Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) against the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason NFL football game at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2016 will be a big year for this team. It will mark the last contract season for Mike McCoy, and it will mark as the era of a new and redesigned offense. Finally, it will be a contract year for many players on the roster, and it will be a year for our “Up and Coming” players to shine.
We have a lot of obvious names that definitely are worthy enough of making this list. Players like Jason Verrett, Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gate and Corey Liuget all have a proven track record, and would be the obvious names of choice for this list. But today, we are going to focus on the players who are not known as stars in this league. Lets get started!
- Denzel Perryman
Ray Lewis 2.0… that’s as good of a comparison as you could get with this kid. Many of us had our heads scratching when we drafted him, but we all could see why Tom Telesco brought the young man to San Diego. The dude is just TALENTED. He’s an amazing run stopper who can straight up LAY. YOU. OUT. Denzel was favored to start in the defensive lineup over Donald Butler midway through the 2015 season. Since the Chargers decided to do so, the kid balled out. He finished the season with a little under 70 tackles and two sacks. Now imagine if he had a full year of play to go through. And with the new and redesigned defensive line, Perryman should be able to have an amazing sophomore professional season.
2) Jeremiah Attaochu
Jerry will be entering his third season with the Chargers and since we drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he has proven his value for the team. His rookie debut wasn’t much, he played behind Dwight Freeney and he was playing through injury as well. But he did show a lot of potential when he was on the field. Last year, he played very well in his sophomore season. He finished the year with 55 tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. He had a solid showing for a team that was heavily injured and in shambles for the majority of the year. 2016 could be his breakout year where he could possibly end up with double-digit sacks.
3) Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon has shown huge flashes of potential throughout his rookie campaign, the problem was, the offensive line in front of him didn’t do a great job of taking his runs to the second level. You could just see the toughness in his run style, he didn’t go down easily and he always fought for extra yards. You have got to give it up to the guy for actually trying his best. 2016 is a huge season for Melvin Gordon, many critics are already calling him a “bust” after only one season of play. The Chargers realized how much of a struggle Melvin had running through the non-existent holes in our offense. So to fix the issue, we brought back good old Ken Whisenthunt to run the offense, and they brought in Gordon’s old fullback from his college days, Derek Watt. Watt will be a valuable piece to Gordon’s running game, since he played with no fullback in front of him last year. Expect big changes from the run game this year, if he can actually run for over 1,200 yards, expect a possible Pro-Bowl year from the sophomore.
4) Melvin Ingram
Melvin has had a very weird start to his career. After being injury-riddled for the first two years of his career, he actually put together a very good year in 2015 after finishing the season with 10.5 sacks, 65 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was just disruptive and you can see him getting after the quarterback on every play even though our defensive line wasn’t playing up to par. He is coming into a contract year heading into 2016 and will be nearing his late 20’s as far as his age goes. This is the year for Super Mel to actually put all of his efforts on the line. If he does, this guy will go to the Pro Bowl and will be re-signed for multiple years with the Chargers once again.
5) Hunter Henry
Hunter Henry is poised to be a household name, probably by the end of the year. Antonio Gates is still our star tight end, but he’s planning on hanging up the cleats very soon. He has already asked the coaching staff for a decreased role heading into 2016, and that’s the reason why drafted Henry this past draft. The Arkansas product is very talented for a tight end, hes quick, he can block and he can catch. If Antonio Gates can rub off some of his talent onto this kid, Philip Rivers will have another amazing QB-TE duo to throw to until he retires. Henry might have the majority of passing snaps coming his way since Gates will most likely be playing on third downs and in red zone situations. Henry will have a lot of playing time his first year so he should develop quite quickly, unlike players like Ladarius Green, who sat on the bench early in his career. Expect big things coming from Henry, he has big shoes to fill.
Look for these names during the season. The Chargers are a much younger team than they were three seasons ago, so we still have a lot of raw and unproven talent. So far, the players mentioned are being put in the best possible situations to succeed in 2016 so it should be a good one for the whole team in general. Who do you guys think is a good candidate to watch in 2016? Bolt Up!