3. JT Woods
I would not consider JT Woods a starter on the defense although he will probably end up playing about half of the defensive snaps next season and might even register some starts on his official stat line as a result.
The Chargers took the athletic ball-hawking safety in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft and the purpose of selecting him was instantly clear. Los Angeles needed safety depth and they needed some explosiveness to play at deep safety so they could move Derwin James around the defense.
If Woods is as good as the Chargers hope he is then he will be able to play two-high safety next to Nasir Adderley and open up Derwin James to play STAR. The possibilities do not stop there, either, as Woods could also play corner in some nickel and dime situations.
It is all based on the matchup and what team the Chargers are playing any given week. That is what makes Woods so important. The Chargers did not really have the luxury of playing matchups last year because of the lack of depth and the injuries suffered at corner. Alohi Gilman was the third-best safety last year, which is not great.
The secondary is the most important part of Brandon Staley's defense and while the stars are easy to get excited about, it is the versatile rotational players like Woods that can elevate a good secondary into a great secondary.
If Woods continues his ball-hawking nature and even picks off some passes in his rookie season then the Chargers are going to be in fantastic shape.