So earlier we laid the ground rules and went over 3 surprises on offense. The defense might be a bit easier. Mainly because, in my opinion, there's more established talent. So guys can ride the coattails of the better players. If this unit can remain healthy, they have a chance to be quite good. Healthy and the Chargers are just not something that happens so that's a bit of a pipe dream on my part.
Here are 3 potential surprises on defense.
As a Chargers fan, Brown was my favorite player to watch last year. So there's some clear bias here. I was at Lucas Oil Stadium when he was all over the field. It was one of the best performances I'd seen at that position from a rookie in ages.
Keeping it as objective as I can, playing on the weak-side of a Gus Bradley defense usually means all of the tackles. K.J. Wright of Seattle is a speedster and has racked no less than 107 tackles the last 3 years. Now I'm not saying Brown is on that level as a pure football player but he's certainly as athletically gifted. We know what type of playmaker Brown is already. If he can stay healthy the tackles are bound to happen as he's a perfect fit for this defense.
When Addae is at his best he's in the box making big hits(there's a joke here) and playing good underneath zone defense. He's maddeningly inconsistent however and just can't stay healthy. If he's healthy, that'd be a surprise in its own. The good news for Addae is in this defense he'll primarily be playing in the box and not having to play man to man or deep coverage. The safety position isn't good in general in the NFL. This is more about him cleaning up tackles. Longest shot of anybody you'll read, but there were times he flashed some ability late last year.
It's incredibly hard to play next to Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram and not have the quarterback at least trip in front of you to get a sack. It would be so Chargers for Liuget to have a good year and him have to play his contract out.
The good news is you will see Liuget in the position that made him a 1st round pick in the 1st place. He was never a 3-4 end. Getting him isolated in as many 1-on-1 situations should help. Against the run, he had games where he looked like the player we all thought he could be. He'll have to be better as a pass rusher but Liuget was the player I was thinking of when I mentioned "riding their coattails." We've seen the talent. Not nearly enough. Liuget is capable of bouncing back.
If you had to pick, who are your defensive surprises?