San Diego Chargers Needs: Pre-Draft
While nothing seems to have happened to make the AFC West any easier for the San Diego Chargers to win, the team has added some very valuable depth at positions of need. Nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Casey Hayward, safety Dwight Lowery, and wide receiver Travis Benjamin were all fine additions to the roster. Re-signing Antonio Gates alleviates an immediate need for a tight end, though finding his successor should be on this offseason's to-do list. Now, the Chargers can zero in on their biggest needs.
Most likely, these needs will be addressed through the draft. The Chargers entered the 2016 offseason with a couple of dire needs that have still yet to be addressed. Namely, that's protection for quarterback Philip Rivers, who was beat up quite a bit throughout 2015. This is still a team that is close to playoff contention if it can get the few integral pieces it needs.
So, what's left on the shopping list for the Chargers?
1. Left tackle - San Diego has been quietly active and certainly cost-effective in free agency so far, but the biggest need of this team has still yet to be addressed. Mike McCoy and Rivers have shown that the Chargers are a playoff team under the right circumstances, but unfortunately, Rivers spending a lot of his time on the field taking sacks is not one of those circumstances. Ideally, the Titans take Jalen Ramsey first overall, while Cleveland falls in love with Carson Wentz/Jared Goff. That would allow for Laremy Tunsil to slide to the Chargers at the third pick. It’s a pipe dream, but whether it’s Tunsil or not, left tackle needs to be addressed early in the draft.
2. Defensive end - The Chargers happen to have a solid corps of linebackers, and adding Mebane means the interior of the defensive line is set. Kendall Reyes never panned out, and because of that, he was allowed to walk after the 2015 season, leaving a giant question mark at defensive end. Mebane and defensive end Corey Liuget need a line-mate that can help them free up Jeremiah Attaochu and Melvin Ingram to tee off on opposing quarterbacks.
3. Safety - Lowery was a nice addition, but he’s not going to come in and replace Eric Weddle like it’s nothing. Hayward was a nice addition to the defensive backfield as well, but it’s still in need of a playmaking safety to help fortify the unit - Jalen Ramsey, maybe?
Stoney Keeley is a Tennessee Titans Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @StoneyKeeley and the SPOT's Tennessee Titans Twitter feed at @spot_titans