The 2016 NFL Draft is but weeks away. Free agency has gone through it’s first, second, third and fourth waves leaving little to choose from for those in need via that route. Every team in the league has lost and added talent. For the San Diego Chargers what has the plus minus been so far?
First up, the team is still the “San Diego Chargers.” At least for another year. Call me old fashioned but I like the name just fine and the locale even better. With the NFL kicking in millions to show their support, the team and city need to make this permanent ASAP.
Like the team, Head Coach Mike McCoy is at the controls for at least another year. Players and coaches tend to perform better in contract years. Ken Whisenhunt is in and Frank Reich is out as offensive coordinator and has new toys to play with. Whisenhunt is a known offensive quantity and should mesh well with elite QB Philip Rivers.
WR Travis Benjamin was a huge signing. Pairing Travis with burgeoning WR Keenan Allen should give defensive coordinators absolute fits in 2016. If your a Boltz fan that has to have you salivating. Floyd and his height will be missed on the outside.
TE Ladarius Green was never going to see his potential realized behind all-world Antonio Gates. Veteran Jeff Cumberland was signed yesterday to fill the open slot and is a solid addition. The tight end talent in the draft is not top heavy but there are some intriguing talents. This itch will get scratched in the draft.
RB Donald Brown left. He wasn’t getting the snaps and still has gas left in the tank. It’s not going to matter who’s at RB anyhow unless the Chargers address their offensive line woes. Melvin Gordon needs some help. Offensive Center is the biggest need and Nick Martin (All Pro Zack Martin’s younger brother) in the second is an obvious target. Jack Allen in the third our fourth round would be plan B.
The defensive secondary took the biggest hits and that’s never good. CB Patrick Robinson and Safeties Eric Weedle and Jimmy Wilson have all departed via free agency. CB Casey Hayward and S Dwight Lowery were brought in as stop-gap measures. Ideally you don’t want to have to play the season with these guys as your starters. The draft needs to supply help here as well.
The good news is this draft has talent to be tabbed at the three positions of greatest need OL, CB and Safety. The bad news is you generally are lucky to get 1-3 starters out of any draft and the Chargers need 4-5. Not having to move this offseason will help. Having a healthy Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen will help even more. Having pass protection and running lanes would make this team a contender and somehow getting a safety to keep the lid on the defense (Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack via trade up rumors abound) would be the push this team needs to make the playoffs.
You rarely want to spend a lot of money in free agency. The 2015 Broncos were the outlier in regards to using free agency to win a Super Bowl. Losing Green and the defensive backfield hurt. Adding WR Travis Benjamin was a coup. It all boils down to how they work their player boards in a few weeks.
2016 is a deep draft due to the number of underclassmen coming out this year. Couldn’t have happened in a better season for the Chargers.
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over