LA Chargers’ important position battles of training camp: 3. Second defensive tackle
Jerry Tillery vs. Justin Jones vs. Damion Square
If you look at the moves that the LA Chargers made on the defensive side of the football in the offseason then it is clear that the team is trying to get better in stopping the run. They traded a second and third-round pick to move up to draft hard-nosed, run-stuffer Kenneth Murray, a linebacker-type that the team has not had in recent years outside of Denzel Perryman.
The team also signed Linval Joseph to help shore the interior of the defensive line and brought in Chris Harris. Harris is known for his coverage but he is actually one of the better run-stopping corners in the league, which will play nicely at slot corner.
The team has a good secondary and the difference between being a great defense and an elite defense is if they can stop the run. The second defensive tackle spot next to Joseph is going to be huge in that success.
The team has options as well. Jerry Tillery is their first-round pick from last season and profiles more as a pass-rush defensive tackle but hopefully, he built some more strength in the offseason and can be more consistent and actually make a difference.
If Tillery does not pan out then the team can turn to either Justin Jones or Damion Square. Neither play has a ceiling as high as Tillery’s but if Tillery is bad as he was last year than both are better options.
Realistically, all three guys will see playing time in some sort of rotation that will differ on the situation, but who starts and plays in critical situations is important to this defense.