With just three days until the Los Angeles Chargers kick off their 2017 NFL preseason against the Seattle Seahawks, the team has released its first unofficial depth chart for this upcoming season.
The depth chart is not filled with any major surprises except for the fact that rookie guard Dan Feeney is not currently with the first team. However, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see him grab the starting position before Week 1 of the regular season.
Moreover, quarterback Kellen Clemens got the nod over quarterback Cardale Jones, who the Chargers just traded for and was a fourth round pick in 2016.
Thursday is day No. 14 of Chargers Wire’s countdown to Los Angeles Chargers training camp which begins on July 29. Each day we will count down the best Charger to wear each jersey number from No. 30 to No. 1.
As such, we take a look at the history of the No. 17 for the Bolts.
Even the most casual of fans likely already guessed that Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers is the greatest to wear the aforementioned number, however, few on this list have been as deserving of the honor as Rivers is.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ second-round draft pick from the 2017 NFL draft, Chargers guard Forrest Lamp, was worth the high selection. Lamp was the No. 1 rated pass blocker in all of college football during 2016, per Pro Football Focus.
Lamp did not give up many sacks last season, which is great news for Los Angeles. With aging Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, they will need all the protection they can get as Rivers will not be dancing around any defenders at 35 years of age.
To put the stats in perspective, last year’s starting right guard, Chargers guard Spencer Pulley, had a pass blocking grade of 45.1, 54.2 points lower than Lamp, per PFF.
Obviously, the stats might be inflated because the NFL’s competition is greater than college football’s, however, is it worth 54.2 points?
Nonetheless, Los Angeles will have a definite upgrade at a major position of need. As long as Rivers gets solid protection, then he will be able to take advantage of the impressive Chargers receivers and an exciting season will be underway.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ OTAs are currently in full-swing and despite the absence of their No. 1 draft pick, the Bolts look sharp.
All of the team’s top players, including Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Melvin Gordon and defensive end Joey Bosa, were out there working their tails off at the Chargers’ latest practice at Chargers Park in San Diego Tuesday.
At the beginning, fans get to see the 2017 Chargers stretching as a team before each player goes through their individual drills.
Gordon looked explosive coming around both edges, while Bosa shredded his footwork drills and Allen flashed the incredible hands that once made him one of the most effective rookie wide receivers in NFL history with a diving catch.
Overall, the team looks healthy, sharp and fit. Which is precisely what fans and coaches want to see at this stage of organized team activities.
The Los Angeles Chargers had a disappointing 2016 season winning only five games, but things are starting to look up after an impressive 2017 NFL draft, the hiring of a stout coaching staff and the return to health for several players.
Here are three reasons why the Chargers will bounce back in 2017 and win the AFC West.
No. 3, Philip Rivers finally has weapons
As mentioned above, Los Angeles had an impressive draft bringing in talent at positions of need.
For example, the offensive line was a revolving door resulting in Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers being sandwiched every Sunday.
In this year’s draft, Los Angeles brought in guards Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp. One of them can play at right guard and the other can be moved over to center or just add depth to the line.
Chargers tackle Russell Okung is solid on the left side (73.1 PFF player grade) and guard Matt Slauson is an impressive left guard (81.2 PFF player grade).
Chargers right tackle Joe Barksdale had a rough 2016, but should be expected to bounce back to his old form, for he had PFF player grades of 81.6, 75.2, and 81.8 in the three seasons before 2016.
Without a doubt, the Chargers’ offensive line will be improved. If the rookies make a quick transition, it could even become a strength of the team.
In regards to the skill positions, Los Angeles will add rookie wide receiver Mike Williams and healthy wide receiver Keenan Allen to pair with breakthrough wide receiver Tyrell Williams.
Rivers now has three great targets at wide receiver, two great targets at tight end, Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, and solid running back Melvin Gordon.
For the first time in a while, Los Angeles has all the weapons on the outside along with the needed protection on the inside to successfully utilize all of their future hall of fame quarterback’s skills and make this a top offense in the NFL.
After an impressive 2017 NFL draft, the Los Angeles Chargers did not seem to benefit in the most recent ESPN power rankings landing in the same spot as before their selections in Philadelphia at No. 25.
“Every other team in the AFC West is in the top 10,” Graziano began. “None of their quarterbacks is as good as this team’s is.
Philip Rivers needs help, and the Chargers got him some with Mike Williams and a couple of guards in the first three rounds of the draft. This team blew a lot of fourth-quarter leads last season; hold half of them and this ranking is way too low.”
Los Angeles still has likely future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers, drafted two excellent offensive guards and a playmaking wide receiver to assist him — and at some point, the Chargers have to avoid mass amounts of injuries setting them back.
This ESPN ranking is far too low, as the Bolts should be positioned no lower than middle of the pack based on talent alone.
The Los Angeles Chargers had no players in the top-50 of NFL jersey sales this past year (March 1, 2016 – Feb. 28, 2017), per the NFLPA.
Given the Chargers won just five games last season and likely alienated a good portion of their fanbase by moving to L.A., the news won’t surprise many.
The Bolts have a boatload of talent on the roster, including a still impactful quarterback Philip Rivers and reigning rookie defensive player of the year in defensive end Joey Bosa.
Look for Bosa to land on the list after showing fans in the City of Angels what he can do on a football field.
In addition, former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams should be a big help to Rivers in the red zone. If that new combination translates into more victories, both Williams and Bosa could crack the list next season.
After all, the quickest way to gain fans in a large market is to stack wins on Sundays.
ESPN’s NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had high praise for the Los Angeles Chargers’ haul in the 2017 draft, giving them an ‘A’ grade.
Los Angeles started out by drafting former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, which Kiper thought was a great pick for general manager Tom Telesco stating he got the “top-ranked receiver at No.7” and it was “the Chargers’ top need,” per Kiper.
L.A. did an excellent job at recognizing what the draft had to offer as well as who they had under center, choosing to arm their aging franchise quarterback Philip Rivers to the teeth with protection and weapons. Telesco followed that by upgrading his secondary over the following two days.
In addition to needing a pass catcher, the Bolts needed major help protecting Rivers. Consequently, L.A. grabbed Kiper’s “Nos. 1 and 3 ranked guards in Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.”
Lastly, the Chargers got it right with former Iowa safety (and projected nickel cornerback in the NFL) Desmond King.
He was another elite college player who slid in the draft likely due to his 4.6 second 40-yard dash. King posted 14 career interceptions, won the Jim Thorpe Award and brings the versatility “to end up at safety or slot corner,” per Kiper — yet fortunately fell into Telesco’s lap in the fifth round.
Kiper was spot on when it came to all of the picks, however, he neglected to discuss how the Chargers failing to address their need on the interior of the defensive line. Given that Kiper penalized other teams for not filling needs in his draft grades, this makes his analysis inconsistent at best.
Los Angeles did pick up former Notre Dame defensive tackle Isaac Rochell in the seventh round, but not many are expecting a seventh-round pick to make much of an impact.
To those people, NFL history has a lesson to teach, as it is a league which constantly sees fourth-to-seventh round players make up the vast majority of their rosters.