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LA Chargers: Analyzing rival offseasons — Denver Broncos

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The LA Chargers will be competing with the Denver Broncos for second place in the AFC West.

The LA Chargers‘ biggest competition for second place in the AFC and maybe even a playoff spot in 2020 is going to be the Denver Broncos. While the Las Vegas Raiders present a challenger as well, the Broncos are the biggest threat.

The Broncos finished the 2019 season with a 7-9 record but really finished out the year strong once they made Drew Lock the starting quarterback. Lock started the last five games for the Broncos and went 4-1 in those contests, with the lone loss being to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Granted, they got some help from the worst-timed pass interference possible by the LA Chargers, but the team still finished strong despite a terrible start.

The Broncos looked to build on that in the offseason and have made some additions to the team in hopes of returning to the playoffs for the first time since Peyton Manning left.

Here is how the Broncos’ offseason stacks up.

LA Chargers rival offseason analysis — Denver Broncos:

Key acquisitions:

  • Melvin Gordon

Every Charger fan knows about this acquisition and it does not appear that many Charger fans are happy with Gordon after his comments about the team and the fanbase.

However, at the end of the day, Gordon creates one of the most talented running back duos in the entire league. He and Phillip Lindsay create a really solid duo and when Gordon is the second-best running back on the team then you know the Broncos have a good running back room.

  • Graham Glasgow

The Broncos made a move to get better protection on the offensive line by signing Graham Glasglow to a four-year, $44 million contract. While Glasgow is not the most polarizing guard and is not even a Pro Bowler, he is a solid improvement to the Broncos’ O-line.

  • A.J. Bouye

The Broncos traded for A.J. Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. Bouye is not coming off a great year and has not been able to replicate his 2017 Pro Bowl season but is absolutely still an improvement on the offensive line.

Plus, we see it time and time again, sometimes certain corners will thrive when they find a new setting on a new defense. Bouye is on the right side of 30 and could experience that this year, or he could just be an average corner again, which is still good for the Broncos.

Key departures:

  • Chris Harris

Chris Harris is not a member of the LA Chargers and is part of the reason for the excitement around the Bolts’ cornerback group. Harris, like Bouye, is not coming off a great year but in a new environment, especially with a new role with more reps at slot corner, could lead to a better year in LA.

RELATED: Grading the new 2020 secondary group

In terms of what he produced for the Broncos last season, it is not a massive loss and was replaced by Bouye.

  • Connor McGovern

The Broncos lost their starting center from the last two seasons as Connor McGovern signed with the New York Jets. To replace McGovern, the Broncos drafted Lloyd Cushenberry in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Breakout candidate:

  • Drew Lock

Charger fans are going to hate me for this one, but I am really high on Drew Lock. I actually wrote a piece for LA Sports Hub before the 2019 NFL Draft that the Chargers should draft Lock in the first round to be the one-year understudy behind Philip Rivers.

The M-O this offseason was surrounding Lock with weapons and the Broncos did just that. While he only has five games in his NFL career and it is silly to expect greatness with that small sample size, I do like what Lock brings to the table as a quarterback and his supporting staff got even better.

Rookies to watch:

  • Jerry Jeudy

This is one of the weapons that the Broncos drafted for Lock. In a class that was absolutely loaded with wide receiver talent, the Broncos snagged one of the best in the draft in Jerry Jeudy, who is instantly going to be an impact player in the NFL, and alongside Courtland Sutton, is going to form one of the best young receiving corps in the league over the next few seasons.

  • KJ Hamler

The Broncos double-dipped at receiver in the draft and drafted KJ Hamler in the second round. He should instantly be the Broncos’ slot receiver and is going to be yet another weapon for Drew Lock to turn to.

How do the LA Chargers stack up against the Denver Broncos:

I truly do think that both of the rosters are really talented and it is going to come down to the quarterback play. On paper, the Chargers are better with pass-catchers but the Broncos have a deeper running back group and the gap at wide receiver and tight end will not be massive.

On paper, the Chargers are also a much better defense but the Broncos have three things going for them. First, they have a defensive-minded coach that allowed the eighth-fewest points per game in the NFL last season despite a lackluster defense on paper.

Second, they have the best natural home-field advantage in football and third, their four hardest out of division games next season (New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Tennessee) are all at home.

Next. Analyzing the Chiefs offense

Talent-wise I think the two teams are really similar but I do like Lock more than Taylor and I think the Broncos simply got a better draw with the scheduling. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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