With the 7th overall pick the
San Diego I mean the Los Angeles Chargers select..... That's going to take a while to get used to. Again, I would like to thank everyone commenting and fighting back with me it's what really makes me love doing these getting into nice banter about things that may never happen. That's what makes football a little more special in my opinion than other sports since it creates such good mystery and inclusiveness during the off season. So, without further adieu here we go!
Los Angeles Chargers Salary Cap Space: $21 million
Key Free Agents:
1) Melvin Ingram DE/OLB
2) Jahleel Addae S
3) Dontrelle Inman WR (RFA)
4) Danny Woodhead RB
5) Korey Toomer LB (RFA)
6) Manti Te'o LB
--- The Chargers were an odd team last year who had a solid shot to make the playoffs if they were able to just finish out games in the 4th quarter. That could come down to poor coaching decisions which ultimately cost coach Mike McCoy's job. This roster has good talent throughout, but they could definitely improve across the board. With their crop of free agents the priority resigning will definitely be Melvin Ingram. If he hits the open market he should command a hefty price tag with his solid ability to get to the quarterback to go along with his versatility to play on any defense. With the Chargers converting to a 4-3 front keeping Ingram to book end with the young Joey Bosa will be a big ease to the transition. According to Spotrac.com, he would command a contract of about 5 years and $86 million or roughly $17 million a year. If I were the Chargers I would definitely look to franchise tag him even though that can be around $17 million to $14 million depending on what they consider his position to be.
The only other player I would look to bring in would be Jahleel Addae to help keep continuity in their secondary. Plus, he played pretty well and definitely has more upside than the aging Dwight Lowery. Adddae should only cost around $4 million a year so it's not like he will break the bank for them. In my opinion I like to see my players who are developing stay on my teams rather than see them flourish somewhere else. Addae could be that guy for them with their solid young defense that demonstrates how well they have drafted in recent years. Other than that the rest of the rookies can hit the open market.
Possible Off Season Moves:
- Cut Brandon Flowers. He played well last year on his one year deal, but missed the last 6 games of this past season with a concussion. Flowers has a long history of brain injuries and moving on from him is the smart money option. It would also save $6 million for them to use else where like retaining Ingram.
- Other than that they have no real outstanding contracts to clear out or trades they need to make. Maybe see if you can restructure Phillip Rivers contract to clear up more space, but with their move to LA I think he would rather keep his money since he now needs to be a stabilizer during the move.
- Eric Berry S - I know, I know the Chiefs are probably going to resign him, but you cannot be sure about those things. If they do not then their divisional rivals in LA should jump all over him. They have the cap space and a big need to upgrade their safety position after the departure of Eric Weddle.
- Dominique Easley, Bennie Logan, or Nick Fairley DT - During their transition to a 4-3 defense they will need to gather better interior tackles that fit that scheme. Easley finally showed life with the Rams when put in a 4-3 front so continued success there should be possible if he moves to the other new LA team. Logan and Fairley are slightly older options, but both are solid in the run and pass game. They may not be headline grabbing moves, but they are necessary for their transition.
- Kenny Britt, Victor Cruz, or Kamar Aiken - The Chargers should think about adding another secondary receiver that can handle a big work load when Keenan Allen gets hurt again. Britt and Cruz are two receivers that fit the mold of reliable pass catchers that Rivers like to work with. However, Aiken has more upside and a little more speed than the two as a younger option with a lot less wear on his tires.
Possible Draft Options:
- The Chargers have expressed major interests in Malik Hooker and it's totally understandable. He can easily fill the void that appeared with the departure of Eric Weddle last season. In a perfect scenario they should definitely look into taking him. If not they could then go in a bunch of different directions with their 7th overall pick where there should be a blue chip player available. A receiver like Mike Williams or Corey Davis could be in play, but I think it's a little high for them. Reuben Foster could be a good pick, but their move to a 4-3 defense may not fit his skill set as well and they already have a nice young linebacker in Jatavis Brown from last year. Possibly, Solomon Thomas if he's there can be a good fit for an edge rusher if they cannot retain Melvin Ingram and Derek Barnett should also be in play if that happens. So, really in my opinion the Chargers could be a real mystery pick for a lot of mock drafters and can be a lynch pin for what else can occur after them.
- Here is where they should look into improving their receiver position. This draft has a lack of top end talent at the position, but it does have solid developmental depth so getting a player like Smith-Schuster or Cooper Kupp can be a nice selection. If not nabbing an edge rusher here can also be an option if they forgo it in the first round. Same can be said with safety if they miss out on Hooker they can look for a safety like Justin Evans or Obi Melifonwu.
My Mock Selections:
1 (7) - Malik Hooker S Ohio St
2 (38) - T.J. Watt OLB Wisconsin
3 (71) - Josh Reynolds WR Texas A&M
- I failed to realize that the Chargers were moving to a 4-3 while making my latest mock draft so Watt may not be the pick there. However, he does fit a 4-3 well enough, but the Chargers have a decent crop of young linebackers to play off the line already. So, next go around I will fix that. Landing Hooker is a big key for the Chargers and I could even see them possibly move up for him they like him that much. Reynolds showed good size and ability at the Senior Bowl. If he can run a good 40 time at the Combine his stock could continue to rise. Overall, this is a very easy draft for the Chargers who have a solid roster. Taking top defenders or even upgrading the offensive line could all be in play for the Chargers.
Overall I think the Chargers are the most likely top 10 picking team to jump into the playoffs. If not for a few freak plays and blown leads they would have been there last year. Phillip Rivers is still one of the top quarterbacks in the league and proves it with lesser talent since nobody around him can stay healthy. There defense will be interesting with them switching schemes, but their personnel seems well suited for it. They have a good young linebacking corp and a one good edge rusher with Joey Bosa. If they can hold on to Ingram then they would have two top pass rushers. In the end this to me will quickly be the best team in LA and hold that spot for awhile. If they can take advantage of this high draft picking spot they could definitely contend right away for a playoff spot.