The 2020 Los Angeles Chargers secondary looks a little different now compared to last year. In 2019, they looked to be a strong unit, bolstered in particular by one of the deepest safety corps in football. But then half of them ended up on injured reserve. We then ended up with more of a patchwork secondary. They miraculously actually played mostly fine, save for a couple of players who were in over their head at that point.
Now some players have departed and some new players have been acquired. There’s even been a shift or two for a couple of players in terms of their perceived place on the depth chart. The result of all of this is a secondary that still looks pretty good. However, they do not have the same level of depth they had last year. Let’s take a look at this year’s Chargers secondary and speculate over whom we might see or not see out there.
Looking at the 2020 Los Angeles Chargers Defensive Backs
Remember how that safety group from last year was stacked? Well, that dynamic’s changed a bit now. Adrian Phillips departed in free agency, and Nasir Adderley appears to be settled at free safety now – meaning that if Derwin James gets injured again, there will be no proven backup at strong safety behind him. Their only other options would be two of last year’s practice squad guys (Tevaughn Campbell and Quenton Meeks) or the sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman. In other words, Chargers fans should probably just hope James doesn’t get injured again.
On the flip side, free safety looks a little better than last year now. Rayshawn Jenkins took advantage of all the injuries last year and had a pretty good year, pulling in a team-leading three interceptions (including a rare one of Patrick Mahomes). Meanwhile, Nasir Adderley seems to be on the outside looking in now with missing almost the entire season last year and Jenkins playing as well as he did. But at least if anything should happen to Jenkins (who didn’t miss any games last year), there’s someone behind him with some level of promise even if very little on-field experience.
The starters here are mostly pretty well set. Casey Hayward and Michael Davis will almost certainly be the top two corners. Hayward’s best days may be behind him, but he’s still their top corner for a reason. And Davis has come a long way since his rookie year.
The slot corner position is where things get a little interesting. They signed Chris Harris this off-season, but they still have Desmond King on the roster too. The thing is they’re both worthy of being starters, but they both have primarily played solely in that slot corner position most of the time. With Harris set to be the starter, that’s left King’s future in flux. At one time there was a belief that he could get moved to safety. The problem is that at free safety (presumably where he’d be moved) he’d have to contend with Jenkins, who’s probably earned a starting position at this point. Hence, trade rumors have started up regarding King. And at this point, trading him away may be the best choice unless he’s somehow willing to play backup. And that feels unlikely.
Brandon Facyson and Roderic Teamer will likely be next on the general depth chart. Hopefully, if they are forced into action, they’ll have made some improvements after struggling heavily in 2019. In Teamer’s defense, he was a rookie so anything’s possible in Year Two from him.
All in all, the starters for this year’s secondary do look pretty solid. The cornerback position in particular looks a little more set. The only issue is a possible lack of depth. But if this group stays healthy, they should be able to be a big part of what looks to be a very strong defensive unit as a whole in 2020.
Embed from Getty Images