To be honest, I don’t recall the last time the Chargers’ defensive line wasn’t considered one of, if not, the top position group on the Chargers. Melvin Ingram has been with the team forever and it feels like Joey has as well, even though he was drafted four years after Ingram.
It’s because of this dynamic duo that the Chargers defensive lines are consistently ranked among the top units in the NFL. Most recently, Pro Football Focus pegged them as the ninth-best unit, falling just one spot behind Aaron Donald and the Rams. Author Sam Monson believes the defense is one again primed to be an intimidating group, especially with the addition of nose tackle Linval Joseph set to gobble up blockers between them.
“The Los Angeles Chargers still have one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They combined for 119 total pressures last season in what was a relatively down year for Ingram. The interior of the Chargers’ line has been the issue in recent seasons, and they will be hoping that Linval Joseph helps shore up that group.”
Joey Bosa coming free up the middle is a scary sight for quarterbacks.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) January 6, 2019
The first-ever sack in the NFL playoffs for the former Buckeye.pic.twitter.com/ycxtyzVTYs
Even with Joseph coming off one of the most-pedestrian seasons of his career — he recorded a 69.5 overall grade last year — he is still one of the best at stopping the run and getting after the passer from the interior. Alongside Joseph, the Chargers hope to see some significant progress from both Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery. While his stats don’t look terrible on paper for a first-round defensive tackle, his play was arguably some of the worst in the NFL.
“The Chargers will look for Jerry Tillery to show signs of life and avoid being labeled as a total bust. As a rookie, he earned just a 35.5 overall PFF grade and managed only 10 total pressures from 186 rushes. Tillery was incredibly productive in college and a first-round draft pick, but there have been no signs he can be that player at the next level yet.”
As for Jones and the rest of the guys who will be seeing significant time along the defensive line, Monson believes there’s enough depth to keep it productive behind their top-two quarterback chasers.
“Justin Jones and Damon Square both saw significant playing time last season and return to the team, but neither graded better than average. Uchenna Nwosu will be hoping to continue his development and steal playing time on the edge after impressing on limited snaps over his first two seasons in the league. Last year, he notched 21 total pressures and even made a couple of plays in coverage. He could give the Chargers a useful rotation if he improves further in Year 3.”