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LA Chargers: Where the Bolts fit in the NFL power rankings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers leads his team onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers leads his team onto the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High on December 1, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chargers 23-20. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

Where do the LA Chargers rank in our latest NFL power rankings?

There are different tiers of the NFL that are crucial to how the season will play out, from the bottom feeders to the Super Bowl contenders. The LA Chargers might be thought of as a team that’s closer to the former group, based primarily on their 5-11 finish last season.

The Chargers dealt with a lot of injuries in 2019, particularly at secondary, wide receiver, and offensive line. The decline of Philip Rivers over the course of the year was detrimental, especially in the Kansas City and Oakland games towards the middle of the season.

It’s still pretty easy to evaluate the Chargers’ roster as a great one, despite the poor finish. Not many rosters around the league have talents like Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Keenan Allen, Casey Hayward, or Melvin Ingram. Free-agent splashes aren’t common for the Chargers, but they did go out and get Chris Harris, Linval Joseph, and Bryan Bulaga.

With free agency and the draft behind us, it’s worth taking a look at where the LA Chargers rank on the NFL totem pole.

2020 NFL Power Rankings: The Bottom Feeders

This tier feels pretty self-explanatory. These are either teams that are in a full rebuild or simply don’t have the talent to compete right now.

. . Jacksonville Jaguars. 32. 52.

Gardner Minshew was impressive in his rookie season, but that was about all that was positive for Jacksonville in 2019. The star-studded “Sacksonville” defense that took over the league is all but gone, with Yannick Ngakoue being the last remaining impact player from that group. Doug Marrone and the coaching staff were kept when they shouldn’t have been. The Jaguars have all the makings of a team that could wind up with the first pick.

56. . . . Cincinnati Bengals. 31

Cincinnati had a great draft in my opinion. Tee Higgins, Joe Burrow, and Akeem Davis-Gaither will be impact players in the league. It still feels like they’re about two years away from having the complete roster they want. Zac Taylor is still somewhat of an unproven commodity as a coach. The Bengals will improve throughout the year as they aren’t a serious 2021 first overall pick contender, but there needs to be better play from the offensive line and pretty much the entire defense.

. . . Washington Football Team. 30. 58

It’s all about Dwayne Haskins. Simply put, the former Buckeye was far from ready in his first year. There were some flashes of potential towards the end of the season, but there simply needs to be more consistency in accuracy and decision making on his part. Chase Young will be the other player to watch in D.C., as he tries to revitalize a Washington defense that’s been dormant for a long time.

. . . Detroit Lions. 29. 50

The Lions looked so promising in the first month of the 2019 season. They ended up finishing the season on a nine-game losing streak. A lot of this was while Matthew Stafford was injured with a broken back. The team tried going between Jeff Driskel and David Blough for the rest of the season, but everything really collapsed with the loss of Stafford.

The defense could no longer make up for an anemic offense. If Stafford stays healthy, the team can be much better than they were in the last three months of the 2019 season. Both the offensive and defensive lines need to show me more in 2020.

28. 31. . . . New York Giants

The Giants narrowly miss out on the next tier. Their offense is starting to get better with the addition of Andrew Thomas. Daniel Jones played at a higher level than most people expected coming into the season. If he develops further with weapons like Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate, the Giants could move further up the list.

What’s holding the Giants back is the defense. That unit is undergoing a complete overhaul, and it’s hard to win more than four or five games just relying on a young offense.

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