LA Chargers News

LA Chargers: “Steal a Player” series – AFC North edition

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 10: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Los Angeles Rams on November 10, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 10: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the Los Angeles Rams on November 10, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

From the Cincinnati Bengals, the LA Chargers steal…

DT Geno Atkins

Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes at the lack of a quarterback in this exercise but as I mentioned this is all about fit and I don’t love the fit of any of the four quarterbacks in this division.

In this case, Burrow was obviously talented enough to be the number one overall pick in the draft. I personally have my doubts about it but there’s no question in my mind that he’s the most pro-ready quarterback of this class.

I just don’t think he fits what the Chargers want to do at the position. If they were still running the traditional style offense they were under Philip Rivers, then yes obviously he would be a great fit.

That being said, this was the easiest choice of the exercise for me. Geno Atkins was my first instinct and I have no reason to question that. Atkins has been one of the best players at his position for most of the last decade. He is 31 years of age but with the Chargers also having Jerry Tillery and Justin Jones I’m not too concerned about the long term plan here.

He only managed to get four and a half sacks last year so the production took a bit of a dip from his normal self, but on tape, he was still the same disruptive force he’s always been. Pro Football Focus had him at a 76 overall grade, which isn’t too far off what he has been for the majority of his career. This is a classic example of sack numbers not telling the whole story.

Atkins is good enough against the run that he could play either tackle spot for the Chargers, similar to how Damion Square has done over the last couple of seasons but Atkins is obviously a far superior player.

This would give the Chargers a ton of flexibility at the defensive tackle rotation. They could roll out Linval Joseph and Jones in heavier packages and then go with Atkins and Tillery on passing down situations. They could also have the “experienced” package with Joseph and Atkins. Again, the possibilities would be amazing with this kind of group.

Either way, adding Atkins would solve a huge issue the Chargers have had on defense which is consistent pressure up the middle. There’s no way you can double team Bosa and Ingram on every play when you have a player like Atkins up the middle. That’s why guys like Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard have thrived in Cincinnati because they rarely get double-teamed.

In summary of the exercise, there were no quarterbacks in this entry. I decided to go with Ravens’ wide receiver Marquise Brown, Steelers’ left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, Browns’ cornerback Denzel Ward and Bengals’ defensive tackle Geno Atkins. All would fit in and fill positions of need on the current LA Chargers roster.

Next. Who benefits the most from defensive scheme change?

Let me know in the comments below what you think of my picks and who you would’ve chosen.

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