Despite never winning a Super Bowl in franchise history, some of the best players in NFL history have donned the powder blue. The Chargers have a long list of illustrious players in franchise history that could make one of the best all-time lineups in the league.
But this is where it gets tricky. If we were to build an all-time lineup, who exactly would make the cut? If we were going off of overall legacy it would be easier. However, if we are trying to take the best version of each player at every position, it could get dicey.
There are some shockers in here, for sure. Some players seem like they would be penciled into the offense but in reality, there are better options available. To try and keep it true to NFL form, we are going to build an offensive roster that would actually mirror the roster construction of a real NFL team.
Chargers all-time roster, the offense:
Quarterback: 2021 Justin Herbert (starter), 2018 Philip Rivers, 1982 Dan Fouts
If we are talking about all-time legacy, Philip Rivers and Dan Fouts still rank ahead of Justin Herbert. However, if we are just taking the best version of one of these quarterbacks then 2021 Herbert gets the starting nod.
Granted, the game has changed and evolved to help the quarterback but Herbert literally had the best season in franchise history in 2021, throwing for over 5,000 yards with 38 passing touchdowns. Behind him, he has the older version of Philip Rivers who was still playing at an elite level in 2018 as well as Fouts in his best year, which was the lockout-shortened season.
Running back: 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson (starter), 2021 Austin Ekeler, 1994 Natrone Means
Nobody else could pilot the running back room other than 2006 LaDainian Tomlinson. LT's 2006 season is the best individual season in franchise history and is still arguably the best season that a running back has ever had.
There is some talent behind him, though. Austin Ekeler is the perfect change of pace as the RB2 as a rich man's version of Darren Sproles to mimic the late 2000s Chargers. 1994 Natrone Means, who is the only running back on this team to actually make the Super Bowl, is a great third option.
Fullback: 2006 Lorenzo Neal
Lorenzo Neal is one of the best fullbacks in NFL history and he was a big reason why LT had the kind of success that he did in the mid-2000s. Neal was an All-Pro in both 2006 and 2007, so we took the slightly younger version of him for this team.
Wide receiver: 1965 Lance Alworth, 2017 Keenan Allen, 1980 John Jefferson, 2011 Vincent Jackson, 1980 Charlie Joiner
There have been some really great wide receivers to play for the Chargers but the team has never had that all-time receiver that other organizations have had. There is no Randy Moss or Jerry Rice but then again, those guys are generational players.
This is a mostly older group with two guys that younger fans have seen play in Keenan Allen and Vincent Jackson. If Allen can stay healthy moving forward he might end up being the best receiver in franchise history.
Tight end: 2005 Antonio Gates, 1980 Kellen Winslow, 1967 Willie Frazier
The Chargers may not have that all-time receiver to hang their hat on but they have the best 1-2 tight end punch that any team in the league can have. Kellen Winslow reinvented the tight end position in the 1980s and Antonio Gates arguably perfected it. Having two of the six best tight ends in NFL history is quite the honor.
Offensive line: 2021 Rashawn Slater, 2009 Kris Dielman, 2006 Nick Hardwick, 1967 Walt Sweeney, 1963 Ron Mix (starters); 1979 Russ Washington, 1982 Doug Wilkerson, 2021 Corey Linsley, 1979 Ed Wight, 1963 Ernie Wright
This was a tough one to put together and some might be surprised to see Rashawn Slater make the cut. As crazy as it sounds, there is not a left tackle in franchise history that has had a better year than Slater had in his rookie season.
The closest call was between 2009 Kris Dielman and 1982 Doug Wilkerson, who both had elite years. We ultimately gave the edge to Dielman as his performance was across a full season, not a nine-game season.