Welcome to day seven of TGH Draftmas. Today we look at the Los Angeles Chargers.
2017 will be a big year for the Los Angeles Chargers. To start, they are moving from 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium to 27,000-seat StubHub Center. They will be hoping that the move to Los Angeles will leave behind the disappointment of the 2016 season. Finishing with a 5-11 record and 1-5 against teams in their division, the Bolts will looking to rewrite the wrongs of 2016.
The main area of need will be solidifying the defense. The Chargers finished up with the fourth-worst defense in the NFL, giving up a whopping 26.4 points per game.
The Bolts have started to address these issues by picking up former Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley to be their defensive coordinator. Bradley will likely look to change the Chargers’ defense to a 4-3 set up, as oppose to their previous 3-4 set up.
As expected it has been a quiet free agency for Los Angeles, with a focus on resigning players rather than making any dramatic moves.
Having resigned Melvin Ingram, Jahleel Addae, Kellen Clemens and Damion Square, it seems as if the Chargers will focus on the draft to fill some holes.
The one move they have made is signing left tackle Russell Okung. The former Broncos man is a welcome addition to the Chargers offensive line and a nice upgrade over King Dunlap.
With sell-out crowds expected at the StubHub Center all season, fans will be hoping that they can get some game changers in the draft to propel them to victory.
Chargers Picks and Needs
The Chargers have seven picks in this draft. They will be hoping that they can use these to add some much-needed depth.
First round: (1) No. 7
Second Round: (1) No. 38
Third Round: (1) No. 71
Fourth Round: (1) No. 113
Fifth Round: (1) No. 151
Sixth Round: (1) No. 190
Seventh Round: (1) No. 225
With seven picks, Los Angeles will be hoping to lay the foundations for a strong season. The Chargers have a strong front four defensively, so they will likely look to solidify in the back field. On the offensive side, a long-term replacement for 35-year-old Philip Rivers may be picked up in the later rounds.
The situation with Keenan Allen still remains a concern as he has suffered major injuries in the last two seasons. A decision will need to be made on whether the Chargers still feel he is fit enough to be their number one receiver.
With this in mind, I will say the biggest needs in no particular order are:
Quarterback – A long-term replacement for the aging Philip Rivers
Wide Receiver – A strong receiver could be a consideration depending on the fitness of Keenan Allen
Chargers Targets and Thoughts
Let’s take a look at the first three rounds. As with the other Draftmas profiles, there will be no trades.
Pick #7: Malik Hooker S, Ohio State
The Chargers need a safety, and Hooker is the best safety in the draft, so it’s a match made in heaven. Hooker provides a combination of athleticism, range and ball skills which will see him go early in the draft. If Hooker is picked up early by another team, expect to see Los Angeles turn to Jamal Adams from LSU.
Pick #38: DeShone Kizer QB, Notre Dame
Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger. This would be the perfect time for the Bolts to pick up a future starter. Combine this with a weak class in terms of QB’s and the stage seems set for the Chargers to pick DeShone Kizer in the second round. If he is taken, Los Angeles may decide to abandon the quarterback selection and solidify the offensive line with options such as Cam Robinson and Roderick Johnson likely to be considered.
Pick #71: Taywan Taylor WR, Western Kentucky
Losing Keenan Allen to injury in the first game of last season left Los Angeles struggling with passing options. Considering they recently gave Allen a contract extension, it is likely that Los Angeles will look for a partner for Allen and Taywan Taylor seems like a good fit. With an impressive 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, Taylor seems like a perfect fit at the number two receiver spot.
2017 looks to be a year of rebuilding for the Los Angeles Chargers, as they try to win over the hearts and minds of the people of Los Angeles. They will likely look to lay the foundations for a strong 2018 by focusing more on depth than making any superstar additions.
Thank you for joining us on our seventh day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the Carolina Panthers!