Chargers Offseason Needs Pile Up, Have Top 15 Pick in 2021 Draft

The second of the two Los Angeles teams recently had their season’s end, with a win against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 17. Even with a victory and going out on a good note, the Chargers offseason needs are starting to pile up, and it is very apparent. I asked Chargers fans, what they thought their favorite team needed to do this offseason, and I got a handful of answers. More specifically, they want new ownership, and it’s easy to see why when owner Dean Spanos is known to be “Cheap.”

Even with all the issues, this organization has had in the past, there is plenty to look forward to for the Chargers. However, it all starts with addressing the Chargers offseason needs and starting over fresh. This roster is full of young, talented players who can be cornerstone pieces for years to come. It is time to stop being the “Second” or “other” team in Los Angeles and start being “The” team in Los Angeles. I’m sure that is something Chargers fans will love, as this franchise has not always been highly regarded in the league.

In San Diego, the team had their own city, with a Stadium that was not shared with another NFL team. However, it was undersized and used for soccer. With the pandemic arise in California, the Chargers have yet to have any fans at Sofi Stadium.

The lung puncture on Tyrod Tayor by the trainer may have been a blessing in disguise, as they later found out they have a star in Justin Herbert. The young quarterback from Oregon went toe-to-toe against Patrick Mahomes and nearly led them to a win. Not to mention he almost broke the record for most passing yards in a season by a rookie and did not play two games. Los Angeles has a lot to look forward to, but it starts with recognizing the Chargers offseason needs.

Chargers Offseason Needs

Chargers offseason needs
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 20: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at SoFi Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Obviously, one of the main Chargers offseason needs is a head coach, as they just let Anthony Lynn go. It starts here, in my opinion. The Chargers have been a team that consistently loses games by one score and blows late leads. That is coaching, and there are a few candidates that can help fix those and other problems. However, that is a different article for a different day.

In this one, we will discuss all of the positional needs for the teams. With the cap space they have coming up and the nine draft picks they have, there are plenty of options on the table. Let’s start with the biggest need for the team and one that fans are crying out for.

Offensive Line

Chargers offseason needs
Chargers tackle Russell Okung and tightend Hunter Henry eye defense presnap. Washington Redskins vs. Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center, Carson CA on Sunday December 10, 2017. Photo By Robert Casillas,Daily Breeze/ SCNG

The Los Angeles Chargers do not have an excellent offensive line, to say the least. Rookie sensation quarterback Justin Herbert was sacked 32 times, making that the ninth most in the league. Some of it can be attributed to injuries, especially at the center position with Mike Pouncey out for the whole year.

Pro Football Focus has a ranking system for every player, on a scale from 0-100, 100 being the best. The Chargers offensive line does not have a single-player ranked above 70, and only two ranked above 65. Those two are Scott Quessenberry-who only played 33 snaps and did not allow a sack or penalty- and Storm Norton-who has a penalty and a sack allowed in just 309 snaps.

The current offensive line consists of Bryan Bulaga (61.6 grade, two sacks), Sam Tevi (52.9, two sacks, four penalties), Dan Feeney (48.1, four sacks, two penalties), Forrest Lamp (49.6, two sacks, one penalty), and Storm Norton. It is clear that this part of the team will need to be addressed either in the draft or free agency.

For the Chargers offseason needs to be met, we must first look at who will become free agents on this offensive line. Los Angeles has five unrestricted free agents on the offensive line, four of them starters. They have two restricted free agents in Cole Toner, who played 295 total snaps, and Tyree St. Louis, who played 80 total snaps.

All of these players could be easily replaced in the offseason or the draft. With the 13th pick in the 2021 draft, the Chargers offseason needs can revolve around this draft. In several mock drafts, many people have Los Angeles selecting offensive tackle from USC Alijah Vera-Tucker. While he is a good option for where they are picking, he alone will not fulfill the Chargers offseason needs.

Cornerback

Chargers offseason needs, 2021 draft
DENVER, COLORADO – NOVEMBER 01: Phillip Lindsay #30 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against Nasir Adderley #24 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth quarter of the game at Empower Field At Mile High on November 01, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The second biggest of the Chargers offseason needs would maybe be the cornerback situation. Going into the season, the Chargers were thought to have one of the best defensive back units in the league, and while they do have good safeties, the cornerbacks did not play particularly well.

They did not have a starting cornerback who was graded higher than a 64, with the highest being Michael Davis at 63.1. The 26-year-old corner played 14 games and played almost every snap in those games. Davis was targeted 104 times and allowed 63 completions for 724 yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers don’t look good, he did register 14 pass deflections on the season, putting him at eighth in the league.

Chris Harris Jr. was once one of the best defensive backs in the league, but after rounding the corner and entering his 30’s, he has not looked that great. Harris gave up four touchdowns this season on 38 total targets. Those numbers are not great, especially considering he played nine games.

Casey Hayward was another corner which was once atop of the league, as a two-time pro-bowler. Unfortunately, he also did not have the best season and gave up five touchdowns and 631 yards.

The Chargers offseason needs in this area start with depth and can be done through the draft. This franchise wants a fresh start, and no better way to do it than through the draft with young players. With the nine picks in the 2021 draft, Los Angeles can get the Chargers offseason needs at cornerback fixed.

One player at the top of the list would be Virginia Tech Cornerback Caleb Farley. He is projected to go in the top ten picks but could easily fall to 13. A player who is projected to be drafted right before the chargers pick is Patrick Surtain from Alabama, who will be showcasing his skills in the national championship game. If General Manager Tom Telesco can approach this one of many Chargers offseason needs, their future can be bright on the defensive side of the ball.

2021 Prediction

If all of the Chargers offseason needs are addressed, and everything goes well, this team can have a very bright future. The coaching issue needs to be addressed first to give a cleat prediction on next season, but without that issue being complete, the Chargers can still possibly make the playoffs next year.

With a new coach and culture, Los Angeles can quickly turn this 7-9 season into a possible ten-win season. Yes, Kansas City will be there in the division and likely the leader, but the Raiders may not be as close as expected. The wildcard spot is up for grabs in the AFC West.

With the pieces they do have, this team can be a playoff contender for the next ten years, at least. Justin Herbert will have an opportunity to become a top quarterback in the league. With the season he had, Chargers fans should be excited about what the future holds.

This is a team that has always dealt with injury problems, and this year was nothing different. From their newly paid running back Austin Ekeler to their star receiver in Keenan Allen, this year was full of injuries, as always. Let’s not forget the stud safety in Derwin James Jr., who did not play a game this season due to an injury before the season and only played five games last season.

Melvin Ingram was another victim of the Chargers injury curse, as the former pro-bowler only played seven games. His absence for much of the season is a big reason why the pass rush did not play at the level they were capable of this season.

That is probably the most important of the many Chargers offseason needs for most of the teams in the NFL. In 2019 Los Angeles was struck with injuries, just like this one. If they can get healthy, other teams will need to watch out. This quarterback and defense have potential, and the Chargers offseason needs are going to determine whether those can be unlocked last season or not.

Thanks for reading my article on the Chargers offseason needs!

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Chargers offseason needs, 2021 draft
Oct 13, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry (86) celebrates his touchdown scored against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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