Defensive line (8)
- Linval Joseph, Justin Jones, Jerry Tillery, Cortez Broughton, Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Isaac Rochell, Joe Gaziano
Just 8 defensive linemen might seem a little thin compared to the other positions, but the studs that play here don’t need many guys behind them. Bosa and Ingram are versatile enough to kick inside when needed, and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu can basically be an extension of the defensive line on passing downs, playing the same LEO role Ingram excels at.
The addition of Joseph means Jones and Tillery get some weight taken off from their shoulders. Rochell is also a versatile depth piece who can line up as an end, as he usually does, but with the ability to line up as a defensive tackle as well.
Broughton will have to show development to stay in this team long-term, and Gaziano from Northwestern will be the second UDFA to make the team in this prediction. Gus Bradley should have plenty of toys to play around with around the line of scrimmage.
- Denzel Perryman, Drue Tranquill, Kenneth Murray Jr., Uchenna Nwosu, Kyzir White, Nick Vigil, Emeke Egbule, Malik Jefferson
This is a solid group that should become one of the team’s strengths if all goes right. Murray was brought to shore up the run defense on the short term, and be a three-down starter on the long term. Meanwhile, Tranquill is primed for a breakout season in an expanded role.
If White can stay healthy, he also has the potential to produce a breakout season and be starting by year’s end. Perryman is a known commodity who makes the Chargers’ run defense better when he’s on the field, but he can’t be trusted to do so. Nwosu will keep his rotational pass-rushing role.
Vigil, Egbule and Jefferson are depth pieces and projects whose impact is going to be felt on special teams. If the team is down to them as one of their starters because of injuries or underperformance, it’s likely to cause trouble.
Roster spots used: 45/55