By Ben Babcock
Offseason Grade: C+
Answer: I guess
The Chargers didn’t do a whole lot this offseason, and most of what they did do was on offense. Their biggest addition was center, Mike Pouncey, even though he has had some hip issues he’s expected to be healthy next season. Pouncey really solidifies the Chargers offensive line, along with the signing of OT Michael Schofield. The only other big news is that they have replaced the all-time tight end receiving leader for the Chargers, Antonio Gates. Gates will likely retire this year anyway after 14 years in the league, but you’d think the future Hall of Famer would’ve just retired as soon as the season ended. His replacement is Virgil Green, who signed a 3-year $8.6 million contract with the Chargers. They also signed wide receiver Geremy Davis to a 1-year deal and quarterback Geno Smith to back up Philip Rivers. Their only defensive signings were the linebacker Nick Dzubnar and safety Jaylen Watkins. They didn’t have a ton of cap space going into the offseason and really just added depth. Pouncey and Green will be the only ones getting any significant play time.
They are still in a good spot going into the draft. The Chargers have been a good team for a while now but just haven’t broken through to make any sort of playoff runs. Maybe now that Keenan Allen seems to be healthy and if they keep improving their defense, they could make a little bit of a run before Philip Rivers retires in a few years. I’d expect them to really add to the defense in this year’s draft, along with some more depth on the O-line. They already have a great defensive end duo in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, along with a great cornerback in Casey Hayward, and a solid safety in Jahleel Addae, but they could still use more in the secondary, at linebacker, and in between Bosa and Ingram. They’ve got the 17th pick in the draft which gives them plenty of defensive options. DT Vita Vea, LB Leighton Vander Esch, LB Rashaan Evans, CB Josh Jackson, and CB Mike Hughes are all options that would work and will be available for the Chargers at no.17. Whatever they do in the first round, I’d expect them to go for an OT in the second round since that is where they are weakest at the moment. But this draft will be mostly defense for them because they do have a few holes. They’ve got solid young players on the defense, they just need to keep adding to it and they are in a good position to do that. And as long as Keenan Allen stays healthy they will be very solid on offense.