There aren’t a ton of instances where NFL power rankings seem relevant during the offseason, but the moments proceeding the first big wave of free agency and the NFL draft are two of the biggest times for evaluators to adjust an re-evaluate their hierarchy of the NFL.
Now that the draft is behind us, the folks at ESPN have released another round of rankings depicting how they’ve seen the NFL landscape shift following the infusion of rookie talent into the player pool.
When it comes to the Chargers, you may be surprised to find out that they’ve actually fallen two spots — from seventh to ninth — between ESPN’s post-free agency rankings and this new list. Along with each blurb from the team’s respective beat writers, the most improved position group was also included. For the Chargers, the position was unsurprisingly the wide receiver group.
Here’s what Chargers reporter Lindsey Thiry had to say about the team:
“The Chargers have wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but what about speed and a deep-threat playmaker who can stretch a defense and create more explosiveness? The Bolts answered that question when they drafted Quentin Johnston No. 21 overall.”
“Johnston joins an established group, but is expected as a rookie to be a playmaker capable of getting open deep downfield. His arrival immediately helps quarterback Justin Herbert and the Bolts’ other playmakers who will see more space to operate with a defense having to respect a potential deep play.”
When it comes to any gripes I have with this group, I’d argue the Chargers could have easily stayed above both the Ravens and Cowboys, but it sure sees like the media is valuing Lamar Jackson finally getting an exciting wideout (Zay Flowers) as well as the Cowboys beefing up the defensive front while adding a proven veteran in Brandin Cooks to aid Dak Prescott.
So in the end, I think ninth is a fine place for now. The Chargers haven’t made as many splashy moves as the other two but that’s not to say the team did not get better during the draft. The team’s top four draft picks will all play extensively as rookies and all four raise the floor of their respective position groups. That’s enough to warrant praise and to justify keeping them at seventh, but again, we’re probably nitpicking at that point.