Improving the 2022 LA Chargers Secondary
3/8/2022 by James Fedewa
The Chargers defensive secondary could use some new talent on the 2022 roster. Whether it be through free agency, the NFL draft or player trades, the Chargers could be adding several new faces on defense. Currently, the defensive backs on the roster are SS Derwin James, CB Michael Davis, CB Assante Samuel Jr., FS Nasir Adderley, S Alohi Gilman and S Mark Webb; a very solid group of NFL players. James is the standout of this group and can play both safeties and the nickel position. Davis is a solid CB2, and so is the young Samuel Jr., who could develop into a CB1. Adderley has shown some very good tape last season, and is expected to only get better. I expect Adderley and Samuel’s roles being expanded this season, which can possibly move them both in and out of the nickel corner corner position, providing more defensive secondary flexibility.
Signing free agent cornerbacks J.C. Jackson, Stephon Gilmore or Carlton Davis would be great, but those names would command high dollars ($13 to $18 million per year / plus some of those players could be franchise tagged as well). The balance of the free agent cornerbacks are not exactly CB1’s either. I will be looking for a “Casey Hayward” type of free agent signing. Not Hayward the actual player, but a free agent from another squad that overperformed, just like Casey Haywards first season with the Chargers (one of the best free agent signings of all time).
My personal target would be the Seahawks nickel-corner DJ Reed, but I live up in Seattle and I do NOT think the Seahawks will l let Reed go. Talk radio up here loves DJ Reed (and Q. Diggs) & they are expected to re-sign them both. When Seattle’s nickel Justin Coleman left 3 years ago, the Seahawks struggled at that position for a couple of years, and Reed finally took that role over in 2021, so I doubt the Seahawks let him go. CB Bryce Callahan might be more realistic addition to the Chargers , as he does have a relationship with Head Coach Brandon Staley, if they are targeting Nickel free agents. Chiefs Charvarius Ward could also be a quality target at a reasonable rate (probably similar to the Michael Davis contract). Plus it’s always nice to rob a division foe.
But, I expect a free agent safety to be signed before a high priced cornerback . Safety free agents Jayron Kearse (DAL), Kareem Jackson (DEN), Deon Bush (CHI) or Anthony Harris (MIN) would cost less, and could have a bigger impact on the overall defense. Plus, a good safety would demand half the contract of an average CB free agents this season.
NFL Draft seems like the best place to find a new cornerback or nickel for the Chargers secondary. Not necessarily in the first round but certainly early, within the first three rounds. The Chargers own 11 draft picks, which gives them a lot of flexibility with trades, so they could move up or down to target corners like: Kyler Gordon, Andrew Booth, Kaiir Elam or Marcus Jones.
I do not expect GM Tom Telesco to draft 11 players with his 11 draft picks. The Chargers will probably be very busy with draft day trades, probably moving up. I expect multiple 2nd and 3rd round picks within this draft, unless Telesco uses some of his draft capitol to trade for some veteran player additions.
What I like to see in the first two picks of the 2022 Chargers Draft:
1st Round: Travon Walker EDGE Georgia (sure a Jordan Davis would be nice, but he will probably only be a 2 down player)
2nd Round: Kaiir Elam , CB Florida or Marcus Jones, CB Houston