The San Diego Chargers have needs at such positions as Offensive Line, Cornerback and Wide Receiver, but it is the Defensive Line that is in most need of an upgrade.... and for one very important reason: There just isn't enough depth.
The bookends on the Chargers defensive line are manned by two of the more promising young players in the league.
Corey Liuget will be entering his 4th year for San Diego and has shown flashes of his potential that earned him a 1st rd selection in 2011. Durability is not an issue with #94, as he has played in 47 of his teams 48 regular season games in the past 3 years. 2012 seemed like he was on his way to becoming a star when he compiled 51 tackles with 7 sacks and 9 passes defensed. But in 2013, Liuget saw a minor drop-off in production, as the former Illinois standout finished the season with just 42 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Nonetheless, there's no doubt Liuget has found a home on the right side of the defense.
On the left side of the line is 3rd year player Kendall Reyes, who has established his place on the San Diego defense as well, with a solid 2013 campaign. Reyes became a full-time starter in 2013 and finished the season with 34 tackles and 5 sacks. In his rookie season, Reyes showed a knack for pressuring the quarterback, leading the team with 19 quarterback pressures and 15 quarterback hits. All this despite only starting 4 games.
The combo of Liuget and Reyes-who was a 2nd rd pick in 2012- gives the Chargers a very formidable presence to fill the B and C gaps. Both have the ability to rush the passer on passing plays. Depth, however, at the End positions is slim, with only 4th year Lawrence Guy listed as backups to both starters. Guy played in 10 games as a Charger recording 16 tackles, 9 of which were solo.
Once again, depth is of the utmost need here. But it is not the only position on the line. Perhaps the most important part of the 3-4 defense lies between Liuget and Reyes, at the nose tackle spot, where currently Sean Lissemore is expected to start. In four seasons,
Lissemore has started a total of 8 games including 2 in his first year with the Chargers in 2013. Also listed as a nose tackle is Kwame Geathers who enters his 2nd year as a pro. Geathers has the ideal size at 6'6 330 lbs to become the A gap answer, but time is not on the side of an undrafted player. The opportunity is there for Geathers to take it if he is able.
The loss of Cam Thomas in free agency is truly what left a void on this position. Even if some believe Thomas underachieved, he never shied away from the trench warfare. The San Diego defense has not had a dominant defender in the middle since Jamal Williams, which is at least 6 years ago since his prime. San Diego has tried but never really filled that position.
It may not be a sexy pick, but for a defense that is needing to improve at many levels, starting the draft with the best person available as the anchor of the defensive line, and building quality depth, is a must.