Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell (21) celebrates breaking up a pass by the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back everyone. Last time we talked about our options at the Cornerback position and which players would fit the Chargers the best. Today we are going to take a look at our option at the Safety position . This position is not as torn up as our CB or WR corps, but when you really take a closer look we have no depth behind Jahleel Addae.
Addae is a great and really talented player. He has all the potential in the world to become another great safety for us, maybe our younger version of Eric Weddle or Rodney Harrsion, but it’s our lack of depth that is troubling me.
There’s Brandon Taylor, but the guy can never stay healthy. He is kind of like our defensive version of Danario Alexander. I really think we are going to let Taylor go if he doesn’t muster up his health soon.
Behind Taylor, we have Darrell Stucky. He is OK at safety but not the best. He is really good in zone coverage schemes but really struggles in man to man playbooks, he is very one-dimensional on defense, but is excellent on special teams.
Lastly we have Marcus Ghilchrist, who transferred to the Safety position last season after playing our nickel cornerback position for the last couple of seasons for the Chargers. He really sucked at Safety. He was great in run support, but really struggled in playing man or zone coverage.
As a result of his below average performance, undrafted rookie Jahleel Addae took the leadership role, and looked really good. I think Pagano is going to bring Gilly back into the CB corps this season and have him man the nickle again. Now being a man of competition I would love to have the chargers draft someone or pick up a free agent that could give Addae a run for his job. It’s not that I don’t like Addae or anything, but it would be nice to see because if Addae were to lose that starting job to someone else we picked up, then that means we have some really solid depth. Plus he could be a mentor to Addae and it would just make him develop into a much better player, and priming his performance to elite status.
Here are our options going into free agency, once again these players will be under the age of 29 and cheap to get since we are strapped with cash. Players like Kerry Rhodes and Jairus Byrd are already eliminated. Yes they are all talented, but they don’t meet my requirements.
Here’s my favorite group of guys that will be testing the free agent market this off-season:
Nate Allen (Philadelphia Eagles):
This 26-year-old safety from the Eagles is probably one of the most underrated safeties in the game. He will STICK to his receivers. He has great size, standing at 6′, and has really long arms which make pass breakups a simple task for him. He is really physical too, but that could be a problem with pass interference penalties but he has really great instincts in pass coverage schemes so its kind of a wash. His biggest issues however that are halting him from being a better player is his lack of technique, he doesn’t have the best hands in the world to pick off the ball and he needs to work on his tackling skills a little more. I think he has the potential to be our starting SS, leaving Addae as our 2nd stringer. Pagano can always switch it up with Allen and Addae on certain playbooks.
Mike Mitchell (Carolina Panthers):
Mitchell is also 26 years of age and is also 6′ tall. I LOVE his style of play, like a lion hunting his prey. He will lay you out with an open tackle. He has great speed and agility, which is what Telesco is looking for on defense, and he would really help in deep ball coverage. Oh and did I mention that he can tackle? Mitchell is a hard tackler, he will LIGHT you up. That can be a good thing and a bad thing. Yes it looks good on TV, but he always goes for the big hit when he tackles, which makes him miss sometimes. Other than that he is really good at everything else, great footwork and vision on the field, he just needs to learn how to wrap up sometimes so he doesn’t give up big chunks of yardage. If he can work on that a little bit more, than he should be fine. I don’t think he can start over Addae, but he would be really solid for our depth chart if Addae were to beat him out. check out his highlights below, he is pretty solid.
T.J Ward (Cleveland Browns):
Ward is famous for his game ending injury on Patriots TE Gronkowski. He is really smart on the football field, he does a really good job of reading offensive strategies and has great instincts in zone coverage. He excels in run support, he does a very good job of getting to running back quickly if the linebackers can’t, and he will lay down a solid tackle too. He is a very good all around player, he could easily start over Addae, no questions asked, and he could be a really good mentor for him. He can also play cornerback for us since he did play that position in college as well, which is a huge plus. We can knock out 2 birds with 1 stone in that sense.
Rafael Bush (New Orleans Saints)
Another player who is famous for laying down a big hit. Bush is famous for his big hit on Danny Amendola in week 6 of 2013, he knocked Amendola out cold. He is also famous for his big hit on Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin, which is even nastier than Amendola’s big hit. That video below of his hit on Harvin just says it all. Bush is really good in pass protection and can get into the box in run plays as well. But he doesn’t have great straight line speed. He is very agile, quick and very physical with opposing receivers. He has really good instincts and better hands than most safeties. He would be a sweet addition to our defense, but the big hits worry me a little, he was fined $21,000 for that viscous hit on Harvin. He could be our starting SS over Addae.
As you can tell, I really like safeties that can really lay the hurt down. If the Chargers were to sign any one of these players, it would be really good for our depth and starting line up as well. I know a lot of you might argue that Addae is our future, and I agree with you, but I just don’t see the future as being next season. We don’t know how Addae is developing this offseason. He might have a sophomore slump. If any one of those scenarios with Addae were to happen, then we have a solution for it. I really like some of our options at the safety position in the draft too. But until draft time inches closer, I will be talking solely about free agency for the time being.
Alright guys, hope you enjoyed this article. Next time we till talk about our Offensive Line and what solutions we have available for us in Free Agency. BOLT UP!