When determining a player's value, the most simple way to do so is to ask: "How much would it hurt the team if the player was lost for the season?" So, that is how this list is compiled. Each player is valuable for different reasons, and here is why Ladarius Green is the ninth most valuable player on the San Diego Chargers roster this season:
It's not often that a team's backup Tight End makes the list of the 10 most valuable players on the roster, and it's even more rare that the player is on that list for his pass catching abilities. There are two main factors that put Green this high, one good and one bad:
The good part is that Ladarius is a matchup nightmare. The old cliche, that he's too big for DBs and too fast for LBs, defines him perfectly. Sometimes, he's even too fast for the DBs that underestimate the speed of a TE. This is the type of guy you build your offensive gameplan around.
The bad part is that Green is on this list because of the team's lack of real depth at the WR position. Unless you feel comfortable with Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown as your #2 WR, you'll be looking for the Chargers to run a lot of 1-2-2 personnel sets on offense (1 WR, 2 TEs, 2 RBs).
The team doesn't exactly need Green to put up the numbers of a normal #2 WR, but they'll need him to have that same kind of effect on a defense to keep Keenan Allen from being double or triple-teamed on every play.
There's also good news and bad news when it comes to using more 1-2-2- personnel groupings.
The good news is that Green is a very good run-blocker, when asked to do it. He's likely a much better run-blocker than Malcom Floyd or Vincent Brown. Any time you can add another solid run-blocker to your offense while improving your receiving corps, you're going to cause trouble for the defense.
The bad news is that Green likely won't lineup on the outside very often. This means that the defense will be less spread out horizontally on the field, which means there will be more bodies for the team's RB to run through unless they can find a way to get outside without much in the way out outside blockers.
Used correctly, having Green on the field improves San Diego's passing offense and rushing offense, but they likely can't rely on him to play starter snaps and he could actually hurt the team if they use him the wrong way. Still, without him the offense is basically Keenan Allen and the run game, which makes him pretty darn valuable for this upcoming season.