With a great off-season the Chargers could put themselves back in a position to compete for the AFC West Title. Especially with the coaching turmoil in Denver and Manning’s future being uncertain. How will they get it done? Here’s a look at how it might happen.
First I will give a snapshot look at how I think the Chargers should prioritize their moves. Then I will take a look at each unit.
December 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tackle King Dunlap (77) during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
Free AgencyKing Dunlap and Brandon Flowers need to be re-signed. If these two are not in Charger uniforms next year than we have to take a long hard look at what management is doing. Next is Eddie Royal and Ryan Mathews. I would love to see Eddie back on the roster, but at a good price. I don’t want to see the Chargers overpay for a slot receiver. Ryan Mathews could go either way. I have no problem resigning him at a good value. I would be willing to roll the dice one more time on his injuries, but I would not be heartbroken to see him go. Those are the important decisions. Other guys I would like to see come back – Orhnberger, Tutu for his great ST play and Wright for CB depth.
Then we need to look at who we need to add through FA. I am not talking value FAs here. This is the year the Chargers need to make a splash. They finally have AJ’s mistakes off the books. Two postions we need – a stud D Lineman and a stud O Lineman. This NEEDS to happen if this team is going to be competing in the playoffs. Not just competing to make the playoffs – Competing IN the PLAYOFFS. Is Suh out of the question? No way! Bring him in and make the D-line something to be feared.
Nov 29, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive lineman Danny Shelton (55) prepares for a game against the Washington State Cougars during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Draft1st pick – I would love to see Danny Shelton here. But if the Chargers do not go DL, then this needs to be a stud Offensive Tackle.2nd Pick – This should be whichever Offensive Tackle or D line (NT?) we don’t get in the first round or in FA.3rd Pick – Running Back. If the Chargers don’t resign Mathews (maybe, even if we do) this unit needs help.4th Pick – Safety. Addae and Gilchrist are not getting it done. The Chargers need an upgrade (This might also be a spot we could fill through FA)Picks 5-7 – Best player available.
Ok… that is the short version lets take a look at each unit starting with the offense.
Offensive lineThis unit needs the most help. Resigning King Dunlap is the first step. Beyond that I believe we need to add a quality Tackle and Guard through FA and the draft. Notice I said quality here. No bargain signings. We have money available and this is the most important spot to spend it. When that is done the Chargers need to resign Orhnberger. That leaves us with 6 solid guys – Fluker, Dunlap, Watt, Orhnberger and the 2 new quality guys. Add on some backups and the Chargers should be in good shape.
Running BacksIt is hard to predict this one until we know what is going to happen with Mathews. However, the more I think about it, I think the Chargers 3rd Draft selection needs to be a RB. Oliver and Woodhead will be our #2 and #3 guys. We need a #1.
Wide ReceiverI know a lot of people would like to add a true #1 to the roster but I don’t see that happening. We have too many needs in other areas. As I said above I would like to see Royal resigned, but I think that is the only move they will make here. Allen, Floyd, Royal, Inman and Pettis will most likely be our receivers for next year.
Tight EndsNo change
Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) in action against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive LineWhile this area has got attention in the last couple of years it has been bargain players and late round draft picks. This needs to be addressed in a big way. My option would be to draft Danny Shelton with the #1 pick and add Suh through FA. Yep… add Suh. Its time to quit giving this unit second hand talent. Make our D-Line awesome and it will allow our linebacking group and the rest of the defense to play up to their potential.
LinebackersThis spot is a lot like the wide receiver group. I would love to add an impact ILB added but I think there are more pressing needs. I think what we have will be back next year.
Dec 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (26) deflects a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Lloyd (84) at Levi
CornerbacksResign Flowers. Resign Flowers. Resign Flowers. This NEEDS to be done. I would like to see the Chargers add another guy here for quality depth. Maybe through FA if we have funds available.
SafetyAddae and Gilchrist are okay players but we need more. I think the Chargers need to spend their 4th round pick to find a safety to play alongside Weddle. I have not checked what is available in FA but that might be another route to go. This needs to be done. It became a glaring weakness for the Chargers last year.
Kick ReturnerI’m not sure if Pettis is meant to be the answer here, but if not, we desperately need someone in the spot. Desperately. Very desperately. Pick up some small shifty college kid in the late rounds for only this purpose if need be. We need to have some sort of threat there, even if it takes up a roster spot.