4. Kenneth Murray
Perhaps the biggest question mark on the Bolts' defense, Murray’s future will be much more certain, whether it is good or bad, after this season. As many have pointed out, Staley’s defense does not rely too heavily on fantastic inside linebackers but rather uses a rotation of players. That said, Murray regressed in 2021 with only six starts and 31 combined tackles (down from 107 in 2020).
The best-case scenario is the Oklahoma product bounces back from his offseason ankle surgery and solidifies his place in the Chargers' linebacking corps for years to come. According to his social media account, he injured his ankle in week four of the season prior to the Raiders game and it had clearly plagued him the whole year.
If the linebacker does not bounce back, then the Bolts have until 2025 to mold and develop him rather than just cut bait unless it goes south quickly. Also, with the Chargers fan base being firmly behind Drue Tranquill in the linebacking unit (not that it matters to coaches), Murray does have an uphill battle in the rotation.
Nonetheless, he does have the intangibles as a former first-round prospect to make some noise as he did in his rookie campaign. Also, the Chargers coaching staff is not quite ready to give up on him just yet so perhaps he will surprise many with a bounceback campaign in 2022 for K9.