The Los Angeles Chargers have several key position battles that are ready to take center stage once training camp opens. One of the more intriguing battles exists at the free safety position.
Jahleel Addae will be the team’s strong safety, but what about the guy on the other side of the field?
Last season, the Chargers used veteran Dwight Lowery in that spot. At this time, he’s likely penciled in as the starter again, but that is certainly subject to change.
Lowery finished the 2016 season with 60 tackles and one interception, but those numbers were down from each of his previous two seasons where he played with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 and Indianapolis Colts in 2015.
Lowery didn’t do anything spectacular in 2016 and as a result, his job is up for grabs this year. The Chargers brought in one and possibly two different guys who could take that role.
Tre Boston, like Lowery, is a veteran NFL safety. He played for the Carolina Panthers for three seasons after being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft out of North Carolina. Boston now comes to the west coast to try and earn a starting role for a new team.
Boston is quite capable of doing just that. He’s younger, more athletic and probably better in coverage than Lowery. Lowery has the edge in experience, but that’s about it.
He and Boston will both get their opportunities in camp, but the guy fans really need to keep an eye on is rookie fourth-round draft pick Rayshawn Jenkins out of Miami. That school has a rich tradition of safety play and Jenkins is well aware of that, trying to live up to that level of play.
He is more athletic, much stronger and just a better overall player than both Lowery and Boston. He fits the mold for a Gus Bradley defense with his size and physicality. He’ll have to catch up to the speed of the NFL, but he should be utilizd on special teams right away.
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Which one of these guys starts at free safety? Right now, it’s pretty much a coin flip. I do feel that neither Boston or Lowery is the free safety of the future for the Chargers. However, Jenkins might be.
I don’t think that Jenkins will be the day one starter, but there is a chance we’ll see him earn significant playing time.
As for a prediction as to who will be the starter, it will be a close competition, but I see the Chargers going with Boston to start the year.