Led by explosive, young DE Joey Bosa, the Chargers’ defense is on the rise. It finished fifth in fantasy scoring last season, tying for fifth in sacks and ranking sixth in takeaways. The Chargers ranked third against the pass last season, giving up fewer than 200 passing yards per game, and they had more interceptions (18) than TD passes allowed (17). Bosa has the biggest name on this defense, but DE Melvin Ingram and CB Casey Hayward are also top-level performers. Jason Verrett, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week One last year, is a fine cover man who’ll team with Hayward to give L.A. one of the better CB duos in the league. DTs Cory Liuget and Brandon Mebane are solid interior defenders, and the Chargers have an underrated S tandem in Desmond King and Jahleel Addae.
Against the run, the Chargers were softer than brand-name bathroom tissue last season, ranking 31st in that category and giving up 4.9 yards per carry. Their linebackers are collectively average at best. Verrett can’t seem to stay healthy, missing more games than he’s played over his four seasons in the league.
If they can shore up their run defense, this unit could be one of the best in the league. And even if the Chargers remain mediocre against the run, they figure to get more than their fair share of sacks and interceptions.