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Positions Where the Chargers Need to Get Younger: Defense

Let’s take a look at each position group and see where a youth movement needs to take place.

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at all of the active roster players for the Chargers and determine which positions need to get a little shot of youth this offseason.

NFL: Pro Bowl Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerbacks (Average age: 24.75)

Pro Bowlers Casey Hayward (27), and Jason Verrett (25), are the two stars of this position, followed by Trevor Williams (23), and Craig Mager (24) on the active roster, and Trovon Reed (26), Mike Lee (25), Randall Evans (25) not seeing any time. Trevor Williams played well despite being an undrafted rookie free agent and could see the bulk of snaps as the #3 CB. Following him is the increasingly disappointing (and borderline bust) Craig Mager. While the Chargers have two very good starters, Verrett is injury prone, and the guys behind him are not viable options to start (at least not yet, in Reed’s case). The Chargers have been named as a possible landing spot for Marshon Lattimore with their first round pick, but he only has one year of starting experience after redshirting his first season, and playing very little his second season with a lingering hamstring issue. With Jason Verrett nearing the end of his rookie contract, Lattimore may be a smart pickup, as he can learn behind two very good corners for one season while the Chargers determine what to do about Verrett, who has only played in 24 out of 48 games in his 3 seasons. Adoree Jackson out of USC could be a good pick (despite being a smaller corner) with their 2nd round pick, and Fabian Moreau could be a good pick in the middle of the 3rd round, as he was projected to go higher, but a torn Pectoral muscle at his pro day will force him down the board a bit.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Safety (Average age: 29)

Jahleel Addae (27) and Dwight Lowery (31) are very likely the Los Angeles Chargers “Dynamic” duo on the field for the 2017-18 season. They are followed by exciting (but young and raw) Dexter McCoil (25), “should only play special teams,” Darrell Stuckey (29), Adrian McDonald (23), and way too hyped for very little payoff Adrian Phillips (25). The Chargers just overpaid Addae, who doesn’t know that you probably shouldn’t leave your feet on every tackle (see above), and Lowery was pretty meh as the starting FS for the Chargers, so the Chargers may be looking at Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker with their 7th overall pick. They might also be looking at jack of all trades (but master of none) Jabrill Peppers. I refused to vomit while writing that. Either way, the Chargers are pretty weak at the safety position and better hope that Bosa and Ingram can get to the QB before they can see (insert name here) streaking past the “starting” safeties for the Chargers.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Inside Linebacker (Average age: 24.25)

Electric rookie, Jatavis Brown (23), who led the Chargers with 79 tackles despite only playing in 12 games looks to be the main starter in the middle. Denzel Perryman (24), who played well in his first season, played even a little better this season despite playing in only 12 games, ended with 72 combined tackles, and looks to be a thumper up the middle. Korey Toomer (28), a surprising diamond in the rough, after being cut by 4 teams in about as many years, was a pickup by the Chargers last offseason, before racking up 75 tackles and 3 FFs for the Chargers. headline the MLB position, followed by Joshua Perry (22) who was an old-school style 4th round pickup by the Chargers in last year’s draft from Ohio State. Nick Dzubnar (25), Carlos Fields (26), and Chris Landrum (24) are the backups.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Linebacker (Average age: 25.33)

For the outside linebacker positions, the Chargers field freshly franchise-tagged Melvin Ingram (27), Jeremiah Attaochu (24), and Kyle Emanuel (25). After 2 seasons where he only appeared in 13 games, grabbing 5 sacks, Melvin Ingram has accumulated 32 starts and 16.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He will demand way too much money to be signed long term by the Chargers after this season. For some reason this season, Emanuel was the starter on the other side (while picking up 58 tackles and .5 sacks, while Attaochu was the backup, grabbing only 2 sacks after a 6 sack season the season prior (where Emanuel had a whopping 1 sack). Maybe the hiring of Gus Johnson will be enough to get Attaochu out of the dog house and give the Chargers a viable starter outside of Ingram. Chris McCain (25) is a backup.

The Chargers should look to add another OLB to rush the passer (and potentially take over for Ingram when he inevitably asks for too much). A good player to look at would be TJ Watt, from Wisconsin with their 2nd pick, who excels in both the run and pass game. Last season, he recorded 63 tackles, along with 11.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

D-Line (Average age: 26.66)

Rookie sensation (winning Defensive rookie of the year), and instant star Joey Bosa (21) looks to lead this group along with Corey Liuget (27), and Brandon Mebane (32), who are the main guys on the line for next season. Darius Philon (23), Tenny Palepoi (26), Zamir Carlis (27), Caraun Reid (25), Ryan Carrethers (26), and Damion Square (28) will all play spot duty. Joey Bosa turned in a phenomenal rookie season, and recorded 10.5 sacks in only 12 games. Mebane turned out to be a good force in the middle before getting injured, and not much outside of Caraun Reid was exciting after them. Corey Liuget is expensive as hell, and not very good. A player like Malik McDowell who may be available in the 2nd round due to character concerns and lack of effort would be a player with huge upside and is Kyle Posey’s favorite player in the draft.