The Chargers. A new era beginning
Result: Missed Playoffs
2019 Regular season record: 5-11
2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 21st 21.1 PPG
2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 14th 21.6 PPG
2020 Draft First Round Pick: 6
Coach: Anthony Lynn
The Offseason Scenario:
We all know that Tom Brady changing uniforms is a big deal, but somehow the fact that Philip Rivers won’t be a Charger anymore is slipping under the radar. Rivers has started every single game for the Chargers dating all the way back to 2006, so it’s a big deal.
The move to Los Angeles in 2017 didn’t sit well with any number of Chargers fans, but a playoff run in 2018 kept the flames alive. The same can’t be said of 2019, when the Chargers took a big step back. Maybe it was Melvin Gordon’s holdout, maybe it was Rivers’ age catching up with him. In any case, it was clear as the thirty-eight-year-old finished up one of his worst seasons on record, time for a change had come.
Rivers is off to Indianapolis, and the Chargers will start fresh with Tyrod Taylor under center. Just kidding. There virtually no chance that the Chargers won’t draft a quarterback at number six, despite Taylor’s one strong season in Buffalo a few years back. Melvin Gordon has moved on, a year after his holdout, to the Broncos, leaving lots of questions for an offense that plummeted from eleventh league-wide to twenty-first in 2019. They’ve got a lot of work to do…
Free Agent Frenzy:
With Gordon and Rivers out the door, the Chargers have some work to do to improve on offense, though they did bring back the more versatile of their two top RBs, Austin Ekeler, and their TE Hunter Henry, who everyone thought was on the way out the door. To beef up the offensive line, Los Angeles went out and got big boys Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner, while also stiffening the defense with two-time Pro Bowl DT Linval Joseph and two-time All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The Chargers aren’t cash-strapped, either.
They’re still about $22 million under the cap, the ninth-most in the league. I expect a few more signings before the season starts if they want to compete with the Chiefs in the AFC West.
Seriously Premature Draft Hunches:
This isn’t a hunch.
The Chargers will pick a quarterback at number six overall.
The only question is which one.
We all know that Joe Burrow is off the board first, and rumor is that Miami will get aggressive to move up and nab Tua Tagovailoa. That leaves a handful of legitimate QB options for Los Angeles. Jordan Love from Utah St., Justin Herbert from Oregon, Jacob Eason from Washington, Jake Fromm from Georgia and Jalen Hurts from Oklahoma are all names that might come up. Going on gut, I think that the big gunslinger from Oregon will hear his name while Los Angeles is on the clock.
Justin Herbert is 6’6”, with a cannon arm and the athleticism to move when the pocket collapses. The knock against Herbert is that he has struggled to be consistent, especially on intermediate throws, but his colossal upside makes him a very attractive prospect to rebuild a team around. If he can be coached up to make little swing passes to Ekeler and hit Henry in the flat, he’ll be just what the Chargers need going forward.
For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.