Grading The Chargers Roster Prior To Free Agency And Draft


Dec 7, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the tunnel before the game against the New England Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In order to properly assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Chargers roster entering the off-season, it’s important to know how it stands prior to both free agency and the draft. I have broken down the current official roster by position to only include players under contract in 2015. The problem with the roster breakdown currently is that the Chargers are rumored to make positional changed along the offensive line this coming season. If DJ Fluker slides in to guard and Chris Watt officially transitions to center, the draft and free agent signing strategy could look a whole lot different. Regardless, you will see the overwhelming need for contracted bodies along the offensive line.

A couple things to keep in mind when assessing the roster

  • Free agents such as King Dunlap and Brandon Flowers and viewed as top priority and if signed back, give significant boosts to their respective positions.
  • Players in positions with plenty of depth and on high dollar contracts like Jarret Johnson and John Phillips could still be cut or have contracts negotiated.

Philip Rivers will maintain his A- grade with a 67 % completion rate. He can be counted on for the next couple seasons at least, barring another injury setback. He will benefit greatly having multiple safety valves including a healthy Danny Woodhead and an ageless wonder in Antonio Gates.. <strong>Quarterback</strong>. . . A-

  1. Philip Rivers
  2. Kellen Clemens
  3. Brad Sorenson (practice squad)

<strong>Running</strong><strong>back</strong>. . . C+. A healthy Danny Woodhead will be a breath of fresh air for the Bolts in 2015. However, they are lacking the downhill between the tackles rusher they need to get their run-game back on track. Brandon Oliver was an excellent undrafted signing, but is better suited in a complementary role

  1. Danny Woodhead
  2. Branden Oliver
  3. Donald Brown

Antonio Gates’ 12 touchdowns led all tight ends alongside Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas. Until he can’t run anymore, consider him elite.. <strong>Tight End</strong>. . . A

  1. Antonio Gates
  2. Ladarius Green
  3. John Phillips
  4. David Johnson
  5. Dave Paulson (practice squad)

. . C+. Keenan Allen is a great possession receiver but needs a compliment. Malcom Floyd will be 34 and has a history of injuries. Inman showed flashes of brilliance in limited play, but look for the team to either resign Eddie Royal or bring in some competition.. <b>Wide Receiver</b>

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Malcom Floyd
  3. Dontrelle Inman
  4. Austin Pettis (reserve/future contract)
  5. Torrence Allen (practice squad)
  6. Javontee Herndon (practice squad)

D-. Despite the first round investment in DJ Fluker, he has yet to develop into the force he was drafted to be. Rumors has circled that he could also be moving to guard this upcoming season, but the team has yet to confirm. Unless King Dunlap is resigned, the position is on high-alert.. <b>Offensive Tackle</b>. .

  1. DJ Fluker
  2. Jeremiah Sirles
  3. Kenny Wiggins

D-. Chris Watt is showing to be a nice developmental talent, but could be moving to center full time unless the team drafts or signs one. Rinehart and Troutman have both had solid outings, but are better suited as depth players. . <b>Guard</b>. .

  1. Chad Rinehart
  2. Chris Watt
  3. Johnnie Troutman
  4. Craig Watts (practice squad)
  5. Bryce Quigley (practice squad)

F. After having four players at center in 2014, some of which had never played a single snap at the position, the Chargers either need to move Watt to center full time or invest a draft pick in finding the next long-term solution. The lack of familiarity was evident in Philip Rivers’ timing and play. <strong>Center</strong>. .

  1. Jeff Baca

. . B. Corey Liuget is the sole reason this position receives the grade it does. He has developed into one of the best defenders on roster and has earned a contract extension. He is the only viable force along this defensive line. Tenny Palepoi played well in limited snaps and accrued multiple tackles for loss.. <strong>Defensive Tackle</strong>

  1. Corey Liuget
  2. Tenny Palepoi
  3. Damion Square
  4. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
  5. Chas Alecxih (practice squad)

. . C. Carrethers is an intriguing future player after showing some raw talent despite limited play in his rookie season. He could develop into the true big bodied nose tackle the Chargers have been missing. Lissemore is a mediocre talent but never seems to make big plays or disrupt the backfield. While some have the Bolts investing in a first round DT/NT I don’t see it happening.. <strong>Nose Tackle</strong>

  1. Ryan Carrethers
  2. Sean Lissemore

After a promising rookie season, Reyes has been anything but spectacular and has seemingly hit his ceiling. The Chargers won’t help their lack of a run stopping front until they invest an early pick or free agent contract into this position.. <b>Defensive End</b>. . . D

  1. Kendall Reyes
  2. Damik Scafe

B. Jarret Johnson is praised for his leadership and energy that he brings to the team, but with so many holes he might have to take a pay cut to stay on roster. Ingram and Attaochu are both talented young rushers with early round draft investments. This position will be a strong suit for the Bolts in 2015.. <b>Outside Linebacker</b>. .

  1. Jarret Johnson
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jerry Attaochu
  4. Cordarro Law
  5. Tourek Williams
  6. Coltol Underwood (practice squad)

. B-. Butler has seen a slight dip in productivity since his big pay day. Meanwhile, Manti Te’o is improving with each game. Andrew Gachkar played great this season in rotation, but is an unrestricted free agent. Nonetheless, aside from a depth signing the inside backers are set in place. Te’o is still slightly weak in run support and would greatly benefit from a stronger D-Line.. <b>Inside Linebacker</b>.

  1. Donald Butler
  2. Manti Te’o
  3. Kavell Conner

. . D+. Verrett is the only viable starting option, with Williams being a borderline starting nickel talent. If Flowers is resigned, which should be a top priority, this group gets a solid B rating. However, even if he is resigned look for a Shareece Wright extension or another investment via free agency or draft as the depth of this position isn’t a strong suit.. <strong>Cornerback</strong>

  1. Jason Verrett
  2. Steve Williams
  3. Chris Davis
  4. Greg Ducre
  5. Richard Crawford (practice squad)

B-. The better half of the tandem, Eric Weddle, is heavily influencing the grade boost here. Weddle, entering the final year of his big contract, will continue to produce and make clutch plays. Jahleel Addai is a big hit strong safety but sometimes appears to play the hit more than the ball. An additional strong safety could be added in mid-to-late rounds of the draft or picked up via free agency.. <b>Safety</b>. .

  1. Eric Weddle
  2. Jahleel Addai
  3. Darrell Stuckey
  4. Adrian Phillips (practice squad)

A. When Scifres is protected and healthy, few in the NFL are better than him.. <b>Punter</b>. .

  1. Mike Scifres

B-. While his accuracy is commended, his leg strength is sufficient but not elite. He ranked lowest in the league in touchback rating. The Chargers need to either groom Scifres into a kickoff specialist or find a way to start getting some more touchbacks to help their defensive field position.. <strong>Kicker</strong>. .

  1. Nick Novak

Bottom line:A lot is going to happen between now and 2015 NFL kickoff weekend. But you have to know where you stand in order to determine what it will take to get where you want to be. The Chargers can’t afford to miss on draft picks this year. They desperately need game ready talent who will have a rookie impact. Flowers and Dunlap remain the highest priority re-signings. Other beneficial re-signings include Eddie Royal, Andrew Gachkar, Marcus Gilchrist, and special teams player of the year Seyi Ajirotutu.

Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers helmet lays on the field after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports