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Los Angeles Chargers Positional Review: Linebackers

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing reviewing the Chargers from the season, today we are talking linebackers. This is another area of obvious need for the team. I’m going to guess that this will be a priority during the off-season to upgrade. Let’s get right into it. Starting with the worst graded inside linebacker.

On plays where he made contact, Pullard missed a tackle 26% of the time. Not much needs to be said outside of that. If you want to keep going, his awareness in coverage is severely lacking. Two of the most important traits in today’s game is where Pullard struggles the most. He should not be on the field. At least if your end game is to get to the playoffs and make some noise.

That’s not a bad description. He’s a bit inconsistent, but I do like his aggression. Toomer also struggled in the tackling department, missing 20% of his opportunities. Toomer is an ideal backup and guy you can throw out there on special teams. Solid depth player.

One of my favorite players on the team. The “mental processing” part is why he didn’t see the field according to Gus Bradley. Though he’s a high-end athlete, he didn’t play fast enough. I hate that the team has all but given up on him. He’s too talented. Yet, here we are. Here’s to hoping he can speed up his reads in the off-season and earn his starting spot back.

That pretty much sums up the impact Denzel Perryman has with this team. The team moved Perryman to the weak-side and though he improved I think the rest of the defense took a step back. Perryman covered up a lot of mistakes from the defensive line and whoever was playing next to him. When he moved it required someone else to be the thumper and that person to get around blocks in the event a defensive tackle didn’t do their job. To Perryman’s credit, he was so much better in underneath coverage than the year prior. Still, for the benefit of the team, he should go back to the middle. It’ll be interesting to see if the team is counting on him for a full season or treats him like Mike Williams/Keenan Allen from a year ago.

Outside Linebackers

I like Emanuel for what he is. He does so much against the run. In Bradley’s defense his position is at a pretty big disadvantage in coverage and he got exposed a handful of times this year. The team could stand to get more athlete here but you don’t want to lose Emanuel’s impact on run downs.

I’d guess that you see the team sign a linebacker and draft one fairly early. Get some consistency and continuity going. There will be some interesting options the team will have to choose from both in free agency and in the draft. We’ll review them as we get closer to free agency.