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Los Angeles Chargers Positional Review: Defensive Tackle

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NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Today we review the defensive tackles for the Chargers. I don’t have PFF rankings so you can feel free to share in the comments. Brandon Thorn of Bleacher Report did the grades for NFL1000. That’s where I’ll be pulling these quotes from. Think we can all agree that up the middle, the defensive tackles disappointed. Nobody expected them to be stars. At times, they weren’t even competent. Here’s what Thorn had to say about them. Thorn is really technical in his explanations. I’m not the biggest fan of talking football like that but some people enjoy it.

The Backups

94 out of 105. Not ideal, Tenny. With depth guys, you’d like at least 1 trait they possess that makes you confident in putting them on the field. Palepoi doesn’t really do anything to stand out. He’s just kind of “there.” Palepoi is a free agent and the Chargers can upgrade their depth and find someone who is either stout or an athletic pass rusher, or some sort of ceiling in his place.

Square is a good example of someone that has a skill he excels at. He’s very strong and when he plays low, he’s tough to move. Square gave the Chargers quality snaps as a backup. While he doesn’t provide much as a pass rusher, he’s a guy who can help you out at multiple positions.

Starters

He gone. If release, the Chargers eat $3 million in cap space but get out of paying Liuget over $9.5 million the next 3 years. In Gus Bradley’s defense, you have to be able to hold your own against the run while getting after the passer. There were plays this year where lineman eat Liuget up. That’s just 1-on-1. When it comes to double teams, forget about it. The double whammy was a 200-pound “linebacker” playing behind him, and that’s why the Chargers struggled to stop the run. I do agree that Liuget plays hard. He also has some nice flash plays. Neither of those is enough to warrant his contract.

I agree with his grade against the run. A lot of fans were down on Mebane this year. He did exactly what he always does. He anchors the middle of the defense and lets guys behind him run free to clean up. Every now and then he’ll beat a block and make a play. He’s a liability against the pass, but you try not to have Mebane on the field for that. It’ll be interesting to see if Mebane is a candidate to be released. We’ll see. I don’t believe he should be considering how long it takes for rookie defensive tackles to adjust to the game and his veteran presence in the locker room.

Really solid year for Philon. The team has done a good job of developing him and putting him in roles where he can succeed. He’s a quicker tackle that wins with just that, quickness. He stops the run on the way to the quarterback is the best way to describe him. I’m still not sure he’s a guy you want to rely on as a starter full-time, but as a backup, he’s a heck of a fit.

This might be the biggest area of improvement on the roster. The Chargers have to add more talent. There will be options in free agency we will go over at a later date. Also, the draft. As you can see, there is a void of talent at the defensive tackle position.