The Chargers will count on many strong draft classes to build a championship-level roster; however, one class in particular must step up to bring the team to a Super Bowl: The 2017 draft class. From the steady contributions of small-role players to the improvement of many starters, this draft class holds the key to the Chargers performing well in the postseason.
From this list, only two are not expected to have a starting role this season: Rayshawn Jenkins and Isaac Rochell. Jenkins may have the smallest snap count number this season, having played just 9.27 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2018. Though he may have had a larger role this season, the starting free safety job will all but likely end up with 2019 second-round selection Nasir Adderley.
Rochell, though a projected non-starter behind Joey Bosa, will likely continue to have a significant rotational role. In 2018, the former seventh-round selection played in an about 40 percent of the defensive snaps. Rochell was asked to fill in for Bosa as he recovered from an injury, notching a career-high five sacks throughout the regular season.
Then comes Desmond King, arguably the team’s most impactful all-around player on defense. King will continue his role as both a returner and a corner, where he earned Second and First-Team All-Pro honors last year, respectively. His role on defense, with the additions of Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderley, will serve to make the Chargers’ defensive unit unbeatable.
So, if Jenkins, Rochell, and King, three impactful players in their own right, are expected to continue their 2018 roles, how is the 2017 class the key to the Super Bowl? Simple (or not): the development of the other four members of the class.