The 9-23 Los Angeles Chargers have been one of the worst teams in the NFL over the course of the last several years. Now that they have moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, they should not expect fan support if they do not win. It will be crucial for the team to try to fix their deficiencies in order to establish a loyal L.A. fan base. Candidly, I am not optimistic. Let’s take a look at some recent moves and free agent/draft needs.
QB: Chargers QB Philip Rivers is 35 years and probably will not play more than a few more years. As long as he is on the field, Rivers will likely be a solid competitor, but look for the Chargers to draft his potential replacement in this year’s draft. I also suspect that Rivers’ heart is not in Los Angeles, but Philip is an honorable guy and I’m sure he’ll give it his all while he’s on the field. However, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to be on that field in L.A. a whole lot longer.
RB: Many Chargers have injury-related durability issues and Melvin Gordon falls into that category. When healthy, he has the potential to be one of the best. But can he stay healthy? The Chargers did not re-sign RB Danny Woodhead and that’s a big loss. RB Branden Oliver was re-signed as was former Eagle RB Kenjon Barner.
WR: Like Gordon, WR Keenan Allen is extremely good, when healthy. But Allen has been oft-injured and drafting him as your #1 fantasy wideout does carry risks, as I personally discovered last year. WR Stevie Johnson has been released and never quite lived up to expectations. WR Tyrell Williams returns and has WR2 fantasy potential. I would assume that the Bolts would need to add additional help at the wide receiver position via draft and/or free agency. WR Travis Benjamin also returns, but despite much speed, he didn’t put the sort of numbers that were anticipated.
TE: Los Angeles (I hate writing that) should be in pretty good shape at tight end. Future Hall of Fame TE Antonio Gates returns and while he’s relatively old at 36, but he should have something left in the tank. Still, he absolutely won’t be the dominating TE1 that he once was. TE Hunter Henry has star potential, but his value is limited while sharing the field with Gates.
PK: Expect PK Josh Lambo to return. He’s a kicker with a strong leg and so-so accuracy.
DEF: The Chargers have re-signed S Jahleel Addae, S Adrian Phillips, DT Damion Square and importantly LB Melvin Ingram. The Chargers defense has the potential to be quite good with potentially dominant players such as DE Joey Bosa and CB Jason Verrett, but they’ll need help. Big 311 lb NT Brandon Mebane anchors the middle of the defensive line, while CB Brandon Flowers has been released. Look for San Diego to add another DE via the draft and they could use further help in the secondary. LB Manti Te’o has been released as well.