Chargers’ best decision No. 3: Addressing the interior of the defensive line
Additions: Jerry Tillery (Draft), Cortez Broughton (Draft), Brandon Mebane (returning FA), Damion Square (returning FA)
Departures: Corey Liuget (FA), Darius Philon (ARI)
What happened: The Chargers broke tradition and used their first draft selection to take Tillery out of Notre Dame, and doubled down on the position by taking Broughton in the seventh round. Both offer immediate disruptive upside and will be terrors on third down.
The Chargers also brought back Mebane, the veteran nose tackle who will mentor the younger players, and Square, who after last season is now familiar playing along the entire defensive line.
Determining whether defensive or offensive line was the bigger problem was a bit of a coin toss, but with the Chargers opting to improve the latter through internal promotions, the organization went all-in to ensure the middle of their defensive line was full of young play-makers.
Chargers’ best decision No. 2: Adding linebackers
Additions: Thomas Davis (FA), Denzel Perryman (returning FA), Drue Tranquill (Draft), Emeke Egbule (Draft), Adrian Phillips* (returning FA)
Departures: Kyle Emanuel (Retirement)
What happened: The Chargers decided more is more when it comes to linebackers, signing one in free agency, re-signing two (Phillips plays linebacker as well as safety), and drafting two this past offseason.
Why it’s a good move: The Chargers went from having a strong linebacker corps to praying the defensive backs could stop the run by the end of the season. Unsurprisingly, and without support from their currently upgraded interior defensive line, the Patriots were able to gain 238 total yards of offense and score four touchdowns with their three starting running backs. White, Perryman, and Brown all went down before the postseason could begin.
Now, the Chargers boast a very deep group of linebackers. Those most likely to see the field are:
- Jatavis Brown
- Denzel Perryman
- Adrian Phillips*
- Uchenna Nwosu
- Thomas Davis
- Emeke Egbule
- Drue Tranquill
- Nick Dzubnar
The Chargers now have strong depth options behind their starters. Davis, the team’s other “big” free agent acquisition, could be the missing piece to grow the young pool of players at this position.