The Los Angeles Chargers are Super Bowl caliber after the 2018 NFL Draft

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 03: Trevor Williams (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 03: Trevor Williams (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers put together one of the strongest showings in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, LA may actually be a legitimate threat to the rest of the AFC.

The Los Angeles Chargers had a great season following a 0-4 start last year. Two bad special teams plays; one being a missed game-winning field goal and the other being a game-tying field goal, is all that stood between the Chargers and the NFL Playoffs.

Los Angeles finished with a 9-7 record, ultimately losing the tiebreaker to the Buffalo Bills. Two bad kicks kept the team from being 11-5; where they could have been a legitimate threat to the rest of the AFC.

That alone is enough evidence to prove that the Chargers are indeed a playoff caliber team. While the team may not get the coverage it deserves due to the minuscule fan base, the Chargers are immensely talented.

After the NFL Draft, they should be one of the favorites out of the AFC. Let’s start with the pieces already on the roster, then transitioning to who the team added in the draft.

Defensively, the Los Angeles Chargers were sound. The pass-rush combination of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram was the best outside rushing duo in the NFL. A solid interior rush and a fantastic secondary led to a very hard team to pass the ball against.

The weakest area of the team was at linebacker, which was a huge reason why the Los Angeles Chargers allowed the second-most rushing yards per game last year. However, a big factor in that was Denzel Perryman missing nine games last year. In games that Perryman did play the Chargers went 5-2.

Offensively the Chargers were just as sound. The offensive line was young and ready to protect Philip Rivers. Tackles Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale are both returning. In the middle of the line, the Chargers have the impressive Dan Feeney and a returning Forrest Lamp to bank on. Add free agent signing Mike Pouncey to the mix and the offensive line is set.

In the passing game, the Chargers are just as deep. Keenan Allen is one of the best receivers in the game; Tyrell Williams is one of the best deep threats in the game and Travis Benjamin is one of the best third-option receivers in football. Let’s not forget, LA is also getting a fully healthy Mike Williams next season; who the team used the seventh overall pick on in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Chargers are solid in the backfield as well. Melvin Gordon is great and Austin Ekeler is the perfect complementary piece. Tight end Hunter Henry is ready to step into Antonio Gates’ shoes as the guy and Philip Rivers is still as good as ever.

Add three newly signed kickers to the team, who will all be competing for a job, and the Chargers are already a great team.

Then the 2018 NFL Draft happened and the Los Angeles Chargers only got better.

For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Chargers produced an excellent draft class.

In the first round, the team snagged Florida State safety, Derwin James. James was projected by many to go in the first 10 picks and was a true shock to fall to 17. While the Chargers may not have expected James, they could not pass up a player of his caliber.

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His playmaking and ball-hawking ability fits in perfectly in this Chargers’ secondary. James will fill the role of Tre Boston in the defense and will be deadly alongside Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett. The Chargers got a perfect pick.

The second round was a bit more unconventional but made the Chargers scarier in the process. Los Angeles drafted hometown kid, linebacker, Uchenna Nwosu.

Although Nwosu is not the anchor in the middle, he will serve a huge role in guarding against outside runs. In passing downs, Nwosu will be a deadly rusher behind either Bosa or Ingram, giving quarterbacks yet another person to be afraid of.

In the third round, the Chargers found a replacement for Corey Liuget for the first four games and potentially Brandon Mebane after that. The team selected defensive tackle Justin Jones out of NC State. Although Jones sometimes struggled at getting to the quarterback, he was a great run stopper in the middle and will give the Chargers exactly what the team needs.

Kyzir White, another safety, was landed in the fourth round to be a playmaker in nickel and dime packages and give the Chargers relief past Jahleel Addae. Fifth-round pick Scott Quessenberry gives the team depth at center while serving as a plan B is Pouncey does not work out.

Finally, sixth and seventh round picks Dylan Cantrell and Justin Jackson both could have a role in the offense. Cantrell is a tall, big-bodied receiver with sure hands that will be a vertical and red zone threat. Jackson could be a third option in a running back rotation also consisting of Gordon and Ekeler.

Next: The Tavon Austin trade was great for one reason

With all of the pieces the Chargers added, the team not only addressed prior needs but got better at what they were already strong in. LA can throw the ball, run the ball, stop the pass and will be much better at stopping the run. Realistically, this is the most complete Los Angeles Chargers team we have seen in a very long time.