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Bolts are No. 4 Team in The Athletic's AFC Preseason Rankings

Buzz 09.02

The Bolts have been a popular top 10 choice among preseason power rankings.

Last week, Chargers.com looked at different NFL analysts and publications to see where they had the Bolts ranked.

On Thursday, The Athletic's Mike Sando released his results of where NFL executives rank all 16 AFC teams. The list was set by composite scores, as Sando asked five NFL front-office veterans where they ranked each team.

The Chargers came in near the top as the No. 4 overall team.

One executive said the combination of quarterback in Justin Herbert, playmakers around him and a strong offensive line was enough to garner a vote for No. 2 overall.

"They have very good skill players and they've got a pretty good line and they've got Herbert," one of the executives told Sando. "Their offense is going to be good."

A pair of executives had the Bolts as the second team in the conference, while two voted them sixth. Herbert is a major factor in the high rankings, but those lower on the team point to health as a major factor of how the Chargers season goes. Still, if they do stay healthy, they can see the Bolts go toe-to-toe against a longstanding AFC contender.

"Whether they fix the defense, that comes down to whether they are healthy," an executive told Sando.

"But when I think of the biggest threat to the Chiefs, I think of the Chargers first," he later added.

Only nine days remain until the season opener, and the Bolts will be able answer the questions some executives raised about some of last year's struggles. With a new-look team, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley likes what he has seen in his team and is ready to finally go out there and compete.

"I like what I see out there and I'm excited to get this group out there next week in the game week and see us compete together," said Staley during Thursday's press conference.

"Last year was last year," defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day said Thursday. "This is a new year, new people in the building. Our standard is our standard."

Sando's full list of NFL executive rankings can be found here.

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