Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Reggie Walker (52) and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) celebrate an interception during the fourth quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. San Diego won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Long List of Areas to Improve on Chargers Defense


The Chargers defense struggled for most of the season with the lack of depth at all positions. There will be a lot of upgrades needed all around the defensive side of the football. Here is a breakdown on each of the position groups.

Defensive Line

The defensive line struggled for most of the season. The nose tackle position was the most glaring hole on the roster. Cam Thomas was unable to take on that role as the starter after Aubrayo Franklin was allowed to walk away in free agency. Franklin is available in free agency again and the team might want to pick him up. The team could also look at Louis Nix from Notre Dame in the draft. Corey Liuget is a solid starter, but the team needs to find more help on the defensive line. Kendall Reyes didn’t stand out this year and the team could use more depth at the position behind him.


The outside linebackers had a ton of injuries during the year. Melvin Ingram came back and added a spark toward the end of the year, but the guys that were counted on to contribute missed a lot of time. Dwight Freeney is coming back from a serious injury and is getting up there in age. The team will hope that he is able to return. He is one of the players on the roster that is able to add consistent pressure. Jarret Johnson adds toughness off of the edge and missed a lot of time this season also. He played well this year, but missed too much time. You can never have too many pass rushers and the Chargers don’t have enough.

The middle linebacker depth is terribly weak. After Donald Butler and Manti Te’o, the talent drops off badly. Bront Bird had to play when Te’o had to leave on Sunday with an injury. Donald Buler is a free agent and the team needs to bring him back. Depth is needed in a bad way at the position. Te’o and Butler would be solid starters in the middle.


Shareece Wright looks like a solid starter on one side, but the team could use another starter at corner. Richard Marshall finished the season as the starer and did alright. Derek Cox was a huge disappointment and needs to be dropped off of the roster. Johnny Patrick and Steve Williams will make their return this season, but the team needs more depth at the position and a starter on the opposite side of Wright.


Eric Weddle is one of the best at the position, but we need more help at the strong safety position. Weddle shouldn’t be the guy playing tough in the box. He is too small and gets pounded down there. He should be roaming free in the secondary and getting his hands on the football. He had to roam down in the box too much this season with the injuries at linebacker. Jahleel Addae proved to be a solid find as an undrafted free agent. They should look to get Bernard Pollard in the secondary. he would be a nice fit on the roster.

John Pagano’s contract is done and Mike McCoy needs to decide if the two fit together. Expectations are that the team will bring him back though.

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  • vct

    Any chance of us moving to 4-3? Legit, Franklin, Nix, Freeney at the front. Ingram, Teo, Butler as LBs?

    • BoltUp45

      Ingram would be on the line like Freeny. Johnson would be the other Lb with Te’o in the middle and Butler on the other side.

      • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

        agree with this… if that is the way they wanted to go. it is possible, but if pagano is back.. not happening

  • Tazzster

    I think CB needs to be our first pick. Richard Marshal is not getting it done.

    From there out, best defensive player available. You would like to get two more guys that could be starters, but that is probably unlikely.

    And any quality free agents will break the bank.

    They looked better near teh end of the season but we need impact players that can be a serious threat on the defensive side.

  • Sergio Quintero


    Nose Tackle: They bring in Paul Soliai or Linval Joseph. I’m sure the chargers believe they will improve the D-Line if they can get Lissemore playing 5 tech DE with either of the Nose Tackles mentioned they will get much improved play in early downs.

    OLB: I’ll go with the most current Walterfootball.com first rounder Vic Beasley at pick 25. They will try to renegotiate down the contract of Jarrett Johnson, if I were Johnson I would take a paycut, I doubt he get much more than 1 million dollar in the open market. Freeney will be back but on designated pass rusher role, much like like they had with Antwan Barnes, and have Johnson play on running downs, with Ingram getting the bulk of the snaps at the other OLB position.

    CB: Same as before, the most recent mock draft has the chargers taking Jason Verrett at pick 57. I expect the chargers to resign Richard Marshall and cut Derek Cox. With Marshall and their draft pick competing for the spot alongside Wright. Plus a competition for playing at slot corner between Gilchrist, Patrick & Steve Williams.

    ILB: Donald Butler gets a 4 year deal at around 26-28 million. In terms of backups I think Gachkar and Reggie Walker might be their best options for 2014.

    S: They will rotate Addae & Gilchrist around Weddle with Gilchrist playing the slot corner/rover position he played late in the season and Addae playing deeper in coverage. I doubt they draft anyone with some many other needs, will they finally get something from Brandon Taylor? if they resign Stuckey it probably means they expect little or nothing from Taylor.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      stuckey is solid as a special teamer though. real solid. i am hoping we still see dwight freeney and jarret johnson in chargers uniforms next season. would love that rotation in there.

      • Sergio Quintero

        Nothing against Stuckey, my question is more related to Taylor, when and if will he get playing time, and provide some contribution.

        Having a pass rush rotation of Ingram, Freeney and Beasley is major improvement for 2014.

        • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

          oh yea… and beasley added to it. would be crazy!

          i have no trust in relying in taylor anymore. he took a whole season off to recover from a major injury. We have seen nothing from him on the field and have no idea what he can provide. tough to put any faith into that

  • gpack17

    i really see a 1st or 2nd rounder going to the corner position. i really like marcus roberson from florida in round 2, gilbert from ok state in round 1, or stanley jean-baptiste from nebraska in rounds 4 or 5..as far as dt i could see us getting a nose in 3 or 4 maybe aaron donald, mccullers, easley. as far as outside backers i would like to keep freeney for one more year and maybe get depth later in the draft and take a chance on former top hs prospect ronald powell from florida or devon kennard from usc..other than that, i really dont see us taking other positions on d.

    for safety i could see addae and taylor rotating with gilchrist maybe back to corner. as far as the slot corner we will be seeing steve williams there next year as hes pretty small to play outside. also if we ran a 4-3 id probably have butler, teo, ingram as the 3 backers with johnson and freeney as ends and maybe luiget and reyes inside.