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San Diego Chargers Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up


Stoney Keeley
The San Diego Chargers hauled in some solid football players at great values during the 2016 NFL draft. Still, the team's two biggest needs remain unaddressed. What's left for the Chargers to acquire? | Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Most experts agree that the San Diego Chargers drafted with a premium placed on value, not necessarily need. This is evidenced by the organization neglecting the defensive backfield or offensive tackle positions altogether. That's not entirely unwarranted. 

Sure, we can all agree that the Chargers had holes all over the roster. That being said, this team desperately needed a left tackle and safety. After the draft, the Chargers are still in need of a left tackle and safety. Is that how this whole thing is supposed to work? I'm not sure - maybe Tom Telesco is a bona fide football genius, and there's a reason I'm not an executive in the NFL. I'm willing to admit that.

Still, drafting defensive end Joey Bosa was a luxury I'm not sure was afforded. It's a great pick, and does fill a huge need. The Chargers' pass rush was putrid in 2015. The theory is that with a better pass rush, all levels of the defense will be improved. That's a nice concept, but is that something foolproof enough to warrant not selecting a defensive back at all? 

Even if that's the case, how does it warrant not selecting a tackle at all? Telesco and company didn't do enough to secure the Chargers' biggest need. So, what is left on the shopping list?

Left tackle

Philip Rivers didn't have his left tackle before the draft, and to this day, still doesn't have his left tackle. King Dunlap simply isn't getting the job done, but Mike McCoy and his staff seem committed to him for at least one more season. Maybe they aren't ready to give up on him or the Tyreek Burwell project just yet. 

There doesn't seem to be a ton of evidence to support continuing to roll with the status quo, though. The Chargers ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing offense. The only team that was worse? Detroit. The unit's 3.5 yards-per-carry average was the worst in the league. Their four rushing touchdowns also occupied the NFL basement. Melvin Gordon, the team's leading rusher, had a mere 641 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, and lost four fumbles.

So, of that - what makes anyone think the offensive line doesn't need addressing? 

Safety

Like the offensive tackle position, the Chargers have a hodgepodge of guys at the safety position - none are as proven as the safety they lost: Eric Weddle. Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery make for a respectable pair of safeties, but can they gel quickly enough to make Charger fans forget all about Weddle? It's a huge mystery.

Behind those two are Darrell Stuckey and Adrian Phillips. Whether anyone emerges from this group or not remains to be seen. This is a position that certainly should have been addressed at some point. Passing on Ramsey was fine, but to go seven rounds without even thinking about grabbing a young safety to develop was pretty bold.

Quarterback

I wanted to go cornerback here, but in reality, the Chargers have a nice top three at the position. Jason Verrett is going to be better in his second year. Brandon Flowers is decent, and the team added Casey Hayward in free agency. They're set for 2016. Defensive line depth is another area of concern, but it's time for Telesco and McCoy to start thinking about Rivers' heir apparent.

If anything happens to Rivers this season, the Chargers are left with Kellen Clemens to man the ship. That's not necessarily bad, but it's also not very good. Behind Clemens, Bryn Renner and undrafted rookie free agent Mike Bercovici will battle for the third spot. What's more, Rivers isn't exactly a spring chicken. He's signed for four more seasons, but who's to say age doesn't catch up with him quick? Or, who's to say he doesn't decide to leave town? Or, join the circus? Or, anything! It's the NFL - you never know! 

The group behind Rivers doesn't instill a lot of confidence. The Chargers need to start piecing together a plan to develop a guy with real potential to be a starter in the league. 

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.


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I agree that the QB is a need, the main problem this year is the lack of solid QB's in the draft.  Unless there is a diamond in the rough that shows up in free agency signings, not sure if the Chargers can get better here as far as a back up is concerned but next year it has to be a top priority.

Stoney Keeley likes this

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I agree with your assessment of the cornerback position. Bringing in Hayward was a savvy move. He may not have been a huge star in Green Bay, but he showed definite upside.

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Am I missing something? This should be Verrett's third year, not second. Did he miss his rookie season with injury?

I agree that the Chargers' offensive line doesn't look that great... maybe the team is looking for their younger guys to develop into better players.

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I think the Chargers might look to the Chiefs for a stopgap backup QB. Aaron Murray looked pretty decent last preseason and Tyler Bray has a heck of an arm; Bray is currently the #2 but it's very much an open competition.

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On 5/27/2016 at 1:54 PM, Frank Scaduto said:

Here's hoping as a Jaguars writer and fan that we didn't get the short end of the stick when you all picked Bosa instead of Ramsey.

It's already showing Ramsey was the better pick. No matter how good Bosa might be on the field he's giving every indication he'll be holding out, wanting early renegotiation and generally being a me-first player.

 

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I agree with what Joe said back in May. It is far from an easy thing to replace a player who has played such a pivotal role both on the field and as a leader for so long. Weddle with definitely be missed in a major way this season.

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