LA Chargers: 4 defensive free agents that could still help the team

Jason Reed
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(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Mike Pennel, DT

The LA Chargers need help up front, particularly in the run defense department. Linval Joseph is one year older and is in the last year of his contract while Jerry Tillery is practically useless against the run. Justin Jones is solid against the run, but the Chargers need more than just that.

That need is accelerated if the team moves to a 3-4 defense. While you can play someone such as Tillery at defensive end in a 3-4 defense, his performance against the run in the past is really concerning. The Chargers could use another big body up front that can help stop the run that can play nose tackle or defensive end on running downs instead of Tillery.

Mike Pennel had the best run-defense PFF grade last season of all of the remaining defensive tackle free agents. Pennel played 322 snaps for the Chiefs last season and posted a 69.8 run defense grade with a 76.3 tackling grade.

He really is a running-downs-only type of player but he is exactly the kind of cheap rotational player that the Bolts can sign at this point in the offseason to make a noticeable difference. He can be the defensive tackle in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense and even played defensive end in a 3-4 defense earlier in his career with the New York Jets.

Next. The potential cost of drafting Penei Sewell

It is not the sexiest signing, but it is necessary if the LA Chargers truly want to build a well-rounded defense in 2021.