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Los Angeles Chargers March Scouting Report
Brad Willis

As you likely know, the Chargers have signed HC Jim Harbaugh as the team’s new head coach. There’s no doubt in my mind that Harbaugh is a big step up from former HC Brandon Staley. But what of the rest of the team? Has it improved? Will it improve? It won’t take much to do better than 2023’s embarrassing 5-12 record, yet despite a flurry of free agent moves, most of the current starters look more like reserve players to me. The upcoming draft will be important to the team, but rookies don’t typically make an immediate contribution, if they make one at all. Let’s look at some of the key off-season moves thus far, and touch upon the team’s draft needs as well.

QB: The good news is that the Chargers have one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in QB Justin Herbert. The bad news is that Herbert lost many of his favorite targets. That, plus the potential for a run-first offense under Harbaugh, may hurt Herbert’s fantasy numbers this year. The Chargers have signed QB Easton Stick as their back up, and in fantasy terms, that’s pretty much non-news.

RB: Former RB Austin Ekeler has departed and is now a Washington Commander. The Chargers have signed RB Gus Edwards from the Baltimore Ravens. I’ve liked what I have seen from Edwards, and I believe he better fits into the type of offense that I believe Harbaugh wants to run. He’s probably a decent step up in the running game versus Ekeler, but I don’t expect him to be a prolific pass catcher, which again, hurts Herbert’s numbers. I would expect to see the Chargers draft a running back, as their backups are shaky, in my view.

WR: It wasn’t a surprise that the Chargers released the oft-injured WR Mike Williams. It was a surprise that they traded WR Keenan Allen to the Bears for a 4th round pick. Allen was coming off of his best season as a Charger, so it should be no surprise that he didn’t want to restructure his contract to take a pay cut. In my opinion, trading Allen was a mistake. While he’s on the wrong side of 30, Allen has become a Charlie Joiner-type of possession receiver with great hands, excellent elusiveness, still good speed, and a precise and dependable route-runner. In other words, I think he still has some good football left in him, and the style that he plays should allow him to remain relevant versus an oft-injured, field stretcher like WR Mike Williams. Regardless, he’s gone. At one point, I felt that the Chargers had a lot of depth at the wideout position, but that’s currently not true at all. As of this writing, the guy to fill Allen’s role is likely WR Josh Palmer, who has shown flashes, but doesn’t seem to have nearly the abilities of Allen. WR Quentin Johnston has a similar style to the departed WR Mike Williams, but while Johnston has shown flashes of excellence, he hasn’t yet proven himself or demonstrated consistency. I think the team has issues here and expect them to address these concerns with a high draft pick in the 2024 draft.

TE: Speaking of gone, TE Gerald Everett has left the team. The Bolts have signed former Seattle reserve TE Will Dissly and former Panthers’ TE Hayden Hearst. I don’t see significant improvement in this area, so it may well be an area of focus in the draft.

PK: The Chargers kicker will be PK Cameron Dicker, who is solid, so that’s one of the few positions where things are settled.

DEF: There have been several defensive moves including the resigning of DE Joey Bosa and DE Khalil Mack. Both are solid players, but at 33, Mack has a limited shelf life. Plus, Bosa is often injured. There are a number of other free agency moves, including the addition of CB Kristian Fulton, LB Denzel Perryman, LB Troy Dye, and DL Poona Ford, and the resigning of S Alohi Gilman. I could be wrong, but I don’t see the team getting much better at defense, if at all.


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