Why Ja'Sir Taylor's 2023 performance might make or break the Chargers' secondary

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It's still early on in the process as Chargers' OTAs continue on before next weeks mandatory minicamp. In terms of drawing conclusions about what the team may look like later on, it's hard to make sweeping statements or generalizations yet.

But a lot of the attention on the defensive side of the ball should be placed on second-year cornerback Ja'Sir Taylor. The Chargers felt comfortable enough in their secondary back in April and didn't draft a cornerback to the surprise of some fans. In addition to not drafting a corner, the team also has passed on re-signing Bryce Callahan to this point.

Callahan was the "Star" defensive back as Staley calls it in his defense. Overall, he did a solid job at covering the middle of the field and stayed healthy for most of the season after that was a question mark coming in.

From his limited 2022 playing experience, Taylor has two moments in particular that defined his season. He subbed in for an injured Callahan against the Dolphins and had an impressive effort as the slot starter.

On the other hand, he also was forced onto the field after Michael Davis was injured in the playoff game at Jacksonville. Doug Pederson infamously had a field day in the second half after the Chargers had to change up their defense sans Davis without being able to trust Taylor 1 on 1.

Ja'sir Taylor could be the X-factor of the Chargers secondary

Coming into team activities as the starter is obviously a different position than where Taylor was in 2022, though. He largely had to play special teams and work himself into the position of being the primary star backup last season as a rookie. A serious workload in offseason activities as a starter in the secondary should both boost his confidence and Brandon Staley's trust in him.

While Taylor will primarily play the star role, the Chargers are also probably going to have to play him outside in some instances until the return of cornerback J.C. Jackson. Essentially, Los Angeles isn't going to have the defensive flexibility and depth to be able to hide Taylor as he takes his bruises.

If Jackson is back earlier than expected, then there's more wiggle room with placing Asante Samuel Jr. back in the slot. But right now the Chargers probably are operating in a conservative fashion considering the torn patellar tendon.

Take it with a grain of salt considering the time of year, but Taylor has reportedly impressed with his coverage and plays on the ball so far at Chargers OTAs, per The Athletic's Daniel Popper.

With secondary depth currently thin right now and the Chargers not making many active plays to acquire defensive backs in the offseason, it'll be up to Ja'Sir Taylor to show that he's ready for the full-time starting role.