I've been looking at a lot of mock drafts and FA speculations for this team, and this is my long-winded wish list of what I expect (or want) to happen this offseason:
For NT, I want at least one mountain NT on the roster, so I think it's worth the Chargers' time to look into Terrance Cody, bring him in for a workout / physical and see if someone on the defensive, or conditioning / training staff has any ideas on how to shape him up to be a 2 down NT (in a rotation with Lissemore and perhaps Cam Thomas if we can resign him for cheap).
Also, look into Geathers/Jerideau to see if they can improve during OTAs and training camp and compete for a roster spot, plus draft a NT in the mid rounds to compete with the above guys. Perhaps McCullers (at the start of the season, pick the best of the "mountain-like" body-types: Cody, McCullers, Geathers). From the draft, I like Justin Ellis out of Louisiana Tech as a mid-rounds selection the best.
I wouldn't be upset if TT goes with Louis Nix out of Notre Dame in the draft. Going into the season, I want the Chargers to be sure that they got the best out of any possible options to go in the interior DL. Let's have Nix/Ellis/McCullers out of the draft compete with a cheapish FA like Cody, plus the guys we have in Lissemore (versatile guy who can sub in at NT or DE) and Cam Thomas, Geathers/Jerideau. Obviously, Liuget and Reyes are great where they are. I think they will continue to improve.
Ideally, the Chargers will go into training camp with Ellis/McCullers (4th or 5th round pick), T. Cody (cheap FA), Lissemore, Cam Thomas, Geathers/Jerideau. Lawrence Guy might be a better option than Geathers or Jerideau, depending on their prices and the team's cap space.
For CB, I would be happy if TT spends a little extra money on a big name like Grimes or Verner, even if this means cutting Cox. Since this doesn't seem very likely (if TT can be believed when he says he plans to try Cox for one more season), draft McGill, Desir, Jean-Baptiste, Aikens in rounds 3, 4, or 5. Drafting a first round CB like Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard, or Jason Verrett would be a smart move, but I'd be just as happy drafting an edge rusher in round 1, since there are good CB prospects later on.
The best way to help the defense is to generate consistent pass rush We saw how much better the D got with Ingram coming around the edge. Next year, with everyone healthy, SD should have Ingram, JJ, and Freeney as edge rushers. Perhaps Tourek Williams and Thomas Keiser will up their game and be better contributors off the bench. Regardless, I want the Chargers to bring in another body to add to this rotation. Keep the guys fresh so they can be relentless on every down.
One FA possibility is Orakpo, but he will be expensive, as will every other proven FA pass-rusher. This is why I want SD to draft a great OLB with their first draft pick: Barr/Mack if either fall (don't see it happening, but TT better jump on that opportunity if it happens), or Kyle Van Noy or Dee Ford. Bring in some long-term stability for the post Freeney/JJ era, have them learn from these two. Ford is a very exciting player, but I think Van Noy is the more complete player.
After FA and the draft, I want to see the D look like this:
DL: Liuget, Justin Ellis (4th round pick), Reyes as the starters, with Lissemore, Terrance Cody, Cam Thomas coming off the bench as needed.
OLB: Ingram/Freeney, Johnson/Van Noy (1st round pick), with either Keiser or Tourek Williams as the other guy off the bench
ILB: Butler and Te'o starting, with Gachkar, Bird, Walker off the bench. I sure hope Te'o improves considerably.
CB: Shareece Wright, Keith McGill (3rd round pick), with Steve Williams in the slot as the starters. To be honest, I don't know who should back them up, because I don't want to see Cox on the roster, and I think Marshall will not be resigned. Crezdon Butler? There probably needs to be 5 CBs on the roster total (not including Gilchrist).
Safety: Weddle and Addae starting, with Gilchrist subbing in as a Dime DB (or Nickel is S. Williams struggles). Plus Stuckey as our star special teamer, who can contribute on D as well.
Head count: 26 (including the 2 unnamed backup CBs)
Even though the Chargers offense was stellar, there is room for improvement. Continue to build the OL, get a young guy at RB and at WR, get a new FB (and have his salary reflect how often he plays). I don't know if Alexander or Floyd will return, but I hope that SD brings someone in to compete for a starting spot across from KA13. There needs to be a WR who can be a deep threat and stretch the field. Some big name FAs make sense on paper, like Hakeem Nicks or James Jones, but I would rather see TT draft one than spend a lot of money. Keep the youth movement going. I'm going to assume that one but not both of Alexander/Floyd will return in a Bolts uniform. I can't decide if I'd rather see the Chargers resign Rinehart or take a chance on Troutman as a starter, but I'm sure I don't want to see Clary and his big contract in SD anymore. SD should draft a solid OG in round 2. I think and hope Hardwick has one or two more years in him.
Guards I want SD to target in the draft: Yankey (Stanford), Gabe Jackson (Miss State), or Cyril Richardson (Baylor). Even with the question marks surrounding Richardson after his subpar Senior Bowl week, I like his physical characteristics and am curious to see how OL coach Joe D'Alessandris can work with him. Any of the 3 might be around for the Chargers' round 2 pick.
OL: Dunlap, Rinehart, Hardwick, Yankey/Jackson/Richardson, Fluker starting. Ohrnberger, Mike Harris, Troutman as backups
How to address Ronnie Brown's roster spot (I'm assuming he is not brought back)...in rounds 5-7, I want to see a good RB drafted from a deep class. A big guy for 3rd and short and goal line? Or a guy with some speed and versatility? I wish it will be De'Anthony Thomas because I want a KR and TT said he wants moar speed (if Thomas is around in round 5, take him!) I need to do more research on the possibilities, but as long as it is someone who can be effective as a sub for Mathews, I'm happy.
WR: Keenan Allen, Alexander / Floyd, Brown / Royal(?), Ajirotutu, plus a draft pick
I'm getting more and more confused as I write this. How do we address this...what will happen with Alexander/Floyd? Does SD keep Ajirotutu for special teams? Does V. Brown keep his roster spot even though he is clearly struggling? I want SD to draft a WR like Robert Herron (Wyoming) to play slot (do we keep Royal?) or Josh Huff (Oregon) as a speedster in round 5 or 6, and if neither Alexander nor Floyd stick around, this becomes a much bigger need.
TE: Gates, Green, plus an undrafted rookie or cheap FA to replace John Phillips as a blocking TE.
FB: ABM (anyone but McClain). Chris Coyle (Arizona State) as 7th round pick or UDFA?
QB: Rivers, Whitehurst (might as well since he's PR's buddy), Sorenson
Head count: 23 (with 5 WRs), 24 (with 6 WRs--one of which would be a KR/PR)
ST: Novak, Scifres, Windt
1. Kyle Van Noy (OLB, BYU)
2. Yankey, Richardson, or Jackson (OG from Stanford, Baylor, Miss State, respectively)
3. Keith McGill (CB, Utah) or Stan Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska), Pierre Desir (Lindenwood)
4. Justin Ellis (DT, Louisiana Tech) or D. McCullers (DT, Tennessee)
5. WR-- slot WR like Herron (Wyoming), or outside speedster like Josh Huff (Oregon), or other?
6. A solid 3rd RB--Sims (West Virgina), Williams (Boston College), Storm Johnson (Central Florida), Antonio Andrews (W. Kentucky), Fluellen (Toledo)
7. Not sure...I'll go with Chris Coyle (FB, ASU)
Congrats if you made it this far, this is a long read. I filled in the Chargers' needs primarily through the draft rather than FA. Comments and criticisms are welcome.
What should we do with WR? Draft a guy like Moncrief (Ole Miss) or Davante Adams (Fresno State) in round 3? Herron or Huff or other in the late rounds? Bring back our injured or inconsistent vets (Brown, Royal)?
Who are your favorite RBs, and when can SD draft them?
Do you want a 1st round CB and mid-round pass-rusher or NT, or a first round NT or pass-rusher, and mid-round CB?
I realize all of my moves may not add up, so feel free to make your edits in the comments section.