LA Chargers News

Grading the Chargers’ defense going into the 2018 season

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks for an open receiver against Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks for an open receiver against Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers and Melvin Ingram #54 of the Los Angeles Chargers at AT&T Stadium on November 23, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: Casey Hayward #26 of the San Diego Chargers intercepts a pass during the first half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium on September 18, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: Casey Hayward #26 of the San Diego Chargers intercepts a pass during the first half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium on September 18, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

CORNERBACKS

Casey Hayward is undeniably a top 5 corner in the league at this point. I don’t think I really need to say more there. He’s been amazing.

Trevor Williams, a former undrafted free agent from Penn State, had a huge breakout season this year. He was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 5th best cornerback playmaker.  He was graded 10th among all corners with an 88.5 for his 2017 season.

Desmond King had a great rookie campaign as a slot corner, and was one of the best rookie corners last year. He was certainly in the mix with Marshon Lattimore and Tre’Davious White as the best rookie corners.

Then you get to Jason Verrett. From what I just described to you about some of the great talent the Chargers have at corner, you almost forget about Pro Bowler Verrett, whose career has been hurt by injuries.

But should he find a way to play this year and not get hurt, this cornerback group is one of the best in the league, if not the best. The Chargers were third in pass defense last year, for good reason. This group is solid.

GRADE: A

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SAFETIES

The safety group for the Chargers was already decent last year with Jahleel Addae, Adrian Phillips and Tre Boston. But the Chargers made some good changes with this group.

Jaylen Watkins is a great substitute for Boston. On top of that, the Chargers made a huge draft pick with Derwin James in the first round to add to the athleticism and talent of the secondary.

Derwin specifically has massive potential and I’m dying to see what he does with Bradley coaching him, the man mostly responsible for building the Legion of Boom in Seattle.

I have a good feeling he can put that athleticism and talent to work. That pick was a steal in the draft.

GRADE: A-

OVERALL

The Chargers have a great defensive group to continue to improve upon. Should the defense get a little better at defensive tackle and linebacker, this defense has the chance to really be something special.

They’re already great at shutting down passing games. They do need to get better at stopping the run to truly achieve that next level. But there’s a lot to be excited about on D, and that hasn’t been said for awhile about the Chargers.

GRADE: B+

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