No. 6 – S Jahleel Addae
Chargers safety Jahleel Addae was one of the bright spots of the Los Angeles defense after a breakout 2016 season.
With a division loaded with great tight ends, that includes Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, the Chargers safety will have to be on top of his game.
Addae provides considerable versatility for the defense as he can slide into the nickel as well.
Overall, Addae is a talented player but needs to focus on staying healthy. If he can do that, he will have a significant impact in 2017.
No. 5 – DE Corey Liuget
As mentioned earlier, Los Angeles’ biggest weakness is the interior of the defense. Also, they didn’t sign any major free agents or draft anyone who is expected to fill their need.
Therefore, it is necessary for Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget to step up his play.
He has the talent to do so shown by 2012-2014 seasons where he sacked the quarterback 17 times in the three seasons.
He didn’t have one sack last season, and that must change for Los Angeles to make gains on the other teams in the AFC West.
No. 4 – S Dwight Lowery
The Chargers defense, of course, is not amongst the best in the league. As such, it is necessary for them to force as many turnovers as possible.
Lowery, who had four interceptions in 2015, will have to be more aggressive while playing deep in the secondary and make more impact plays in 2017.
With the two-headed monster in Bosa and Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram, Lowery should have plenty of opportunities to intercept the ball.
No. 3 – LB Melvin Ingram
Without a doubt, Ingram is one of the best players on the team. He has improved each season earning him a four-year $66 million deal but will be expected to do even more with the new pay raise.
Most importantly, he needs to continue to create pressure and force turnovers when he gets near the quarterback.
The more he does that, the more he will open the field for the NFL’s 2017 defensive rookie of the year.
No. 2 – CB Casey Hayward
Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was one of the 2016 NFL free agency steals corralling seven interceptions last season.
While expecting seven interceptions again is crazy, he will need to be a lockdown cornerback once again in 2017, especially with the talent on the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos’ receiving corps.
No. 1 – DE Joey Bosa
Despite Bosa only playing one season in the NFL, there are not many players better than him. In limited time during his first season, he had 10.5 sacks.
Bosa and Ingram have the potential to build a top 5 defense in the league, but it starts with Bosa continuing to improve and getting after the quarterback.
With Bosa developing, he will become the best and most important Charger en route to building a ferocious pass rush in Los Angeles.