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A Ridiculously Early 2016 San Diego Chargers Depth Chart

Heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, where are the remaining weaknesses on the San Diego Chargers roster?

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett and LB Melvin Ingram Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers may not be done in free agency. They could sign someone today! However, it kind of appears that they are mostly done in free agency.

From a roster-building perspective, what remains is the 2016 NFL Draft and undrafted free agent signings, although those guys should not be expected to make the team.

I thought, as a way to prepare for the draft, we'd go position-by-position of the current Chargers' depth chart (as assumed by me) to get a better idea of what the roster looks like and where the weaknesses remain.


  1. Philip Rivers
  2. Kellen Clemens

By now, you should know that I hate Kellen Clemens (the player, not the person). I think he's a below-average QB and undeserving of the backup QB spot. Hopefully, we never have to worry ourselves with him.

Running Back

  1. Melvin Gordon
  2. Danny Woodhead
  3. Branden Oliver
  4. Dreamius Smith

Really no reason to expect that this group, which is different from the 2015 group only in that Donald Brown was released, will be much different than they were last year. Hopefully, improved play and stability from the offensive line can improve the output of the rushing attack.

Wide Receiver

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Travis Benjamin
  3. Stevie Johnson
  4. Dontrelle Inman
  5. Tyrell Williams
  6. Javontee Herndon

Benjamin is probably an improvement over the retiring Malcom Floyd, but otherwise this group is the same. I like this group a lot more than some other people do.

Tight End

  1. Antonio Gates
  2. Sean McGrath
  3. Asante Cleveland

Uhhhh, yeah. The front office needs to address this.

Ladarius Green will be missed. David Johnson likely won't be, but expect the team to search for a Fullback to replace him. John Phillips is still around if the team can't find a better #2 option.

Left Tackle

  1. King Dunlap
  2. Chris Hairston

Sure, that's fine. I'm happier with this group after learning that Dunlap restructured his contract with the Chargers.

Left Guard

  1. Orlando Franklin
  2. Kenny Wiggins

I'd rather someone better than Wiggins, but you can't have talent everywhere. Franklin should bounced back from a down year.


  1. Trevor Robinson
  2. Chris Watt

Put these two in whatever order you want, it doesn't much matter. Neither should really be starting, both are adequate backups. Choose whichever can play both Center and Guard best and jettison the other.

Right Guard

  1. D.J. Fluker
  2. Kenny Wiggins

I love Fluker at the Guard position. I think he's much better suited to play there than he is at Right Tackle. He had some issues with health last year, and was learning a new position, but should be expected to play very well in 2016.

Right Tackle

  1. Joe Barksdale
  2. Chris Hairston

Barksdale is as steady as a rock at Right Tackle, which is why the Chargers rewarded him with a long-term contract this offseason. We shouldn't have to worry about this position at all.

Right Defensive End

  1. Corey Liuget
  2. Tenny Palepoi
  3. Sean Lissemore

Some guesswork here. Liget's not even listed as a DE on the team's roster for some weird contractual reason, I'm sure.

Nose Tackle

  1. Brandon Mebane
  2. Ryan Carrethers
  3. Damion Square

What? Don't look at me that way. That's what the depth chart should be, so that's what I'm saying it will be. I don't hate this group.

Left Defensive End

  1. Sean Lissemore
  2. Darius Philon
  3. Tenny Palepoi

Whatever. Some mix of these guys. I liked what I saw from Philon last season.

I can see the argument being made that the Chargers need to use an early-ish draft pick on a DE for this spot, but I won't be in tears if they stick with these guys.

Weak-side Outside Linebacker

  1. Jerry Attaochu
  2. Kyle Emanuel
  3. Cordarro Law

Solid group, assuming Emanuel can fill out a little more and Attaochu can make another positive step.

Inside Linebacker (Mike)

  1. Manti Te'o
  2. Nick Dzubnar

Yikes. The Chargers need to find a backup for the oft-injured Te'o at this critical position on the defense.

Inside Linebacker (Sam)

  1. Denzel Perryman
  2. Nick Dzubnar

Yeah, so....

After using 2nd Round draft picks on Linebackers in each of his first three NFL Drafts as the Chargers' GM, Tom Telesco may need to do that same thing again. The Inside Linebacker position is terrifyingly thin.

(That being said, Inside Linebackers are a dime a dozen and you should definitely not use a 2nd round draft pick on a backup Inside Linebacker.)

Strong-side Outside Linebacker

  1. Melvin Ingram
  2. Tourek Williams

Williams had the best preseason of his career last season, and then broke his leg and never made it on to the roster for a regular season match.

This is a good group, but both of these guys have shaky injury histories. The Chargers might just have to hope they get lucky here, with so many other holes to fill on the roster.


  1. Jason Verrett
  2. Brandon Flowers
  3. Casey Heyward
  4. Steve Williams
  5. Craig Mager

This group is good. Your stance on Flowers probably depends on if you thought he was injured last season or not. Either way, Heyward provides great depth and insurance.

Free Safety

  1. Dwight Lowery
  2. Darrell Stuckey
  3. Adrian Phillips

Lowery is not Eric Weddle, but the team might not need him to be. The team doesn't need 3 Free Safeties, so don't count on them drafting one early (and don't count on Phillips to make the team).

Strong Safety

  1. Jahleel Addae
  2. Adrian Phillips?

If I were handing out grades to each of these positions, all the way through the roster, there's probably only two positions I would put as "below average". This one and the Center position.

The fact that the team has a shaky starter here, and no real backup to speak of, should tell you that they're preparing to add another Strong Safety to the roster.

Long Snapper

  1. Mike Windt

Sure, okay.


  1. Josh Lambo


  1. Mike Scifres

Two big questions this offseason for the Chargers' front office: Will Scifres retire? And, if not, should the Chargers cut him?

The answers are "maybe" and "probably, yes". Either way, punters aren't hard to find, and Scifres was terrible last season. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a cheap replacement that can do as well or better.