The Chargers Linebacker Depth Chart With The Tooth

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The Chargers seemed to have a group of pure situational linebackers in 2019. Though different roles, the team is looking for more stability. Lets take a look at the depth chart with @JoeyTheToothIDP.


The Chargers linebacker group was less than stable, to say the least, in 2019. They had five different linebackers play significant snaps but only one was in for the majority of them. That one linebacker was Thomas Davis who played on 82.9% of the team’s defensive snaps and he is no longer with the team. Of the other four, no other Chargers linebacker saw more then 38.8% of the team’s snaps. They used a 1st round draft pick on a linebacker in the 2020 NFL draft and will be looking for more stability going into 2020. Lets take a look at how the depth chart could shakedown.

Drue Tranquill

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Age: 25 years old

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 234 lbs

2019 Stats: 75 tackles (61 solo), 4 tackles for a loss and a pass defended

Drue Tranquill seems primed for a breakout 2020 season, as our own Zach Magley wrote about here in his 2020 players breakout article. He was able to rack up 75 total tackles while only playing on 38.8% of the teams defensive snaps (382 snaps). That is an absurd rate especially considering he did not see the field at all in the first three games of the season. Tranquill did not show up in the box score in coverage but displayed the ability to thrive. He is great at dropping in zone coverage and anticipates routes well. He also has the athletic profile to mirror tight ends and cover running backs out of the backfield. Tranquill looked good in his limited time on the field and should have a great opportunity moving forward.

Kenneth Murray

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Age: 21 years old

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 234 lbs

2019 Stats (Oklahoma): 102 tackles (69 solo), 17 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks and 4 passes defended

Kenneth Murray is a super athletic sideline to sideline linebacker. He is a powerful tackler with great grip and upper body strength with a large tackle radius. Murray does a very good job in zone coverage with a good drop and change of direction, he just needs to work on not being baited by quarterbacks and pump fakes. His speed and versatility should allow him to play on all defensive sets for the team. The Chargers deployed a plethora linebackers in 2019, and I expect them to do a lot of the same for 2020. Murray could be the Thomas Davis role and play on the majority of the team’s snaps.

Denzel Perryman

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Age: 27 years old

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 240 lbs

2019 Stats: 68 tackles (50 solo), 5 tackles for a loss, 1 pass defended, 1 interception and a forced fumble

Denzel Perryman tied his career high for games played in 2019 with 14, starting in 10. Perryman was a promising linebacker during his first few seasons though injuries have plagued him and never allowed him to take off. In 2019 Perryman was relegated to run downs as a situational linebacker playing on only 37.3% of the team’s snaps, but he thrived in doing so. Not only was he able to stay healthy but he was able to attack on run downs with reckless abandon. Perryman is perfect for obvious run downs and 3rd and short situations and will likely remain in the same role for 2020.

Nick Vigil

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Age: 26 years old

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 235 lbs

2019 Stats: 111 tackles (60 solo), 3 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 5 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries

Nick Vigil left the Bengals in free agency to sign with a crowded Chargers linebacker group. Vigil set a career high in tackles in 2019 with 111 total tackles. That number is slightly deceiving though. Of his 111 tackles only 60 were solo, this means that though he was around the football, he was not often the first one there. Vigil has great run instincts and even has adequate bend coming off of the edge. He has the opportunity to fill a nice role blitzing off of the edge from a strong-side linebacker role.

Kyzir White

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Age: 24 years old

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 218 lbs

2019 Stats: 40 tackles (25 solo), 1 tackle for a loss, 2 passes defended and an interception

Kyzir White is a bit undersized for the linebacker role but he has the hitting power of a linebacker. He is a former safety that actually has exceptional coverage skills. White showed some nice promise during his rookie season where the Chargers were able to disguise their defense a bit and have him lineup as a pass rusher only to drop in coverage. He had 17 tackles in three games but was not able to carve out a significant role in 2019 playing on only 38.2% of the team’s snaps. White is likely more of a sub-package player or a linebacker to play in passing situations, switching in and out of the lineup with Denzel Perryman.

Uchenna Nwosu

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Age: 23 years old

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 251 lbs

2019 Stats: 31 tackles (23 solo), 5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended and 1 forced fumble

Uchenna Nwosu is a situational pass rusher for the Chargers. He virtually plays outside linebacker on passing downs. Over the past two seasons he has accumulated 5.5 sacks and 17 QB hits in situational duty. Of any linebackers that played any significant time, Nwosu played the least being on the field for only 37.1% of the team’s snaps. I do not see Nwosu’s role changing at all, and much like the other Chargers linebacker group he thrived in his situational play time.

Other depth pieces to the Chargers linebacker corps: Malik Jefferson, Emeke Egbule and Cole Christiansen

Chargers Linebacker Depth Chart Prediction

Strongside Chargers Linebacker

1st Team – Nick Vigil

2nd Team – Uchenna Nwosu

3rd Team – Malik Jefferson

Middle Chargers Linebacker

1st Team – Kenneth Murray

2nd Team – Denzel Perryman

3rd Team – Cole Christiansen

Weakside Chargers Linebacker

1st Team – Drue Tranquill

2nd Team – Kyzir White

3rd Team – Emeke Egbule

3rd and Short Group

Strongside Linebacker – Nick Vigil

Middle Linebacker – Denzel Perryman

Weakside Linebacker – Kenneth Murray

3rd and Long Group

Strongside Linebacker – Kyzir White

Middle Linebacker – Kenneth Murray

Weakside Linebacker – Drue Tranquill

Blitz Down Group

Strongside Linebacker – Uchenna Nwosu

Middle Linebacker – Denzel Perryman

Weakside Linebacker – Kenneth Murray

Conclusion

The Chargers linebacker group interchanged and was incredibly situational throughout the season in 2019. There have been some changes made to the group but the outcome should be much the same. The first team will consist of newcomer Nick Vigil at strong-side to set the edge and get into the backfield. At middle linebacker, 1st round rookie Kenneth Murray will roam and show off his sideline to sideline speed and be a true difference maker. At weak-side, last year’s rookie stud Drue Tranquill will make the start and use his speed and coverage skills to mirror tight ends and running backs.

Now these are the starters but it does not mean that they will all see huge snap numbers. On obvious passing downs I expect Kyzir White to mix in and play the strong-side position. He has the speed to win to the outside but also has the ability to drop in coverage that others that line up at the position could not do. Tranquill and Murray stay on the field with their versatility and Coverage ability. During obvious run downs and short yardage situations, I expect Nick Vigil to play the strong-side and Perryman to play the middle with his heat seeking missile style of play while Kenneth Murray moves to the weak-side.

During blitz situations Nwosu will line up at the strong-side and bring his pass rushing ability to the table. Perryman will remain in the middle as he does a solid job blitzing and block shedding. Kenneth Murray will play the weak-side and use his athleticism to come off the weak-side. Kenneth Murray will likely be the only linebacker to me that will see over 75% of snaps while the rest of the Chargers linebacker group will likely shift in and out of the lineup based off of offensive formations and situations.


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I am the content manager for IDPGUYS and have my own podcast The IDP Update with Joey The Tooth. If its not IDP, its not fantasy football.