2019 was without doubt a disappointment for the Los Angeles Chargers, but there were great players for the team that should give the Chargers some hope for the future.
While not the best year, there are some pieces and performances that can be remembered from the 2019 season for the better. Most of the players on this top 10 list are going to be with the team in 2019 for certain, so it’s up to them to keep up their level of play as well as improve.
In making this top 10, it wasn’t just based off of stats or big moments for me, but also how they fit in the system and exceeding what the expectations were coming into the season. There were Chargers players who didn’t make it not because they aren’t as good, but rather that they underperformed or didn’t raise their level to what these guys did in 2019. It’s also important to remember this is a 2019 list, not an overall list. Without further ado, the top 10 best Chargers of 2019!
10. Ty Long
Ty Long had an incredibly interesting season that wasn’t expected. Mike Badgley gets hurt early in the year with a groin injury and then aggravates the same injury again a few weeks later. Through the first four weeks, this had the former CFL standout pulling double duty, kicking and punting. Let’s just say the Chargers have an interesting history with that:
Chargers punter Drew Kaser said he didn't actually miss the net on this practice kick. "There was a hole in the net. It went through the hole." pic.twitter.com/j35eEqwTAi
— Jack Wang (@thejackwang) November 24, 2017
All kidding aside, Long pulled through when he needed to, hitting all of his extra points and going 7-of-9 on field goals. During his period as kicker and even afterward when he reverted back to just handling punting duties, his punting stayed great throughout.
Long had the fifth-best average punt distance in the league at 47 yards and 40.9 net yards per punt was just four yards off the best mark in the league. He definitely has earned his spot on the team for at least the next year given his performance.
2020 New Year’s Resolution: More punts inside the 20, please. Long doesn’t rank particularly well in pinning opponents deep, but it’s something that he can get better at, as his distance and net are both good.
9. Drue Tranquill
There were questions about how much playing time Drue Tranquill would get as a rookie. The fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame ended up being the second leading tackler on the team with 75 combined tackles, only behind Thomas Davis. Tranquill also made his impact felt on special teams with plays like this:
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) November 4, 2019
Tranquill just seemed to be everywhere on the field, and despite a good preseason, it wasn’t expected that he’d be this far along yet. There’s even potential for him to be a starter in 2020 with this rookie campaign.
The impact he was able to have on special teams and defense was potent, and his tackling skills were really the best amongst the linebackers. Easily the best Chargers rookie in 2019, Tranquill is a name we will be hearing for a number of years in Los Angeles. Despite a draft class from Tom Telesco that feels a bit weaker than usual so far, Tranquill was an absolute gem.
2020 New Year’s Resolution: Working on pass coverage in the offseason for an expanded role in 2020.