Pro Football Focus spent the past week releasing its’ Top 101 Players of 2018 and the Chargers landed a five players on the list, four of them within the top 35 and three of the five making their first appearance on the list.
After the spectacular 2018 season in which the team posted a 12-4 record and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs, it’s only right that the Bolts were well-represented.
Without further ado, here are those players, starting out with the team’s highest-ranked player, a second-year cornerback with a knack for making plays when he the team needed them the most.
28.) CB Desmond King
It took only two years for King to find his way onto this list and supplant himself into a number of “best in the league” conversations. The former-fifth round pick tied for the team-lead in interceptions with three and was fifth on the team in total tackles with 62. King played a huge role in keeping the Chargers’ secondary intimidating during a year that saw interceptions and big take a dip from the last two years. His interception against the Seahawks was a game-sealer and set the tone for the rest of the season. It was a statement that said “we finally turned the corner and know how to finish the games we need to.”
32.) S Derwin James
There are plenty of people who will fight and claw until the very end that James should have won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award over the Colts’ Darius Leonard. He led the team in tackles (105), tied for the lead in interceptions (3), tied for fifth in sacks (3.5, also tied rookie DB record), posted 19 total pressures (2nd in the league), and played just about every position on the defense besides defensive tackle. PFF, however, loved James so much that they actually made him their Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Rightfully deserved, in my humble opinion.
33.) WR Keenan Allen
If you look at the numbers only, you may have thought Allen had himself some minor regression. In fact, I’d say he had a good of a season as ever when you take in the fact that Mike Williams was a legitimate threat to his target share in his breakout season. Allen stilled doubled the number of catches of the next closest receiver (43, M.Williams), and fell just four yards short of 1,200 yards receiving.
"It doesn’t matter where you put him, he’s a problem. He’s one of the best receivers in the league."— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) February 9, 2019
34.) QB Philip Rivers
Old Man Rivers took everyone by surprise in 2018 by having a career-year at the age of 37. His 105.5 QB rating tied his 2013 season for the highest in his career after he threw for 32 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. He didn’t end the year as well as fans would have liked as he threw six of those 12 interceptions in the final three games of the regular season. As the team moves forward, it’ll be interesting to see if Rivers continues his resurgence behind the numerous youngsters that now share the locker room with him.
Highest Regular season #Chargers offense grades. Will be coming out with position rankings and info in the next few days!— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) February 9, 2019
1. Philip Rivers - 90.8
2. Keenan Allen - 90.3
3. Melvin Gordon III - 86.2
4. Austin Ekeler - 85.1
5. Mike Williams - 81.8
62.) RB Melvin Gordon
If Gordon were to have stayed healthy, he was well on his way to recording the best season of his career, rushing and receiving. At one point during the season, Gordon tied a record, set by former Chiefs running back Jaamal Charles, when he compiled 150 yards from scrimmage in five-straight games. The fourth-year pro was also second on the team in catches with 50 and totaled 1,375 total yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns in just 12 games. His 16-game pace would have put him at 1,180 rushing yards, 653 receiving yards, and almost 19 total touchdowns.