A few days ago, Sports Illustrated ranked the top 10 players on the Chargers. With a caveat of not counting the QB. 5 writers were polled. To let you know how absurd this list is, 6 people voted for Kenny Wiggins. I get that the Chargers lack talent but come on. Here is their top 10.
1. RB Melvin Gordon (40 points)
2. DE Joey Bosa (39)
3. OT Russell Okung (37)
4. WR Keenan Allen (32)
5. DE Melvin Ingram (26)
6. CB Jason Verrett (23)
7. WR Mike Williams (13)
8. CB Casey Hayward (11)
9. TE Antonio Gates (nine)
10. LB Denzel Perryman (eight)
Here's how the points worked. "Those players then were given points consistent with their positioning—a first-place vote was worth 10 points, second-place was worth nine and so on. "
If we're going on how they performed last season and are expecting a similar performance this year, it's hard to imagine a list where Casey Hayward isn't in the top 4. Corner is one of the most fickle positions when it comes to charting. But Hayward showed that he can be a star last year. He was one of the 10 best players at his position. He's certainly one of the 4-5 best players on the team. Take into account the position and what he was asked to do last year, it's a no-brainer.
I like Okung quite a bit and think he's one of the 15 best left tackles in the NFL. I just think we and the media, in general, overrate the impact a left tackle can have. If Okung is healthy and serviceable, that's all they need. Will he be one of the 3 most important players on the Chargers? I don't think so. Let's put it like this if Okung goes down the Chargers can shuffle around players to the point where they can still be productive. The same can't be said for Hayward, Bosa, or Gordon.
Speaking of Gordon, I wouldn't put him first. He's far and away the most dynamic running back on the team. He played very well last year and ran incredibly hard. He ran like one of the 10 best backs in the league, which is a great sign. Consistency, health, and position hurt him here, though.
Here's how I would rank them:
7) Brandon Mebane
9) Jatavis Brown
My train of thought: Bosa makes the defense go. Allen makes the offense go. Bosa and Ingram play premier positions, Bosa was better last year and that's not changing anytime soon. Ingram is still quite valuable and the depth behind each is lacking. There's a good amount of depth behind Allen but he is still on another level from the next best receiver, who is likely a rookie.
Gordon and Verrett are skilled yet oft injured. Mebane didn't even get a vote. He was one of the best players at his position before being injured. Not getting any love was surprising unless they flat out forgot about him.
There's a linebacker on the list but it isn't Perryman. I don't know if many will agree but I think Brown has more value than Perryman. I'm not saying a player like Toomer is as good as Perryman but he can step in and give similar production. You can't replace what Brown can do. I don't believe off-ball linebackers are all that valuable, to begin with, for what it's worth.
With the depth on the interior offensive line that's why you don't see a center or guard. There are 5 players that the team is comfortable with at 3 spots.
What do you think of SI's list? How would you rate the 10 most important Chargers?