Off the top of my head, I count about eight weaknesses that the San Diego Chargers' front office needed to address this offseason via free agency or the 2016 NFL Draft if the team was to compete in the upcoming NFL regular season.
Here they are broken into two groups...
Replacing Someone Who Left
- Starting Tight End (to replace Antonio Gates)
- Starting Wide Receiver (to replace Malcom Floyd)
- Starting Free Safety (to replace Eric Weddle)
- Starting Nickel CB (to replace Patrick Robinson)
- Backup Tight End (to replace Ladarius Green)
To fill those holes, the team re-signed Antonio Gates and then signed free agents Travis Benjamin, Dwight Lowery, Travis Benjamin (who will apparently also be the team's kick returner?), Casey Heyward and Jeff Cumberland.
- Starting Strong Safety
- Starting Center
- Starting Nose Tackle
To fill those holes, the team signed Brandon Mebane and.....
That's about it.
Now, if the team can draft a suitable Strong Safety, they can immediately improve that position. If they can draft a suitable Center, they can immediately improve that position.
However, a quick review of previous drafts says that the chance they find an above-average first-year starter at each position with only one pick per round is slim-to-none.
Names to Remember
The Cleveland Browns releasing Donte Whitner a few days ago was a sign that they may be targeting Jalen Ramsey with their #2 overall selection.
Cody Whitehair seems like a Chargers kind of guy, and potentially someone who could come in and be the team's Center of the future, and would probably be available in the 2nd round.
That leaves the question of what the Chargers do with the #3 overall selection. Well, if Ramsey is off the board, that leaves the team with a bunch of different "upgrade" options such as Joey Bosa, Laremy Tunsil, Myles Jack, and DeForest Buckner.
I think Ramsey is the type of player that can make a draft class look great on his own. Without him, the Chargers will need to hit on their top 2-3 picks this year for the rookies to catapult this team into the playoffs.