Additional Los Angeles Chargers Info
The Los Angeles Chargers exceeded expectations a year ago in their first season in their new home town, finishing with a 9-7 record, landing them in second place in the AFC West. With the new season coming up fast, the Chargers found themselves without a starter at tight end. Rumor is that they might sign Antonio Gates to a one year deal. Also on the “to do” list for the Chargers is to get their kicking game in order. Last season, no fewer than five different players took a shot at the starting kicker position, with results being dismal. So what did they do this offseason to make that extra jump to return to the playoffs?
The first decision the Chargers made was to part ways with Antonio Gates, who is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best tight ends in NFL history. Gates’s production has really tapered off the last three seasons due to age and injury so the team decided it was time to go a different direction. Hunter Henry is now the starting tight end, and the team signed Virgil Green in free agency to back him up. Also in free agency, the team shored up the center position, signing former Miami Dolphin Mike Pouncey to a two-year contract. They also needed a new kicker, so rather than wait for the draft, they added former Eagles and Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis. The other move of note in free agency was to sign Geno Smith to backup Phillip Rivers.
For the draft, the Chargers had seven selections and spent the top half of the draft focusing on defense. In round one they went with safety/cornerback Derwin James from Florida State, who has the potential to be the best defensive player taken from this draft. In round two they shored up their pass rush with outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu from USC. In round three they went defensive line with tackle Justin Jones from North Carolina State. These last two choices were made as a preparation to what is coming in 2018- opposing teams are going to start to double-team defensive end Joey Bosa, who is about to become the best pass rusher in the game. In round four they grabbed perhaps the safety who will play opposite James, Kyzir White from West Virginia. In round five they made a very strange move, drafting center Scott Quessenberry from UCLA after already signing Pouncey during the offseason. Perhaps one of them goes to guard. They finished their draft with wide receiver Dylan Cantrell from Texas Tech and running back Justin Jackson from Auburn. Did they do enough to get to the playoffs? Maybe. But one thing is for sure, Phillip Rivers is running out of both time and chances.