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The Chargers Remain Formidable in ESPN’s Post-FA Power Rankings

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I don’t know about you, but I’m reserving flights and buying champagne!

The first (and second) waves of Free Agency have come and gone, and the primary focus for each NFL team is the upcoming 2019 Draft. There are still a LOT of moves yet to be made, but the vast majority of impact signings and departing players have taken place.

The Chargers had a very successful 2018 season, and stood pat with as much of the roster as they could. There were both notable subtractions and additions, though it wasn’t an even balance:

Players added:

  • Tyrod Taylor QB Cleveland
  • Thomas Davis LB Carolina

Players lost:

  • Darius Philon DT Arizona
  • Tyrell Williams WR Oakland
  • Jason Verrett CB San Francisco

ESPN does its best to create offseason headlines by tabulating Power Rankings of the NFL teams, based on the strength of each team prior to the NFL draft. As you might expect, these rankings are based almost entirely on how each team ended the previous season, but weighed a bit differently based on their signings and losses.

They do a way-too-early ranking soon after the season ends, and then another ranking prior to the start of the draft.

2019 ESPN Pre-Draft Power Ranking:

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Los Angeles Rams

3. New England Patriots

4. Kansas City Chiefs

5. Los Angeles Chargers

2018 record: 12-4

Three-words-or-less description: Where’s the beef? The Chargers got pushed around up front on both sides of the ball in a disheartening AFC divisional playoff loss on the road against the Patriots last season. In order to improve this offseason, the Bolts still need to add talented players up front at defensive tackle and on the offensive line in the hopes of bettering their chances to make a Super Bowl run. -- Eric D. Williams

6. Chicago Bears

7. Indianapolis Colts

8. Philadelphia Eagles

9. Cleveland Browns

10. Dallas Cowboys

Well, that’s something! It appears that the fine folks at ESPN feel that the Chargers can and should remain a top-5 club, even though half of their additions are unlikely to see the field this year. That speaks well to the strength of the Chargers as a team well-positioned for several years of success.

However, it’s worth noting that these rankings don’t strongly correlate to in-season success. For instance, let’s take a look at the 2018 ranking to see how they thought the Chargers would do:

2018 ESPN Pre-Draft Power Ranking:

15. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 9-7

Way-too-early ranking: 16

It had been a relatively quiet offseason for the Chargers, but they recently swooped in to secure three-time Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey after he was released by the Dolphins. Los Angeles ranked 27th in average rushing yards before contact last season.

After 2017’s season, I suppose that rank was fair, but we could see a hint of what was to come in the second half of their inaugural LA season.

-Jason “Fear. The league is rank with it” Michaels