There are only eight Sundays left without football until the 2017 NFL season officially gets underway. Chargers football is right around the corner, and it’s about time to get excited about some of the players that will don the lightning bolt during the upcoming campaign. The first two players are somewhat obvious, and chances are you’re probably already pretty pumped about them. The other three are guys who have been flying a little under the radar but are well worth your enthusiasm. Now without further ado, let’s get to it.
Keenan Allen -WR
We’re all happy that the Chargers will be getting Keenan Allen back this year, but are you really excited? I mean are you REALLY excited? You should be. Keenan Allen is the player that takes this offense to next level. When Keenan is on, there is almost no corner in the league that can hang with him one on one. He demands attention from multiple defenders, which will leave the likes of Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, and rookie Mike Williams in some exploitable one on one matchups. This Chargers offense is going to be incredibly potent, and #13 is going to play a large part in their success.
Forrest Lamp - OL
It’s easy to get excited about rookies, but you should be really pumped up about 2nd round pick Forrest Lamp. It’s no secret that Philip Rivers has taken an absolute beating over the course of his career. For most of his 11 seasons as a starting QB, Rivers protection has been average to below average. Lamp is a player that has the potential to change all of that. The rookie out of Western Kentucky was Pro Football Focus’ top linemen in this past draft class, and for good reason. During his last three collegiate season, Lamp only surrendered 31 pressures on 1,620 snaps. That is incredible production and his presence should make for a much cleaner pocket for El Capitan in 2017. Lamp also knows how to handle business in the running game, routinely getting to the second level to spring huge gains. With the emergence of Melvin Gordon, the Chargers will get plenty of use out of Lamp’s run blocking ability and make the Chargers offense that much more dangerous. (Authors Note: Nobody is more fired up about Lamp than Philip Rivers.)
Tre Boston - S
The Chargers safety group was a disaster last season. Jahleel Addae showed some improvements in his game, but he was unavailable due to injury for a majority of the season. That left veteran free agent acquisition Dwight Lowery and some very raw and inexperienced DB’s to man the back end of the defense. Luckily, the Chargers front office noticed the holes at safety and brought in former Carolina Panther Tre Boston. Boston is a solid young player entering his fourth season, and in my opinion is still getting better. He earned a grade of 78.1 from Pro Football Focus last season, allowing a passer rating of 35.7 when targeted, good for best in the league among safeties (again according to PFF). That alone should get everyone on the Boston hype train, but he's also a capable run defender who doesn't shy away from contact. The Chargers defense will be improved with Tre Boston at safety.
Caraun Reid - DL
You may remember Reid as the lineman who returned an Andrew Luck fumble for a touchdown in the Chargers game against the Indianapolis Colts last season. He suffered a torn ACL against the Atlanta Falcons a few weeks later, but before that he was a solid contributor along the Chargers defensive line, notching a sack and applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks. The Bolts could end up having one of the leagues top defensive lines this season, and Reid will be a part of that. Working with the likes of Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Brandon Mebane, Reid will have opportunities get after the QB and make his presence felt. He’ll most likely start out as a rotational player, but if someone like Corey Liuget continues to struggle, don't be surprised when Reid is on the field more often and taking full advantage.
Donavon Clark - OL
Remember Donavon Clark? It’s okay, I won’t judge you if you don’t (okay, maybe a little bit). He was the standout offensive lineman for the Chargers last preseason before injuring his knee in the second exhibition game. Clark was may have been able to push for starting snaps last season had he not gotten hurt. Even with the new additions to the offensive line, there is no reason that he cannot once again push for time in the starting lineup. Even if Clark doesn't crack the starting five, he would still provide a solid backup option. And given how often the Chargers have been forced to dip into their reserves to find offensive linemen, having a quality option at the ready should be enough to be excited about.
Who are some players you’re excited to watch this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments section down below.