4/22/2018 9:34:33 AM
17. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (9-7)
LAST SEASON: Bolts went winless in first four games of relocation season, but rest of coach Anthony Lynn"s first year in charge was very encouraging. Los Angeles won nine of final 12 games with vicious offense led by stalwart quarterback Philip Rivers and receiver Keenan Allen, who lived up to potential to become one of NFL"s best playmakers. Los Angeles occasionally struggled to run ball, but passing game made it mostly irrelevant. Defense struggled against run at times, but still forced turnovers and did more than enough to secure victories. Chargers won final five home games at cozy StubHub Center, even establishing home-field advantage late in year. They missed playoffs on tiebreaker on final day of season, but few teams head into 2018 with more momentum.
THEY NEED: LB, DL, OL, RB.
THEY DON"T NEED: WR, TE, CB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama; T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame; DT Da"Ron Payne, Alabama; DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA; LB-DE Harold Landry, Boston College; LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State.
OUTLOOK: Bolstering run defense is logical step, and several athletic linebackers could supplement depth at position, which is thin behind Denzel Perryman. Another defensive lineman would be welcome, as would elite offensive lineman capable of taking over at right tackle or filling in if Chargers are hit with another round of injuries. Bolts mostly played it cool during free agency, and they"re in position to take best available player throughout draft while being fairly confident they"ve got solid talent base. If right opportunity arises, they even might decide it"s finally time to draft successor to Rivers, who says he plans to play for ""a handful more years,"" but will turn 37 during season. Rivers hasn"t missed game since 2006, but even he knows Bolts will have to get somebody new at some point.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL