On Monday morning, ESPN dropped another edition of their early 2022 NFL power rankings now that the first big wave of free agency has come and gone. This is the second early edition of the rankings, the first being their “way-too-early” edition that immediately followed the conclusion of this year’s Super Bowl.
In that first list, the Chargers debuted at number 11. Like every other team, they had yet to make any moves via free agency but the improvements and potential they showed in Brandon Staley’s first season at the helm was enough to make analysts believe there are much better days ahead for this franchise. Now, following the initial chaos of this year’s free agency period, the Chargers have found themselves elevated up four spots to number seven.
That placing makes them the fourth-highest ranked team from the AFC, trailing only the Bills (first), Chiefs (third), and Bengals (fifth). The only NFC squads ahead of the Chargers are the cross-town Rams (second), Buccaneers (fourth), and the Packers (sixth).
Since ESPN’s way-too-early edition of their power rankings, the Chargers have acquired two bonafide superstars in edge rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson. They also added rising interior defenders Sebastian Joseph-Day and Austin Johnson while retaining several key contributions from a year ago in tight end Donald Parham and kicker Dustin Hopkins.
As it stands, the Chargers still need some elite speed at the wide receiver spot and could also stand to reinforce a linebacker group that was shallow to begin with, but got even worse after Kyzir White was allowed to walk in free agency.
Do I believe this is the right ranking for the Chargers? Sort’ve. I think their potential is as high as any other team in the NFL, but until they finally “push through” and actually do the dang thing, I must stay cautiously optimistic.
Let me know how you all feel about this early ranking in the comments below!