Count Ben Linsey among the pundits who are high on the Bolts entering the 2022 season.
Linsey, who writes for Pro Football Focus, recently ranked every roster across the NFL … and tabbed the Chargers in the third overall spot.
Linsey delved into three categories for each team, looking at their biggest strength, biggest weakness and a player who could be an X-factor this season.
The strongest area of the Bolts roster, according to Linsey, is the pass rush.
Injuries have slowed Khalil Mack over the past few years, but a healthy Mack is still one of the best all-around edge defenders in the NFL. Despite missing more than half of the 2021 season, Mack still ranks third among edge defenders in PFF's WAR metric since 2019. One of the two players ahead of him is Joey Bosa, whose 22 percent pass rush win rate since 2016 ranks first among qualifiers at the position. Assuming a 31-year-old Mack comes back somewhere close to full strength, he and Bosa represent the best edge tandem in the league.
Linsey noted that the right tackle is still a bit of a concern heading into camp.
The Chargers have done a very good job of rebuilding their offensive line over the past two offseasons. Rashawn Slater, Matt Feiler and Corey Linsley were all top-six graded players at their respective positions in 2021 -- all in their first season with the team. The right tackle spot is where a lot of uncertainty still remains, though. Storm Norton manned that position last season with a 44.7 PFF pass-blocking grade, and he was targeted by Maxx Crosby and the Raiders in a pivotal Week 18 matchup. Trey Pipkins III (68.5 PFF grade in 173 snaps last year) will push him for that job this offseason.
And he believes that newcomer Sebastian Joseph-Day, who was added in free agency this spring, will be an instant impact player for the Bolts defense in 2022.
Sebastian Joseph-Day was brought in for one reason -- to improve a run defense that ranked 27th in the league in expected points allowed per run play last season. Joseph-Day was an unheralded part of the Rams' top-three run defense in 2020, ranking second among all interior defensive linemen in run stops (30). He'll be asked to play a similar role for the Chargers on a defense in need of a run-stuffing presence.
The Chargers roster is brimming with talent and depth from top to bottom, and those areas will be needed in a tough AFC West.
Linsey ranked Kansas City with the ninth-best roster, while Denver (No. 14) also cracked the top half of the league. Las Vegas came in at No. 21 on Linsey's list.
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