Adding nine new players is unexpectedly going to shake things up on a roster. In some way, shape, or form, some players are going to be affected by those additions, whether for the better or for worse.
The Chargers added nine new players over the weekend and depending on who they are, the 2021 season just got a lot more exciting or it just became a bit more murky.
Below I touched on six total players, three of whom saw their “stock” go up for the upcoming season and three more who saw their stock plummet following the 2021 draft.
QB Justin Herbert
I don’t think any player benefited more from the Chargers’ 2021 draft haul then Herbert who got the offensive line overhaul he deserved which was capped off by the selection of left tackle Rashawn Slater in the first round. Tom Telesco then proceeded to give his young quarterback three new weapons on offense with wide receiver Josh Palmer, tight end Tre’ McKitty, and running back Larry Rountree.
Compared to his rookie year, Herbert should be vastly more comfortable in year two. Both from having a successful year as a pro under his belt and having legitimate protection in front of him.
S Nasir Adderley
The Chargers entered this year’s draft with only three bodies at safety. Those including Addelrey, Derwin James, and Alohi Gilman. It was a safe assumption they would likely draft another player somewhere on day three to help fill that room out. My prediction was another free safety-type since Gilman fits the mold of a strong safety as opposed to a rangy back-end player.
They did end up grabbing another safety in Georgia’s Mark Webb, but he’s far from the type of player that could challenge Adderley for snaps. Webb played the “Star” role for the Bulldogs which was essentially a big nickel defender. Some draft analysts believe he should make the switch to linebacker due to his lack of range and overall athleticism.
That doesn’t sound like someone who could handle playing deep in the NFL. As of now, Adderley’s starting job is in no immediate danger.
RG Oday Aboushi
It didn’t surprise many when the Chargers’ double-dipped along the offensive line in this year’s draft. However, I would have expected the team to draft another offensive guard to compete with Aboushi on the right side for good measure on top of revamping the entire line, already. They ended up drafting Brenden Jaimes, who actually has a shot of kicking inside down the road although he’s likely to compete with Trey Pipkin as the team’s swing tackle in 2021.
At least for his one-year under contract in L.A., Aboushi’s starting jobs seems to be completely safe.
TE Donald Parham
The 2021 season was expected to be a potential breakout year for Parham after the former XFL standout caught a trio of touchdowns on 20 total targets during his first year with the Chargers. Of course the Chargers were expected to find some more bodies for the position after Hunter Henry moved out east, but the investment of a third-round pick on Tre’ McKitty tells me that they believe he’ll see the field early. With Jared Cook the current starter, you have to think that means Parham is stuck in a situational role once again barring an increas in three-tight end sets.
WRs Joe Reed/K.J. Hill
Anthony Lynn double-dipped at wide receiver in his final year with the Chargers in order to give the Chargers offense some much-needed juice that it was missing during the 2019 campaign. They drafted two very different players in wideouts Reed and Hill. Reed was a raw athlete with evasiveness and good play-strength while Hill was a route-technician with underwhelming top seed. Neither played all that much as rookies with Reed the only scoring a touchdown as a rookie, but that one came on a handoff out of the backfield.
Fast-forward through the 2020 season and both receivers are now firmly behind two former UDFAs on the depth chart in Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton. Add in the addition of 2021 third-rounder Josh Palmer and all of a sudden there’s a real shot both Reed and Hill aren’t on the initial 53-man roster come Week 1.
OT Trey Pipkins
In Telesco’s pre-draft presser, he made a point to evade any type of comment that would lead anyone believe the team was committed to drafting a left tackle in the first round. Why? Other than just being difficult, I’m not so sure. The writing was on the wall the entire offseason.
Despite remaining “bullish” on Pipkins, the team’s third-round pick in 2019, TT went out and got a cornerstone player in Slater who should start immediately. The Bolts then went out and drafted Brenden Jaimes, another left tackle that started 41-straight games for Nebraska to add more depth. There’s a chance Jamies moves inside eventually but as of now, the battle for the team’s swing tackle isn’t simply Pipkins’ to win anymore.