Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
What should the Chargers top priority be when we head into the draft in April? I understand that we need a player on defense that can make an impact, but does that player have to automatically be an outside linebacker?
Shaun Phillips will be back at full strength and should be able to be an impact on one side of the defense. He has been that impact player on defense before and he should be able to do it again. On the other side, Antwan Barnes has shown that he can get after the quarterback. He led the team with 11 sacks and only started 5 games last year. If he prepared this offseason to be the starter, what could those sack numbers look like with a healthy SP95 on the others side? We need to add some depth at the position, but should that position be our first priority? Shouldn’t Barnes be given a shot at the starting job?
Our need at strong safety seems pretty large with Steve Gregory best suited for a back-up role. Gregory is likely to look for a starting job in free agency and we don’t see him as a starter here. If Quentin Jammer makes the move over to safety (which doesn’t seem likely), then we will need to look to draft a corner. The secondary had a really tough season last year and there needs to be upgrades made.
What about on the defensive front? Antonio Garay is a free agent and there are no guarantees for him to return here. It seems very likely that he will be here, but we need to get him some help. Garay’s production dipped a little last season and it could be because he saw a few too many snaps. We can add another big man to rotate with him or we could add another big man to work alongside him. Corey Liuget was just a rookie next to him last year and Vaughn Martin saw his first full time action. They both should benefit from last season and come in stronger this coming season, but we could always use big men on that front line.
What about help at middle linebacker? Donald Butler looks like he will be a solid contributor for years to come and he should be even better after his first season of experience. Takeo Spikes still has a little left in the tank, but he does not have the wheels to stay on the field during passing downs. Jonas Mouton missed the whole season with an injury and should be able to contribute, but we don’t know what to expect from him. We need to find another player to throw in the rotation.
What should our top priority be going into the draft? There are a lot of holes to fill and we have to do our best to fill in those gaps.