Apr 28, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers first round pick Mike Williams poses with president A.G. Spanos (left) during a press conference at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
After a solid offseason, a talented Chargers team is quickly getting noticed.
The hype is real with the Los Angeles Chargers.
This team has a different look heading into the 2017 NFL season, as they relocated from San Diego and hired a new, hard-nosed head coach in Anthony Lynn; but experts see a young team full of talent that’s led by an elite quarterback in Philip Rivers.
Recently, NFL’s Mike Clay has the Chargers at No. 6 in his post-draft NFL power rankings.
Post-NFL Draft 2017 Power Rankings pic.twitter.com/ImOt4oxgQ3
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 1, 2017
Clay didn’t rank teams based off the 2016 season (and the Chargers would have likely been placed lower since they finished 5-11 last year), but he backed up his reasoning for putting the Chargers in the top 10 by saying they are “loaded.”
He also has the Chargers winning the AFC West for the first time since 2009 in his way-too-early season predictions. Former Chargers center Nick Hardwick even changed up his predictions following the Chargers’ successful 2017 draft.
.@hardwina predicts a 10-6 Chargers season next year. The draft was so good Nick bumped it up from 7-9.
— XTRA 1360 (@XTRA1360) May 1, 2017
And not only does Clay and Hardwick believe in the Chargers, NFL Network’s Kay Adams sees the Chargers as the 2017 AFC West champions, too.
— GMFB (@gmfb) May 1, 2017
Overall, the Chargers have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball and are deep at several positions. Their offense, which already has young, impact players at running back (Melvin Gordon), receiver (Keenan Allen) and tight end (Hunter Henry), has a new and exciting addition in Mike Williams. They have a star-studded defense led by 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa, along with his partner-in-crime, Melvin Ingram, and two shutdown corners in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. The addition of the ball-hawking Desmond King, who has the versatility to play both safety and corner, could solidify this unit.
More importantly, the Chargers potentially fixed their offensive line, the biggest weakness on the team, by signing LT Russell Okung in free agency and stealing OT Forrest Lamp and OG Dan Feeney in the draft. The Chargers’ plan was to get Rivers some help, and they accomplished that goal.
Aside from O-line woes, health (a league-high 21 players on injured reserve last season) and luck (Chargers led in the fourth quarter in six of their games last season, all of which resulted in losses, per ESPN) hasn’t been on the Chargers’ side.
If the team can stay healthy and close out games, the Chargers will be a team to watch out for in the upcoming season.