2018 Los Angeles Chargers Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Phillip Rivers||Geno Smith|
|Running Back||Melvin Gordon||Austin Ekeler||Justin Jackson|
|Left Wide Receiver||Keenan Allen||Mike Williams||Geremy Davis|
|Right Wide Receiver||Tyrell Williams||Travis Benjamin||JJ Jones|
|Tight End||Antonio Gates||Virgil Green||Sean Culkin|
|Full Back||Derek Watt|
|Left Tackle||Russell Okung||Sam Tevi|
|Left Guard||Dan Feeney||Scott Quessenberry|
|Center||Mike Pouncy||Cole Toner|
|Right Guard||Forrest Lamp||Michael Schofield|
|Right Tackle||Joe Barksdale||Sam Tevi|
The Los Angeles Chargers can’t seem to catch a break with injury hits to their roster. This is the first year the team will be without Antonio Gates at the tight-end position. Gates contributed at a high level for many years, so a retirement was imminent. This called for Hunter Henry to have the breakout season the team needed. An injury during practice would ultimately end his season before it even began, leaving the team in an offensive bind. Injuries have written the storybook for the Chargers the past few seasons. Drafting Mike Williams in the first-round a few years back would seem like a nightmare come true. Williams spent his entire rookie season sidelined with injury. Despite facing injury challenges, the team prevailed to the best of their ability. Retooling and depth increases is what the team centered around as they headed into the off-season.
One of the greatest coverage positions within the offense is seen at the offensive line. The team was afforded the luxury to bring in Russell Okung last season at left tackle. Okung was the blindside protection for Philip Rivers, a quarterback who has been rushed heavily throughout his career. Okung started all 16 contests last season, marking his second consecutive Pro-Bowl appearance. The team was also able to add Mike Pouncey at the center position. Pouncey joins the team on a short-term deal, but his position filling is crucial. Dan Feeney is the team’s top guard, rounding out a solid grouping of offensive line talent. The draft and undrafted free-agency period presented the team with the ability to add to additional back-up tackles and a back-up guard. Building a consistent level of talent for Rivers to work behind is crucial at this point in his career. Rivers is entering his 14th season in the league, slowly creeping his career path towards retirement. Rivers is a true gamer and doesn’t show signs of letting up anytime soon.
The backfield was Rivers biggest friend this past season. Melvin Gordon emerged as the team’s lead back, tallying impressive rushing and pass-catching statistics. Austin Ekeler emerged late last season as the change-of-pace back the team desperately needed. Rewriting the storyline of Ekeler comes the drafting of Justin Jackson in the 7th round. Jackson finished near the top of the leaderboard in the Big Ten in total yards, a title that would ultimately be won be Saquan Barkley. While we don’t expect Jackson to mirror the career pathway of Barkely, he could find a spot on this team. He has all of the tangibles needed and is well-versed within the mental aspect of sport.
The team finally is able to return Mike Williams to a full-go status. Williams was the team’s first-round selection in 2017, but never got the opportunity to see the field. One year removed from rookie status and Williams is ready to roll within the Chargers system. He will help create a healthy partnership with Keenan Allen, the wide receiver talent that saw some of the highest usage rates in the league last season. This duo helps to spread defenses and open the middle of the field for work out of the backfield or from the slot and tight-end receiving positions.
Small strives were also made to improve the defensive line. Brandon Mebane was brought in from Seattle to help spell Corey Liuget and open opportunities for standout, Joey Bosa. The addition of Mebane gives the team a complete defensive line with end talents. The edge rush is covered by Melvin Ingram, who will see relief from draft picks Kyzir White and Uchenna Nwosu. Nwosu stands the best chance of cracking the starting lineup, but the development of these players is more important to the organization than instant impact. These two will learn from a well-versed linebacker core and may downsize their play to be featured at the formidable edge rush positions. Casey Heyward continues to headline the secondary. All levels of their defense have impactors that can create struggles for opposing offenses. This is a positive note because the team spent a lot of on-field play at defense last year. Limiting this timing through the spread of offensive consistency can create the ultimate combination the team needs to compete within the AFC. A simplistic division is up for grabs in 2018, so the team likes their prospects of a division takedown.