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Why Chargers Must Continue to Build Defense in the First Round of the 2017 NFL Draft

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The science behind building a championship team is simple, and it starts on defense.

NFL: 2016 NFL Draft Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Idea behind building a championship team is simple in principle, build an all-around excellent team that fields one of the league’s top offenses and top defenses. However, the reality is that this concept is easier to lay out on paper than it is to put to practical use. It can be done, and it has been done, but it takes the right circumstances and a number of controllable as well as uncontrollable factors to work in a team’s favor in order for it to produce such a product.

Though building a roster comprising a high caliber offense and defense always remains the ultimate goal, the fact that it is so difficult to achieve on even a moderately consistent basis has led to many teams/coaches adopting one of two different philosophies that they believe better their chances of hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season. Those two philosophies are:

1. Having a superpower offense that can outscore any opponent and a defense just good enough to close out the game

Or

2. Fielding a suffocating defense that can shut down an opposing offense while allowing their own well-enough offense to put up numbers just sufficient to secure a victory

Often the proponents of each of these ideologies are very adamant about them and are willing to put their reputations on the line to defend their beliefs. So, the question then is which of these schools of thought has led to more success for those who employ them? Looking back on history, it seems to be very clear which is the superior philosophy. Building a ferocious defense is ultimately the best path to take toward a championship. Taking a look at the past 21 Super Bowls we can see this pretty clearly illustrated. Those past matchups have seen teams with higher ranked offenses taking on higher ranked defenses as well as matchups where one team has had both a higher ranked offense and defense. These are the rough numbers that go along with the results of the games:

Higher Ranked Offense: 4 wins (19%)

Higher Ranked Defense: 10 wins (47.6%)

Higher Ranked Offense and Defense: 3 wins (14.3%)

Lower Ranked Offense and Defense: 4 wins (19%)

Those numbers certainly look supportive of employing a defensively based team. And if we were to take just the games where a team with a superior offense faced a team with a superior defense, the defensively endowed team was the victor in over 71% of those games. Building a great defense is what gives a team the best chance to bring a championship to their city. The Chargers themselves have a very solid defensive core with many immensely talented young players. Holding the 7th pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft, they have a prime opportunity to take what could be a good defense and help transform it into something that could be incredibly special.

I’m not going to get into what specific position the bolts should target at the moment, but it’s obvious to me at this point that the pick needs to be made with the defense in mind. I know the Chargers are in need of offensive linemen, and I know a receiver like Corey Davis is a very enticing prospect, but the team has to take this opportunity to continue the process of building a championship caliber defense because that’s what gives them the best chance to win.

Do you agree that the Chargers should use their first-round pick on defense? Do you think the pick would be better used on offense? Let us know in the comments section below.