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What Free Agent Targets Remain for the San Diego Chargers?

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After the first round of free agents have been signed, Kyle Posey looks at what left and figures out which guys the San Diego Chargers should be targeting.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Today the San Diego Chargers replaced one veteran receiver in Eddie Royal with another in Stevie Johnson, as he signed a 3 year deal with the team. We will breakdown what Johnson brings to the team tomorrow...

What the signing does do is knock one need off of the team's list. There's still a handful of holes that need to be addressed as free agency continues and as we get closer to the draft.

Offensive Lineman

Whether it's center, right guard, or offensive tackle...

Tom Telesco says Johnnie Troutman is the starter at right guard, but I'll believe it when I see it. While I believe he's fine at tackle, I'm also going to run with the rumor that D.J. Fluker is moving inside to guard. That leaves right tackle, which is a position that can be filled in the first 3 rounds of the draft. The tackle class is that deep. If the team were to choose the best free agent available, that honor goes to former St. Louis Ram Joe Barksdale. Barksdale is a good athlete that can get movement in the run game and doesn't have the same issues with speed around the edge as Fluker. The Rams were 4th in adjusted line yards when they ran to the right end.

Barksdale gave up 7 sacks this year, but I'd say half of those were a result of his QB having poor awareness. The players he struggled against were the players every lineman in the league does. At 26, Barksdale is still improving and would give the Chargers one of the best run blocking lines in the league. What a change from a year ago.

My guess is we see the Chargers draft a right tackle before the 3rd round instead of signing a free agent to fill this hole.

Interior defensive line

This is a position I'm surprised we haven't seen upgraded yet. I thought there were some players who would be good bargains that could come in and upgrade the run defense with Tyrunn Walker who signed with the Lions for 1 year and $1.75 million, or the pass rush with Stephen Paea, who is 26 and signed with Washington for 4 years and $21 million.

If you want one of the better interior lineman in the draft you're going to have to invest in one with either of your first two picks, and in this draft, that's not a wise move, in my opinion.

Many fans want an upgrade at nose tackle and that can happen by signing Kenrick Ellis, formerly of the Jets. It's hard to crack that talented defensive front, but when Ellis played, he played at a high level. At 6'5, 330 pounds, he's not going to give you more than 20 snaps per gamem but what he will do is plug up the middle and finish the play himself. Signing Ellis would allow Sean Lissemore to play more defensive end as well. This is a move that makes sense and helps the entire depth chart. Ellis is only 27 years old and averages a "defensive stop" once every 16 snaps in the past 2 years. To put that into perspective Corey Liuget averages a stop once every 31 plays. Ellis would be an upgrade and a cheap investment.

Edge Rusher

How comfortable do you feel going into next year with Jerry Attaochu and Melvin Ingram as not only your only reliable pass rushers? Not to mention, both missed a lot of time last year and neither can replace what Jarret Johnson gave the team against the run. I think signs are pointing more and more that that's where the 1st round pick is going to go for Telesco.

History has shown that the best pass rushers are taken in the 1st round, with obvious outliers. Even if the team were to invest highly again in another pass rusher, you still need someone on the strong side to stop the run. There are two options that come to mind. One is hope that the 49ers cut Ahmad Brooks, who has a high cap hit the next 2 years, and sign him. The other is sign free agent Sam Acho, from the Cardinals.

Acho doesn't bring much to the table as a pass rusher, most of his pressure last year came from stunts, but he is very good against the run and has shown that he is comfortable in coverage when asked to drop. That's a name that should be on the Chargers radar to bring in.

Before today the Chargers had around $19 million to spend.

What do you address in the draft?

With 6 picks, assuming that there is a strong side outside linebacker brought in to replace Johnson, and an interior defensive lineman added for depth, I don't think the Chargers are handcuffed to what they need to do. They can take the best pass rusher available in the 1st round, then take the 3 best offensive players in the next 3 rounds. I believe replacing Andrew Gachkar and getting more competition at defensive back can be found later on in the draft. Let's look at a possible scenario.

  • First Round: Owa Odigizuwa-Pass rusher from UCLA that is uber talented
  • Second Round: Jake Fisher-Offensive tackle from Oregon who has a chance to be the best tackle in the draft
  • Third Round: Duke Johnson-An every down RB from Miami who could be the next Frank Gore
  • Fourth Round: Darren Waller-Another freak athlete receiver from Georgia Tech. He's 6'6, ran a 4.46, and his best football is ahead of him. He's coming off an injury so he should slide in the draft.
  • Fifth Round: Ben Heeney-An inside linebacker from Kansas would had a nice combine and would fill in right away on special teams.
  • Sixth Round: Kyshoen Jarrett-He's a safety that can give Addae a run for his money a starter. Can play in the box or deep and has better range than Addae. Jarret can also run with slot receviers and has very good change of direction.

Obviously, we can come up with thousands of different outcomes. With this one you solidified your depth at outside linebacker by adding one of the most explosive pass rushers. You take a "safe" tackle who also has plenty of upside. You add two playmakers to the offense with home run ability, and you add two guys on defense that help your special teams right away but might end up playing on defense.

Who are some free agents out there that you would like the Chargers to sign? How has free agency impacted the draft for you?