The offseason is in full swing, as teams are prepping for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine next week in Indianapolis.
The Combine is viewed as the de-facto start of the offseason frenzy that includes free agency and the draft, two events where teams could look to improve their rosters.
With that in mind, what are the Chargers biggest areas of need as the offseason ramps up?
Chargers.com recently spoke to a handful of NFL analysts at Radio Row to get an idea where the Bolts could focus on.
The general consensus was that the defense could use another piece or two to help improve the overall unit.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus noted that finding another player to help in the run defense could be a boon.
"I would love to see them attack that spine of the defense, the interior defensive line, the interior at the linebacker level, just try and really strengthen that area up against the run," Monson said. "And I know they've taken swings at that already.
"Whether that's something that could change next year, they just need to keep swinging at that till that doesn't become a problem area," Monson added.
NFL Network's Brian Baldinger concurred with Monson on getting defensive help.
"I felt like, even though they got Khalil [Mack] and Joey [Bosa], they need another defensive player," Baldinger said. "A guy that shows up every single game and makes these plays.
"I know the names on the back of the jersey [on the Chargers roster], but I didn't see those guys make those kinds of plays," Baldinger added.
Take a look back at the best photos of the defense's 2022 campaign
Another area of need? A more explosive offense.
But the Bolts hoped the address part of that with the hire of Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore earlier this month.
"I think the biggest need is something they already took care of, I think it's improving the offensive scheme," said Myles Simmons of ProFootballTalk.com.
"I think that if you're the Chargers right now, you should feel good heading into this offseason just based on the fact that you are now going to be implementing a much better offensive scheme," Simmons later added.
Tyler Dragon, an NFL columnist for USA TODAY, recommended an enhanced running game that would complement quarterback Justin Herbert and the entire offense.
"I know a lot of people talk about speed, but I think the Chargers need to be a more balanced offense and establish the run a little bit more," Dragon said. "I like that kid out of Texas, [Bijan] Robinson. They need a running back that can run between the tackles.
"The Chargers haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher in a few years [since 2017]," Dragon said. "I think that would help out Justin Herbert a lot and open up the passing game for those explosive plays."
Simmons and others also offered up an ironic area of need for the Chargers, but it's one they can't fully control: health.
"When you're talking about a team and how can you stay successful, being healthy is the most important thing you can be," Simmons said.
The Bolts had a rash of injuries to star players in 2022, with many of them missing most or all of the season where the Chargers still finished with double-digit wins.
"I think health is just a big part of it," said NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. "They had just an extreme run of injuries.
"Off the top of my head, Rashawn Slater misses almost the entire season. He's a Pro-Bowl left tackle. They had other injuries on the offensive line … three receivers not playing together for a good chunk of the season," Pelissero continued. "Defensively, Joey Bosa misses almost the entire season. J.C. Jackson misses almost the entire season. Derwin James, Jr. was in and out a little bit from the lineup.
"I mean, how can you possibly judge what the team can do under those circumstances? Everybody's got injuries, most teams don't have them like the Chargers do," Pelissero added. "That's where, in my mind, Brandon Staley should've been a Coach of the Year candidate. They won 10 games and went to the playoffs with all of that going on. Oh yeah, the quarterback gutted it out through a painful injury. I think that that's a huge part of it."
Will Brinson of CBS Sports said a full season with star players could mean even mire success for the Chargers in 2023.
"I'll say 17 games out of James and Joey Bosa," Brinson said. "Because if you get 17 games out of those dudes, that defense is going to be great.
"You get 17 games out of Derwin James and Joey Bosa, this teams in the playoffs again," Brinson added.
As the calendar heads to late February and the Combine looms, we'll see what areas the Bolts address in the coming months.
Take a look back at the best photos of the Chargers celebrating their time in the endzone during the 2022 season
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