Football Outsiders' Scott Kacsmar published his annual ranking of all 32 teams' young (under-25) talent. The San Diego Chargers have fallen rather hard from last season's 11th overall ranking and now find themselves ranked just outside the bottom 10 at 22nd. I find the drop in ranking to be rather curious given the influx of talent from this year's draft. But here's what Kacsmar had to say about the Chargers young players:
Before a kidney injury ended his season, Keenan Allen was on pace for 134 receptions. He could have a huge 2016, especially if the running game remains stalled with Melvin Gordon, who ranked next-to-last in DVOA as a rookie. All four San Diego backs averaged fewer than 4.0 yards per carry last season, so the blocking was definitely an issue, but Gordon scoring zero touchdowns on 217 touches was shocking.
Two linebackers to keep an eye on: Jeremiah Attaochu, who compiled 21.5 hurries in 2015, and Denzel Perryman, a former second-rounder. Perryman lived up to his reputation as a tackler last season, making 41 stops on just 386 snaps. For reference, Manti Te'o had 47 stops on 710 snaps last season.
It seems that even with the addition of Joey Bosa, Hunter Henry, Joshua Perry, and Jatavis Brown, the Chargers under-25 talent is still significantly weaker thanks to Jason Verrett turning 25 in June. Also, the fact that Gordon has gone from a guy people thought could challenge for Rookie of the Year to a guy that only missed setting a record for most touches to start a career without a touchdown because he suffered an injury that required microfracture surgery can't possibly help matters.
Still, you'd think that the breakout performances of Allen and Perryman would carry them somewhat. As with any article that attempts to analyze all 32 NFL teams, you have to suspect the analysis to be shallow in nature because the author cannot possibly have in-depth knowledge of the entire league. One player in particular that I suspect (hope?) will be considered a notable omission after the season is Brown. The Chargers' 5th round pick has already flashed impressive athleticism and talent through only three days of practice and he should force his way on the field more and more,
What do you think about Kacsmar's rankings? Are the Chargers too low? Too high?