Each year, at least one position group tends to show substantial improvement from the past year. This year, one position group looks poised to make the step up into elite territory.
Typically the position groups that make the most notable improvements from year to year have a poor prior year, making the difference more noticeable.
This year, two groups stick out as candidates for the “most improved” title for the Los Angeles Chargers. While one fits the traditional mold of having a down prior year, the other was already very effective last year and appears ready to make the leap into (and perhaps to the top of) the elite category.
These two position groups are likely to be the most improved units for the team in the upcoming year.
Heading into the draft, several mocks had the Chargers taking a cornerback at pick 28. While that did not happen, the end result may be even better.
Assuming health (usually not a good idea with the Chargers), the lineup looks better than last year. Jahleel Addae, a good player who was forced to play a position that his skill set does not allow for, was replaced with a natural free safety in Nasir Adderley.
Meanwhile, the CB No. 2 spot (excluding slot corner Desmond King) should be upgraded in a way as well. While Michael Davis was decent at the spot last year, the competition between him and Trevor Williams should lead to either his replacement or a better version of Davis.
Now, what happens if Casey Hayward is able to improve and bounce back to his 2017 self (where he was named the best cover corner by PFF)?
Images of that secondary are probably why the Jack Boyz were able to win a poll by Fox Sports: NFL as 2019’s best secondary. Hopes are sky-high for this group, and the secondary is not shying away from those expectations.
What y’all think https://t.co/Xt7PuEmuQf
— Desmond E. King II (@blaqbadger14) May 16, 2019
And here is the group that stands to improve most because they performed poorly last year. While I believe the secondary is more likely to show improvement than the offensive line, there are certainly things to be hopeful about here too.
There are two reasons why I believe this group could be better next year than last: competition and past performance.
First, there is substantially more depth and competition along the line this year than last year. A healthy Forrest Lamp is more likely to push or take the job of Dan Feeney or Michael Schofield than an unhealthy version.
Furthermore, although most believe that he is not yet ready to start, Trey Pipkins is likely better competition for Sam Tevi’s job than last year’s depth.
The other reason (past performance) really applies to one offensive lineman in particular – Feeney.
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The weakest link on the offensive line last year (at least according to PFF) was Feeney. However, his performance in his rookie year showed improvement in each game throughout the season, demonstrating an encouraging future.
If Feeney can at least return to his rookie-year self, this offensive line will be average at minimum, which is much more than what Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon have been working with for the majority of their respective careers.
Honorable Mentions: Defensive line and Linebackers
What position groups do you think will improve most next year? Do you think that the defensive line or linebacker groups are more likely? Let us know in the comments below.