Defensive line: Edge, LA Chargers
This one isn’t close at all. Joey Bosa has 17 total pressures, which is more than the entire Carolina Panthers team.
Linebackers: Edge, Carolina Panthers
This really comes down to experience for me. The Panthers have two really solid linebackers in Shaq Thompson and Tahir Whitehead(formerly of the Raiders), both had over 100 tackles last season. Then add in rookie Jeremy Chinn, and it provides a really good group.
I love what the Chargers have in Kenneth Murray. I think he’s going to be a top tier linebacker, sooner rather than later. I also really like Kyzir White and am looking forward to seeing what he can do as a full-time starter, but I’m not crazy about the duo of Nick Vigil and Denzel Perryman. If Drue Tranquill were still healthy, this would be a different story. For now, the Panthers have a slight edge.
Cornerbacks: Edge, LA Chargers
Another one that’s not particularly close. Chris Harris made the all-decade team for the 2010s, albeit as a member of the Denver Broncos, and is still a very solid player. Casey Hayward is drastically underrated by those around the league and has continually shown up against guys like DeAndre Hopkins and proven that he is an elite player. Michael Davis is possibly trending up as an average player, but overall he’s a fine third cornerback and has traits that fit the roster well.
I LOVED Troy Pride in the pre-draft process and really wanted the Chargers to draft him. I think he’s going to be a very good player in this league one day, but he’s going through some growing pains as a rookie right now.
Donte Jackson is a solid player too for the Panthers, he totaled seven interceptions over the previous two seasons. The future for the Panthers corners is bright, but the Chargers duo of Hayward and Harris is far superior at this moment.
Safeties: Edge, Carolina Panthers
This one is very close in my opinion. Chinn doubles as a safety for the Panthers and his versatility is noticeable on tape.
The Chargers are very familiar with Tre Boston, and while he’s played for three different teams over the previous three seasons, he’s also second in the league among safeties with 11 interceptions over that time frame. He’s a liability in the run game, but there aren’t many safeties with better ball skills than him.
I think the Chargers will have something special next season with Derwin James and Nasir Adderley. Adderley improved from week one to week two, but it’s clear that he needs more time before he feels comfortable back there. He’s got all the physical traits to be an elite safety in this league, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
The Desmond King situation does not help. I do agree he probably should be playing more than Ryashawn Jenkins right now, but it seems like he might have put himself back in the dog house. So for now, Boston’s playmaking ability gives the edge to the Panthers.