Los Angeles Chargers Veteran IDP Winners and Losers

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In the next of my Team Veteran IDP Winners and Losers series, I will look at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Los Angeles Chargers – IDP Winners and Losers

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The Winners

Defensive Backs — Derwin James, Alohi Gilman, Asante Samuel Jr, J.C. Jackson, and Michael Davis.
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The entire defensive backfield of the Los Angeles Chargers is a winner in the IDP Winners and Losers. There were zero NFL draft picks selecting defensive backs in the 23′ draft, and zero college undrafted free agent defensive backs signed from this crop of players.

James is a perennial Pro Bowler that delivers on the field game after game. In all three years that he has played a majority of the games, James has hit the triple-digit mark in tackles. James has played 29 games in the last TWO years combined.

In those games he produced an incredible 233 tackles (139 solo), 12 tackles for a loss, 12 QB hits, 6 sacks, 11 passes defended, 4 interceptions, and 5 forced fumbles. Turning just 27 years old in August, James will be the leader of the defense for many years to come.

A New Full-time Starter at the Safety Position for 2023.

Alohi Gilman is slotted for the new full-time starter at the other safety position. Nasir Adderley is a free agent and that opens up 62 tackles for the safety position. He has been patiently waiting for his opportunity for more playing time, and the time has arrived.

Gilman started five games in 2022. In those 5 games, he played 100% of the defensive snaps and delivered 31 tackles (17 solo), 3 passes defended, 1 interception, and a forced fumble.

Prized 22′ Free Agent Signing is Looking for a Bounce Back.

In 2022, the Chargers signed Jackson to a five-year deal worth up to $82.5 million. He only played in five games last season. Of those five games, only in three games did he play 100% of the snaps. In the other two games, Jackson played just half the defensive snaps.

He was efficient in his three games of 100% of the snaps, producing 13 tackles (10 solo) and 1 pass defended. Jackson seems to be on track for a return by training camp from the ruptured patella tendon in Week 7 of 2022.

The second-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Samuel Jr. has earned his spot on the field with his play in his first two years in the league. He has started 27 of his 29 games in the league and played roughly 100% of the defensive snaps in 22 of those starts.

Last year alone, Samuel Jr. delivered 57 tackles (48 solo), 1 tackle for a loss, 11 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery. He will be on the field a lot in 2023.

The 28-year-old Davis is the picture of consistency over the last couple of years. Anywhere from 54 to 64 tackles in each of the past three years and anywhere from 12 to 15 passes defended over those 3 years. If he starts, you can pretty much pencil him in to be on the field for every defensive snap. He has started 40 of his 47 games played over the last three years.

The Losers

Linebacker – Kenneth Murray
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Kenneth Murray is a big loser in the IDP Winners and Losers. The Chargers drafted him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma. His spot in the middle of the Charger defense was gift-wrapped and handed to him on a silver platter. How did Murray do? His best year was his rookie year of 2020, with 107 tackles. Since then, it has been downhill and hard to watch.

He has started 22 of his 28 games played over the last two seasons. In those 28 games, Murray has managed to match his rookie year tackle total of 107 tackles. I think it is fair to say the Chargers took a swing and missed.

Murray’s replacement has been selected.

With the 22nd pick in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers select Linebacker – Daiyan Henley out of Washington State. He delivered 200 tackles (113 solo), 14 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 4 passes defended, 5 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 2 touchdowns. It was nice knowing you, Kenneth Murray.

Defensive Linemen – Morgan Fox and Khalil Mack
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Morgan Fox re-signed with the Chargers for two more years after his nice year in 2022. He played more than 60% of the defensive snaps in just six games and delivered 38 tackles (24 solo), 8 tackles for a loss, 11 QB hits, and 6.5 sacks. Fox was probably thinking that his snap counts would increase after his nice year in 2022.

At 32 years of age, it is no secret that Khalil Mack has lost a step. He hasn’t hit double-digit sacks since 2018. Mack hasn’t posted tackle numbers greater than 50 since 2017. He still is a force to be reckoned with, being named to the Pro Bowl again just last year.

The snap count seems to be holding a good percentage, but the efficiency has decreased. How do you get the efficiency back up for Mack? Reduce his snaps.

The Chargers Draft the Next Great Defensive Lineman to Continue the Tradition.

The Chargers knew they had to step up their game on the defensive line. Fox is not the answer for an 80-90% defensive snap guy. Mack is wearing down a little bit. They need both of these guys to produce, and what better way to have them be more efficient than to have their legs be fresher?

Enter second-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft out of USC, Tuli Tuipulotu, who stands at 6′ 4″ and 290 lbs and is an athletically gifted man. As a Senior, Tuipulotu delivered an incredible stat line of 46 tackles (31 solo), 22 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks, 5 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Mack and Fox should get some rest time starting in 2023.

Thank you for checking out my 23′ Team IDP Winners and Losers article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please consider becoming a subscriber!

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