Quarterbacks: Edge, LA Chargers
If Taylor were active and healthy, this could be a more level playing field. Both Taylor and Bridgewater are game managing quarterbacks. Bridgewater gives you a little more explosiveness with his arm, but Taylor is the far better athlete.
With Herbert in the mix, I’ll give him the edge here. He showed the ability to be more than a game manager on Sunday against the Chiefs. He showed off all the physical tools, but what was more impressive was his ability to handle the pressure the Chiefs were bringing on a consistent basis and throw with anticipation. That throw to Keenan Allen that was just over the hands of Tyrann Mathieu was a better throw than we’ve ever seen out of Bridgewater.
Running backs: Edge, LA Chargers
Again, if McCaffrey were healthy the Panthers would have a clear edge here. He’s pretty easily the best running back in the league in my opinion because he has no limitations. Without him, this isn’t even close. Mike Davis is 27 years old, and his career-best season barely surpassed 700 total scrimmage yards.
He’s a fine depth piece, but the fact that he is the primary backup to McCaffrey is a little surprising, to be honest. His backup is Trenton Cannon, according to the Panthers website. If your reaction to reading that was “Who!?”, that would be an acceptable reaction. He was drafted by the New York Jets in 2018 out of Virginia State and hasn’t done much of anything in the league.
On the other hand, Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley are probably the second-best running back duo in the league. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are pretty clearly the first, but there’s a strong argument for Ekeler and Kelley for being second on that list.
Wide Receiver: Edge, Carolina Panthers
Keenan Allen is pretty clearly the best wide receiver in this bunch, but in comparing the two groups as a whole, I will give the slight edge to the Panthers. Moore is a budding star in this game and actually reminds me of a younger version of Allen.
Anderson and Mike Williams are pretty close but Anderson probably is the better route runner at the moment. Moore and Anderson have been extremely efficient and productive so far through two games.
I’m a big believer in KJ Hill and Joe Reed, but the Chargers coaching staff is hardly giving any reps to their two rookies right now. Jalen Guyton runs fast but I don’t even think he’s better than Andre Patton and he’s playing a ton right now.
So basically this comes down to Curtis Samuel vs Guyton, and that is why the Panthers get the slight edge. This is probably a different argument if Reed got more than TWO snaps a game. (We’re big Joe Reed fans on this site, clearly.)
Tight End: Edge, LA Chargers
Another one that is pretty obvious. Hunter Henry is off to a red hot start to this season, and he’s the one player who’s production shouldn’t really change due to the quarterback situation. He had five catches for 73 yards in week one, and six catches for 83 yards in Week 2.
If he can stay healthy all year, he’s going to put up big-time numbers. Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz are both talented players, but very inexperienced. The Chargers also have the best blocker of the bunch in Virgil Green.
Offensive Line: Edge, LA Chargers
What a plot twist, huh? The Chargers offensive line through two weeks has actually been fantastic. I plan on doing a full breakdown of this group each quarter of the season, so stay tuned for that. If not for the quarterback headlines, this would be the story of the season so far.
Dan Feeney moving to center has been a revelation – he hasn’t given up a single sack or pressure. Forrest Lamp seems like an entirely different player than last year. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded Charger in week one.
Sam Tevi has actually been serviceable at left tackle, shocking I know. The weak link of this group might honestly be Trai Turner, which is both a good and bad thing. I’m willing to give him a mulligan for his poor start because he was going up against Chris Jones all game, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Russell Okung is the only offensive lineman to give up a sack for the Panthers, but as a unit, they’ve given up quite a few pressures. Michael Schofield has been about the same average type of player he was for the Chargers. Matt Paradis was one of the worst centers in the league last season for the Panthers, and that hasn’t really changed much.
It’s weird that this is even something that can be said, but the Chargers might actually have a pretty good offensive line. What a world.