The Chargers are a very interesting team. Often misconstrued as a below average squad, Los Angeles scored 83 more points than they allowed in 2017, which was the best in the AFC West. They began the season 0-4, but three of those losses were by a field goal or less. With better placekicking from Los Angeles, especially early in the season, this not only could have been a playoff team, but also possibly could have even ended up with a first round bye.
This is a better team than most think and Los Angeles is not littered with a multitude of needs. The Chargers are about middle-of-the-pack with their available salary cap space and they don’t have much in the way of their free agents, with just Antonio Gates (who is unlikely to play for another team) and Tre Boston as the most notables.
The Chargers own the 17th pick in each round without extra picks throughout the draft and if they play their cards right in free agency, could be in a good position to draft their quarterback of the future if they so choose. They better add a proven kicker too – without a doubt. This is an organization that is in very good shape to improve going into 2018.
Below are a five relatively big name free agents. Because they don’t have a lot of needs, if Los Angeles could just land a couple, the Chargers would be in excellent shape going into the draft.
5. Star Lotulelei
Los Angeles features the best pair of edge players in the NFL in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Their interior guys are okay, but an upgrade would be big boost to this defense and the run defense overall isn’t where it needs to be. Where the Chargers sit in the first round, they might find a defensive tackle with a lot of upside to their liking. But with Brandon Mebane recently turning 33-years-old, Los Angeles might be in a great position to add a veteran of note and a high draft choice on their defensive interior.
Lotulelei isn’t a dominant pass-rusher or run defender, but this former first round pick’s talent is obvious. He isn’t coming off his best season in Carolina and the Panthers used their first round pick in 2016 on Vernon Butler in preparation for Lotulelei’s departure. Lotulelei is far from a sure thing though, as his play in both facets has really dropped off over his time in the NFL.
Los Angeles might be smart to take a risk on him as well as adding an attacking defensive tackle in the draft. Lotulelei’s tape of late implies that he shouldn’t be overly expensive. In fact, he might be an ideal candidate for a one-year prove-it deal.