This past season, Justin Herbert, along with help from his litany of playmakers, became one of two quarterbacks to throw for over 5,000 yards during the 2021 campaign. The other was the G.O.A.T., himself, Tom Brady.
If that doesn’t immediately tell you some things about the potential of this offense then I’m not sure what else you could need. They accomplished feats and records not seen by many Chargers teams throughout history and the unit has only gotten better this offseason with the addition of first-round pick, Zion Johnson.
With that in mind, NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund recently put together a list of the offenses she believes will be the best of the best this season in terms of win-share projections and the Chargers were this* close to topping the whole thing as they land behind only the Bills.
For context, win-share projections measure each player, position group, and each side of the ball’s ability to earn/prevent first downs, points, and touchdowns. Frelund also notes that the rankings used for her list are average results, meaning that some offense who have higher ceilings but lower floors may not see themselves as high as others with better all-around marks (I.e., the Chargers receiving corps vs. the Ravens).
“The Chargers narrowly edge out the Bengals here, based on their offensive line and the fact that their demanding division will require prolific production,” said Frelund. “Last season, Justin Herbert racked up the third-most yards under pressure (1,043, by Next Gen Stats’ count). Herbert’s legs helped produce the fourth-lowest sack rate in the league (4.4%), but the Bolts’ scheme helped him, too. With a time to throw of at least 2.5 seconds, Herbert topped the NGS charts in attempts (423), completions (262) and yards (3,544), while finishing second in touchdowns (24).
But the notable statistics don’t just start and end with Herbert. His versatile running back and big-play receiver also earned some love, as well.
“Two more fun figures: Austin Ekeler had six rushing TDs against stacked boxes (tied for second-most, via NGS), while Mike Williams topped the league with 18 receptions and 320 yards on tight-window targets.”
Lastly, Frelund believes the Chargers added plenty of value within their eight draft picks in April, most notably being the additions of offensive linemen Zion Johnson and Jamaree Salyer.
In the draft, Los Angeles immediately boosted the offensive line in Round 1 with plug-and-play starter Zion Johnson before nabbing another versatile piece in sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer, who could see some early action. The Bolts also nabbed RB Isaiah Spiller in the fourth round. With increased O-line potential and added RB depth, Keenan Allen, Williams and Ekeler forecast to be in more favorable situations — a scary thought for opponents, given how productive each already was.
For those curious about the rest of the rankings, the entire list (in descending order) is: Bills, Chargers, Bengals, Buccaneers, Rams, Chiefs, Packers, Cowboys, Saints, Vikings.