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Is the 2022 Chargers defense better than the 2020 Rams defense?

Los Angeles Chargers v Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Chargers v Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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Derwin James
An imposing specimen, Derwin James enjoyed a spectacular rebound year in 2021, earning him his second All-Pro selection. / Harry How/GettyImages

Defensive Backs: All-Pros headline both units

Similar to their defensive line, the 2020 Rams defensive backs group features an amazing standout along with consistent play from each position. Jalen Ramsey was recognized as a first-team All-Pro this season and turned in another spectacular campaign with few teams wanting to test his side of the field.

For the other cornerback position, Troy Hill turned in a complete 16 game season with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Safeties Jordan Fuller and John Johnson were able to provide complete support for their teammates by allowing the fewest passing yards in the league that season at 190.7 yards/game

Another revamped crew for the Bolts, the Chargers' defensive back room has some great potential for 2022. Newcomer J.C. Jackson has the most interceptions in the NFL since 2019 with 22 and was recognized with his first All-Pro honor in 2021. He is currently slated to start with Asante Samuel Jr. or Michael Davis filling in opposite him.

While ESPN has Samuel filling in as the left cornerback on the depth chart, it will most likely be Davis in that role with Samuel taking over duties at slot cornerback. At the safety position, Derwin James is the headliner with a 2021 All-Pro credit to his honor following a fantastic bounce-back campaign in 2021 (118 total tackles, two sacks, two picks, three forced fumbles). A second-round pick in 2019, free safety Nasir Adderly had his best pro year to date last season with five passes defended and 64 total stops. 

This was easily the most difficult group to judge, but it is hard to argue against the No. 1 pass defense in the league against a unit that, while uber talented on paper, has not done anything yet. However, this argument could change depending on what the Chargers do in the NFL Draft.

Who has the edge: 2020 Los Angeles Rams (but it was close!) 

Overall edge: 2020 Los Angeles Rams, but not by much

Though the 2022 new-look Bolts feature a starting 11 with four All-Pro or Pro Bowl caliber players, they still have some question marks. These areas of concern mainly come down to the fortitude of the new defensive line along with the improvements made by the interior linebacking unit.

If those two areas can coalesce and work together efficiently next season, the Chargers will have perhaps the most complete team in the NFL (knock on all the wood at Lake Tahoe). Perhaps the biggest positive the Chargers have working for them though is that the architect of that 2020 Rams unit is their head coach and that blueprint is right in front of them.

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