While cornerback Casey Hayward was the only Charger formally selected as a starter for last year’s Pro Bowl, quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon participated as well. Who will represent the team in next year’s Pro Bowl? Here are some thoughts.
Most likely to make Pro Bowl:
Jan 1, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz (71) reacts to the rush of San Diego Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (99) during the first half of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chiefs won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
DE Joey Bosa
Coming off an incredible rookie season, Bosa is primed to further establish himself as one of the most dominant defensive ends in the NFL. Accruing 10.5 sacks in just 12 games, Bosa took the league by storm.
Aside from the sacks, Bosa also established himself in other ways. He managed 23 quarterback hurries, only two less than Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack–and Mack played all 16 games.
The duo of Bosa and Melvin Ingram could quickly become one of the most dangerous pass-rushing duos in the NFL in Gus Bradley’s new 4-3 defense. Barring any setbacks, expect Bosa to remain a force in the upcoming season and make a strong case for his appearance in the Pro Bowl.
Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) runs after a catch during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
RB Melvin Gordon
Gordon’s sophomore season in the NFL was much stronger than that of his rookie year, rushing for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 13 games. So far in the offseason, the Chargers have made multiple changes that could benefit Gordon’s chances greatly.
The hiring of Anthony Lynn as the Chargers’ head coach should strongly benefit Gordon, as Lynn led the NFL’s strongest rushing attack in Buffalo last season. The same strategies which Lynn used to boost the Bills’ running game will undoubtedly be used with the Chargers, and hopefully Gordon will be able to benefit from that.
The departure of Danny Woodhead, while putting more pressure on Gordon, will also likely benefit him in some ways. While Gordon was somewhat productive through the air last season with 419 yards and two touchdowns, Woodhead’s absence should see an increase in those numbers.
Gordon showed a lot of potential last season, and hopefully with the prowess of Lynn, Gordon will have an even better season in the Chargers’ 2017-18 campaign, giving himself a chance to again be deemed one of the better running backs in the NFL.
Oct 30, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
DE/LB Melvin Ingram
Recently placed under the Chargers’ franchise tag, Ingram is primed for a breakout season, especially in Bradley’s new system that should complement his talents.
Bradley revealed that in his new 4-3 scheme, Ingram will likely serve the role of the LEO, essentially a linebacker who plays up on the line of scrimmage. Ingram was able to produce a strong eight sacks last season, but moving up to the line of scrimmage should greatly increase that number.
Ingram paired with Bosa should form an extremely strong duo, and Ingram will have the opportunity to improve his already high regard in the league, as he was one of the most coveted acquisitions at the precipice of the free-agency period.