LA Chargers countdown to 2020: Best number 76 in team history

We are 76 days away from seeing the LA Chargers back in action.

Counting today, we are officially 76 days away from the LA Chargers kicking off their 2020 season in Week 1 against first overall pick Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.

To count down the 2020 season, we have been naming the best player in team history to wear each number that coincides with the number of days remaining until the Chargers are back in action. Thus far, not a single current Charger has earned the honor.

That will continue with the number 76 as well as Forrest Lamp is listed as the current number 76 after spending his entire career thus far as number 77 (which he also did not come close to being the best for). The last person to wear the number 77 in a game was Russell Okung.

The best number 76 in team history is someone who is relatively recent, however.

The best number 76 in LA Chargers’ history: Jamal Williams

The LA Chargers selected Jamal Williams with the second pick in the second round of the 1998 NFL Supplemental Draft. Williams was one of two players selected in the supplemental draft that year as he was academically ineligible to play football at Oklahoma State.

Williams went on to have one of the best careers for a supplemental draft pick in NFL history. The defensive tackle spent 13 seasons in the league, 12 with the Chargers, and took home Pro Bowl honors three times and All-Pro honors twice.

All of Williams’ success, at least in terms of those accolades, came in the three years from 2005 to 2007. He was a Pro Bowler in all three years and was an All-Pro in 2005 and 2006.

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Williams was not a premier pass-rusher as he only recorded 13 sacks in his 13-year career. Instead, Williams was one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league and was a huge part of the defense that was successful for the Chargers during the mid-2000s.

Throughout the rest of his career, Williams was always average to slightly above-average, but that three-year dominant stretch gives him a noticeable advantage in career Approximate Value among all players who have worn 76 for the Chargers.

If it was not for that three-year stretch then the best number 76 in team history would be Terry Owens, who spent a decade with the team from 1966 to 1975. Owens was never a Pro Bowler or All-Pro, but he was a solid anchor at left tackle for the Chargers in seven of those 10 years.

Next: Best number 77 in team history

Williams’ combined 38 approximate value in those three seasons alone is better than every other player to wear 76 for the Chargers outside of Owens.