Most fans would say that the LA Chargers had a good offseason and are in a position to at least build off of a disappointing 5-11 record last season. However, the latest Chargers news, courtesy of Pro Football Focus, says otherwise.
Pro Football Focus tweeted out on Saturday the five most likely teams to have the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, to fans of the Chargers and everyday NFL fans, the Bolts were ranked first ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins.
PFF is a really reliable outlet for analysis and statistics but there was no statistical model or reasoning attached, so we don’t really know if this is based on analysis or based on opinion. Thus, we are going to try and explain why PFF would rank the Chargers first.
Chargers News: Why PFF thinks the LA Chargers have the first overall pick in 2021
We have to start under center at the quarterback position. The Chargers drafted Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft but all signs are pointing to Tyrod Taylor being the starter in 2020 and holding onto that job for the entire season as long as he plays well and stays healthy.
If anything happens to Taylor and Herbert is forced to the wolves I could see an initial struggle right away as he transitions to the NFL. He has all the physical talent in the world, but I could see there being a learning curve, similar to Sam Darnold’s learning curve with the New York Jets.
It can’t just be the quarterback position though as Tyrod is slated to start and is not that bad. I have been the most critical of Tyrod Taylor that you will see on a Chargers blog and even I recognize that the Chargers won’t have the worst record in the league with him. There has to be more reasons.
The Lightning Round Podcast gave some insight on why they think PFF gave the Chargers the highest odds to have the first overall pick.
No proven, veteran QB. No left tackle. Expectation that Herbert will play sooner than later. Lack of depth. And, I assume, lack of faith in coaching. Probably largely based on the fact that they’re coming off a 5-win season, are betting on Tyrod and a rookie.
— The Lightning Round Podcast (@Lightning_Round) May 9, 2020
Personally, I disagree with the left tackle sentiment. Trey Pipkins actually ranked pretty high compared to other rookies last season on PFF and I think he is massively getting overlooked. With James Campen as the new offensive line coach and the positives in Pipkins’ game last year, I think he makes a serviceable, at worst, left tackle.
The lack of coaching is what interests me. A lot of Charger fans love Anthony Lynn, as he led the team to its best record all decade in 2018, but he has not been that great outside of that season.
The 2017 Chargers ended the season 9-7 but they started 0-4 in Lynn’s first four games coached. That team was far more talented than a 9-7 season would suggest.
Last year’s team was far more talented than 5-11. And while you could make the case that turnovers is what led to the losses and thus is not Lynn’s fault, that is a big part of coaching. How many times did we see the Chargers in a position to drive downfield to win or tie the game only for the play-calling to be ‘huck the ball down the field, Philip’?
Now, I like Anthony Lynn, but I definitely understand why analysts would be wary of him. This is a make or break year for Lynn and if the team underperforms yet again after Lynn bought in on Tyrod Taylor, then I would not be shocked to see the Chargers move on.
NFL teams are impatient.
Talent-wise, the Chargers are way too talented to have the worst record in the league, so it has to be bigger factors, such as coaching or maybe even the Chargers’ opponents.
PFF was really high on the Denver Broncos’ draft and personally, I think the Broncos are going to be a playoff team. With the Raiders adding weapons for Derek Carr, maybe PFF is looking at the Chargers, who went 0-6 against the AFC West last year, and assume that history will repeat itself, giving the team six losses.
And just to look into the lens that PFF might be using, if they think that the Chargers will lose all six division games then they definitely think that they will lose against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. That is already 11 losses.
That leaves five swing games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars. Let’s say they win four of those five, which is still a 4-12 record.
I am not saying I agree with their reasoning, but I could at least understand why the Chargers would be projected to have the worst record based on how they value the other teams. Personally, here is my most-likely top-five for the 2021 NFL Draft:
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Washington Redskins
- New York Giants
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Carolina Panthers
Do I hate including the Chargers in the top-five? No. Just putting together that list was hard and I could see, if things go wrong, the Chargers having as high as the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
What do you think of this LA Chargers news? Let us know in the comments down below.