Chargers Draft

Chargers Fans: Meet the pass-rush prospects

By Nicholas Dilorenzo
Jul 15, 2016; Hollywood, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Solomon Thomas poses during Pac-12 media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 15, 2016; Hollywood, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Solomon Thomas poses during Pac-12 media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Defensive line isn’t a huge weakness for the Los Angeles Chargers, but they could use more edge rushers, making an already solid unit stronger.

The biggest question for the Chargers in the offseason is whether or not they will bring back Melvin Ingram for at least one more year. Ingram would like to get a long-term deal done, but he could be a candidate for the franchise tag.

Giving Ingram a long-term deal comes with risk. Ingram has disappeared at times for the Bolts and has struggled to finish plays. The move to a 4-3 defense has also concerned fans (though ESPN’s Eric Williams projects that Ingram would fit the pass-rushing Leo role in DC Gus Bradley’s scheme). With that said, Ingram has 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons and would be one of the most productive pass-rushers available if he hit free agency.

If the Chargers do opt to use the franchise tag on Ingram or even give him a long-term deal, it will keep in place the team’s dynamic pass-rushing duo of Ingram and 2016 first-rounder Joey Bosa for at least 2017. On the other hand, if the Chargers opt to let Ingram walk in free agency, pass-rusher will be a big need entering the 2017 NFL Draft. Regardless, adding a pass-rusher should definitely be on general manager Tom Telesco’s to-do list this offseason.

Let’s take a look at the Chargers’ pass-rushers currently on the roster:

The State of the Roster

Former sixth-round pick Tourek Williams is also set to become a free agent. Williams was nothing but a warm body and will likely be packing his bags. Former second-round pick Jeremiah Attaochu, who Williams also projects to play defensive end (Leo) in Bradley’s scheme, has potential but has struggled to stay healthy. Meanwhile, former fifth-round pick Kyle Emanuel has played well at times, especially when it comes to defending the run, but he doesn’t have the skill set to be a full-time starter as an edge rusher. Darius Philon, another former sixth-rounder, is a rotational player at best.

Like previously mentioned, pass-rusher should be high on the Bolts’ wish list regardless if Ingram is brought back or not. The 2017 draft is loaded with pass-rushers. There are electrifying names at the top as well as Day 2 selections that could be viable options for the Chargers.

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garret is the consensus No. 1 player in the 2017 draft and will be gone before the Chargers pick at seventh overall. Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen will also likely be selected before the Chargers are on the clock. Allen would need a Leonard Williams-like slide on draft day for the Chargers to get lucky enough to select him, but that looks unlikely at the moment.

With that said, let’s take a look at pass-rushers the Chargers could not only target in Round 1 but also later in the draft if they decide to go in a different direction with their first pick (safety, wide receiver or an offensive lineman could be the choice).

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