if they look to contend in 2016, and could use all the draft picks they can get. They need to trade the 3rd overall pick.
The Chargers currently hold eight draft picks, with two in round six (one from Minnesota) and one each in the others rounds. However, they have only four picks in the top 102 selections, with their last four picks all coming after pick 175 overall.
Reviewing the draft selection point chart at ProFootballTalk here (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/draft/draft-trade-chart/), you can see how each draft pick is awarded an amount of points (more of a guide, not on-the-mark). This can give some insight to us fans regarding how many draft picks could be swapped when draft trades occur.
Using my old friends mathematics, I came to the conclusion of a plausible trade with the San Francisco 49ers:
49ers Receive (from Chargers)
3rd pick overall = 2,200 pts
Chargers Receive (from 49ers)
7th pick overall = 1,500 pts
2nd rd, 6th pick (37 ovr) = 530 pts
4th rd, 7th pick (105 ovr) = 84 pts
This would give the Chargers the following draft picks:
If this were to happen (or some similar version), you would have to give at least a steady golf clap for Telesco. Considering the Chargers roster debacle, falling back only four slots in this draft really isn’t that big of a deal for this return. If Laremy Tunsil goes #1 to the Titans, with QBs taken at pick two by the Browns and pick 3 for our trade partners, maybe one of the top defensive playmakers falls to pick seven.
The Bolts would be adding two more selections in the top 105 picks of the draft, giving them six total. With the position they are in, this is the type of move that can help smooth out the street more quickly. One would think with three selections in the top 37 overall picks, Telesco could fill some of the important vacancies on this team with impact rookies
The Chargers know what their plans are in three weeks when the draft officially begins. Trade or no trade, they need to leave the draft with more than a few new players who are capable of making an impact in their rookie season.