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Chargers: Top five positional needs heading into 2020

WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 30: Jordan Love #10 of the Utah State Aggies rolls out against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half of their game at BB&T Field on August 30, 2019 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Wake Forest won 38-35. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 30: Jordan Love #10 of the Utah State Aggies rolls out against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half of their game at BB&T Field on August 30, 2019 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Wake Forest won 38-35. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 18: Cornerback Michael Davis #43 of the Los Angeles Chargers breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at Estadio Azteca on November 18, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – NOVEMBER 18: Cornerback Michael Davis #43 of the Los Angeles Chargers breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Tyreek Hill #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the game at Estadio Azteca on November 18, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images)

With a turbulent Los Angeles Chargers season coming to a close, there’s going to be positions that need personnel changes and improvement in the offseason. In the spirit of New Year’s quickly approaching, let’s name some positions that could use some resolutions.

The Chargers are certainly a talented team. Even after a season in which they’re on track to go 5-11, it’s apparent the roster is less in need of an overhaul and more some fine tuning. However, some positions do need a little more help than the others. Without further ado, here’s the top five positions that need improvement this year.

Chargers need No. 5: Defensive tackle

Consistent interior pressure was something the Chargers have struggled with for a while, even in 2018. Unfortunately, it got worse in 2019. Opposing offensive lines were able to double Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram without much of a second thought. Combining all five Chargers’ defensive tackles, there’s a whole three sacks to be had between them. Bosa and Ingram have 18.5 sacks between them going into Week 17, but it would be more if the interior could get more pressure.

There are interesting pieces at defensive tackle to be hopeful for. Jerry Tillery showed flashes this season of what he could be with more work and reps. The same is true of Justin Jones.  What really was the downfall of the defensive line was the decline of Brandon Mebane. Once a reliable nose tackle, the strength and health have declined in older age and there’s not a lot of pressure and dominance he can offer.

In terms of offseason improvements, someone like Derrick Brown from Auburn could be available when the Chargers are on the board. It’s a question of whether the team wants to double dip on defensive tackles two years in a row or rely on the development on Jones and Tillery. Another free agent name to watch could be Tim Jernigan from Philadelphia.

Chargers need No. 4: Cornerback

Casey Hayward is a top five cornerback in this league. Regardless of two straight years Pro-Bowl snubs, he’s been dominant since coming to the Chargers and truly ascending to the next level. Potentially, he’s one of the best cornerbacks to play this decade.

Lowest passer rating allowed since 2006

1. Richard Sherman 54.02. Darrelle Revis 69.13. Casey Hayward 69.2 pic.twitter.com/UiQhp1NxCx

— PFF (@PFF) December 24, 2019

Unfortunately, Hayward can only cover one side of the field. The other side has been shaky in recent years. Following 2017, it seemed like Trevor Williams was ready to be the guy opposite of Hayward for years to come. Injuries ended his time in Los Angeles this year when the Chargers made the decision to waive him earlier this seaosn. Now, it’s a mix between Brandon Facyson and Michael Davis opposite Hayward with Desmond King playing some nickel. Facyson is a good tackler but shaky in coverage, while Davis has the opposite problem. Davis often gets himself in trouble with pass interference as well.

Potential improvements through the draft could be Kristian Fulton or Jeff Okudah, likelier the former. There also is a loaded free agency class at corner, with names like Chris Harris, Jimmy Smith, and Logan Ryan all available.

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