Chargers 2019 player rankings No. 15: The hammer on defense

By Tyler Schoon
LA Chargers (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LA Chargers (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 18: SaQwan Edwards
SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 18: SaQwan Edwards /

The Chargers are lucky enough to feature one of the NFL’s best rosters. Here’s their 15th-ranked player, who is a hammer on defense…

The Chargers have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL, featuring multiple former or current Pro-Bowl and All-Pro players who represent some of the best of their respective positions. Though almost the entire roster is talented, who is the best heading into 2019?

Here is the list so far:

At number 15 is a player who has been with the team longer than any of the previously ranked players, whose presence on defense (when healthy) makes it hard for any running back to do his job: Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman.

2018 Stats:

  • 51 total tackles
  • One run stuff
  • One interception
  • Two passes defended
  • Nine game appearances

2018 PFF Grade: 70.1 (32nd-ranked linebacker)

Why he makes the list:

The real debate is why he isn’t higher, but more on that later. For now, the good stuff: Perryman has been the only linebacker on this roster since 2015 who can actually start and play well in the middle. Back in 2017, Perryman returned from injury and shut down Leonard Fournette for just 33 rushing yards on 17 carries. The difference between Perryman and any of the rotating cast members behind him was staggering. The closest thing the Chargers had to No. 52 was Jatavis Brown, who has put up better numbers (in more games) but is not the same attacker and run-stopper that Perryman is.

His career highlight is likely the deep interception in the middle of the field against the Atlanta Falcons, which gave the Chargers the opportunity to kick a field goal, force overtime, and eventually win on the road. Also coming to mind are an Eddie Lacy forced fumble and an instant-kill on a massive hit against a Cleveland Browns running back.

Without Perryman, the Chargers are not nearly as stout against the run; nowhere was this more apparent than against the New England Patriots, where his presence was sorely missed against a surprisingly lethal rushing offense. No linebacker on the roster over the past four seasons has hit harder or attacked the line of scrimmage quite like No. 52 has throughout his career.