Chargers’ offseason priority will be fixing defensive line

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  • Los Angeles Chargers
    Los Angeles Chargers
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  • Linval Joseph
    Linval Joseph
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  • Justin Jones
    Justin Jones
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When listing the Chargers’ most significant needs heading into 2022, the word ‘defense’ quickly comes to mind.

Los Angeles ended the 2021 season 23rd in total defense, allowing an average of 360.1 yards to opposing offenses per game and 30th, where they struggled the most, on the ground (138.9 YPG), including 174 in the loss to the Raiders that took them out of the playoffs.

Furthermore, L.A. allowed 4.6 yards per carry (28th) and 22 rushing touchdowns (29th).

Their primary issues were along the defensive line, where the Bolts did not have the proper personnel to defeat run blockers consistently.

At Wednesday’s media availability, Brandon Staley said prioritizing the defensive front will be at the center of the team’s thought process this offseason.

Looking ahead, Linval Joseph, Justin Jones, and Christian Covington are all slated to be free agents.

With a projected amount of $72.5 million in salary-cap space, the Chargers have the flexibility to re-sign one, with Jones being the top target based on his play this season while using some of it to add a higher tier external free agent or two.

Some of the top options include:

Akiem Hicks, Bears

Calais Campbell, Ravens

Ndamukong Suh, Buccaneers

Jarran Reed, Chiefs

Derrick Nnadi, Chiefs

D.J. Jones, 49ers

Brandon Williams, Ravens

Larry Ogunjobi, Bengals

William Gholston, Buccaneers

Malik McDowell, Browns

Sebastian Joseph-Day, Rams

Like how Los Angeles attacked the offensive line last offseason, even after adding bodies via free agency, the work shouldn’t stop there, and they should look to the draft to find a Day 1 contributor and depth piece or two with their 11 picks.

The hulking 340 pounder, Jordan Davis will be the most commonly linked player to the Bolts. Still, prospects like Devonte Wyatt, Phidarian Mathis, Travis Jones, Tyler Davis, among a handful of others, would all aid the run defense for the foreseeable future.