When you read that headline, who was the first player that popped into your head for the Los Angeles Chargers?
There could be a wide variety of answers to that question, as several members of the team will be coming off an injury that cost that most or all of the 2016 season. For me, the answer to the question is wide receiver Keenan Allen, as I wrote about in the article below last week.
But that question was posed to each of the individual NFL writers working for ESPN.com and Eric Williams identified defensive lineman Corey Liuget as the player with the most to prove for the Chargers. Here’s what he said.
“After totaling 18 sacks in his first four seasons in the league, Liuget finished with three in 2015 and none last year, marking his first season without one. The Illinois product is the third-highest-paid player on the Chargers, scheduled to make $8 million in base salary in 2017. With the Chargers in need of an interior pass rush, Liuget has to play to his contract.”
None of his points are wrong. Liuget’s contract may be a little high for his production over the last two years, but does he really have the most to prove?
With the team switching to a 4-3 defensive scheme, it will rely more on an outside pass rush to get pressure on the quarterback, placing that task on Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Liuget’s job will be to hold his own in the middle of the defense and help Brandon Mebane close off running lanes.
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In comparison to Allen, I feel the wide receiver has much more to prove. He’s capable of being one of the top pass-catchers in the league but has basically missed the last year and a half of action. With the Chargers drafting a wide receiver in the first round and developing guys like Tyrell Williams, it’s not hard to imagine the once reliable Allen becoming expendable. While Williams points out that Liuget is the team’s third-highest paid player, Allen is right behind him at No.4, according to Over the Cap.
There will be several players with plenty to prove. Heck, the whole team has a lot to prove. Who do you think has the most to prove on this team? Liuget? Allen? Someone else? Let us know in the comments section below.