Why adding Julio Jones makes the LA Chargers an instant contender

Nov 8, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

For the most part during free agency and draft season, the LA Chargers didn’t make too big a splash. They played around with the offensive line and managed to bring in four new potential starters, which is what they obviously needed to do. Moves like that won’t pop off the page, but the Bolts clearly did a good job of attempting to right a wrong that plagued them in 2020.

For me personally, I look at this team and I see the MVP-caliber sophomore quarterback and the solid array of weapons for him to utilize as well as a super talented defense and a brand new defensive-savvy head coach in Brandon Staley and I love the direction this team is headed.

However, I feel as though this team is lacking another pass catcher. The way the game is built today, and also with the Chiefs in the same AFC West division, the Bolts need to be able to go toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes through the air at least for the time being.

The Raiders have recognized this and have built their offense to be high-flying and loaded with speedsters on the outside with a dominant tight end to funnel everything through- Travis Kelce with Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman for the Chiefs; Darren Waller with Henry Ruggs and John Brown for the Raiders.

The Bolts find themselves in a similar yet very different position where they have two legit wideouts in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams like KC and Vegas do, but also lack that dominant tight end.

What the Bolts have on their side are size and efficiency. Allen and Mike Will are both at least 6’3″ and can use their size to their advantage. They can both run pretty well for bigger guys. And in the case of Keenan Allen, he is an elite route runner which makes him so hard to cover. Size, under-the-radar speed, and veteran savvy in route running all play into this team’s favor in their receiving core.

In order to fully hone in on that strength, however, I believe this Chargers team needs at least one of either Zach Ertz, who I wrote a while back that the Bolts should go after to incorporate a two-tight end system to set them apart from KC and the Raiders, or the newest prized possession in football right now in Julio Jones.

The LA Chargers might be one Julio Jones away from contending.

Julio is a great fit for LA and he gives this team another big-bodied physical receiver who can use his height and size and also run past you. Elite size. Elite route running. If they add Julio Jones, the Bolts become a top receiving core and they shoot themselves right up to the top of the heap neck-and-neck with KC.

It’s also a glove-like fit because Julio would take the left side and (presumably) the number one corner on each team while Mike Williams could stay on the right side and Keenan Allen could also stay in the slot.

It would be a tough call to make to probably have to drop a first-round pick in order to acquire Julio Jones, but in the LA Chargers’ case, I find that risk to be unbelievably worth it.

The Chargers have a chance in 2021 to not only make the playoffs but also win the division. With the roster they have right now, I believe they sneak into the playoffs and, at the very least, find themselves on the near outside looking in. That puts them somewhere in the early-to-mid 20s for the first round in 2022.

Maybe I’m just a silly goose, but that to me seems very advantageous to the Chargers to give up in order to bring in a top receiver in Julio Jones who is still easily one of the league’s top ten receivers.Justin Herbert needs weapons. He’s got a good selection right now, but the Chiefs (who have actually won things) have shown us the more the merrier succeeds in today’s game.

In order to keep up with the cream of the crop in the AFC (and the NFL in general), assuming 2021 is a year you want to make a big move for a championship if you’re the Chargers, I think you go hard after Julio Jones and give Herbert a third big, physical receiver.

Three big bodies in the receiving core. Two elite receivers in Julio and Keenan Allen. One young quarterback with a huge arm who wants to chuck it downfield. It only makes sense to bring in Julio Jones.

53-man roster predictions following the 2021 NFL Draft. Next

If the LA Chargers want 2021 to bear fruit in the form of a serious playoff push, they need to add another big-named receiver or tight end.