2014 NFL Draft: Ranking San Diego Chargers’ Top 5 Needs
Ranking The San Diego Chargers' Top 5 Needs
The 2013 NFL season was a year where the San Diego Chargers reemerged as a solid team. The Bolts finished 9-7, a record good enough to earn them their first playoff berth since the 2009 season. Plagued with serious injuries and led by a new coaching staff, the Chargers still managed overcame a lot of issues.
Making the playoffs wouldn't be good enough for this rejuvenated team. Instead, they fought their way into the second-round, where they were eliminated by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Chargers may have fell short of their ultimate goal, but their hard work shined through to the entire sports world.
The Chargers came into the season as outcasts and finished as a team with a bright future. Philip Rivers' comeback season sparked a fire underneath a team that had seemingly lost the glory that once swept the city of San Diego off their feet. Those days seemed to be long behind the Chargers and their fans.
Now, after their best season in a few years, the Chargers are primed to make another push for the playoffs. With the 2014 NFL Draft right around the corner, this team is ready to strengthen their roster in hopes of improving over the next few months. Although the Bolts finished the season as one of the top offensive teams in the NFL, their defense struggled mightily at times, costing them some big games during the regular season. No team is perfect in any way, so the Bolts have some holes to fill before the take their next step.
It all starts with the draft, so let's rank the top five positional needs for the Chargers headed into the 2014 season.
5. Wide Receiver
The Chargers' receiving core looked pretty good at times during the 2013 season, most of which is because of the emergence of rookie sensation Keenan Allen.
A lot of the offense's production should attributed to the team's effort as a unit. With serious injuries to two of their top WRs -- Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander -- the Bolts could be shorthanded headed into next season, unless they address those needs in the upcoming draft.
4. Defensive Tackle
After giving up 4.6 yards per carry in 2013, it is obvious that the Chargers need to beef up their defensive line. Even worse, the Bolts ranked 23rd in the league in sacks and were horrible at forcing turnovers. The Chargers have not had a stout defensive tackle since Jamaal Williams was a member of the team. With some solid prospects out there, the Chargers need to address this situation before matters worsen.
3. Offensive Guard
The Chargers' offensive line held their ground in 2013, but their guards were still inconsistent. Chad Rinehart and Jeromey Clary are expendable, and the team needs lineman who they can't afford to be without.
I do not know if these guys can stay healthy enough for the offensive line to mirror their production from last season.
2. Outside Linebacker
Although the Chargers' defense clamped down a bit during the latter portion of the season, they only managed to get 35 sacks on the year. If they are going to get deep into the playoffs and have a chance to win a championship, they will need to get to the quarterback. I don't know if guys like Jarrett Johnson, Tourek Williams and Reggie Walker will be able to get the job done on a consistent basis. With Dwight Freeney returning and Melvin Ingram healthy, this team will still need help on defense. The draft gives them the perfect opportunity to pick up some players who are able to reek havoc on opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines.
The cornerback position was by far the weakest part of the 2013 Chargers. We are talking about a group that gave up more than 4,000 yards through the air, while letting teams pass for over 250 yards a game. The team recently released Derek Cox, whom they signed to a big contract prior to the beginning of last season. With Cox's release, the Chargers will have a little room to work with in free agency, but their first pick in the draft should definitely be someone who is going to help this unit get better.