Prior to free agency, the Chargers had multiple superstar players on their roster. Justin Herbert, Joey Bosa, and Derwin James surely headlined the 2021 group, but after a massive spending spree that led to the team acquiring multiple All-Pro players, that group of elite talent on the roster increased ever more.
For some perspective on just how much top-tier talent the Bolts currently employ, we’re taking a look at Pete Prisco’s top-100 list of the best players in the NFL heading into this season because the Chargers have a whopping NINE players ranked. That’s one away from owning 1/10th of the entire list. That’s absolutely bonkers when you recall there’s 31 other teams in the league.
There’s likely not a lot of surprise as to which Chargers are the highest on this list, but I bet you all will have some thoughts on which players failed to crack the top half of the list.
Let’s take a look at all nine players, their rankings, and what Prisco had to say about each one.
20.) QB Justin Herbert
“He’s thrown 69 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, showing off his cannon for an arm and his ability to make big plays. This could be the year he emerges as a legitimate MVP candidate.”
23.) EDGE Joey Bosa
“He had 10.5 sacks last season, but that number will go up with Khalil Mack now on the other side. His best season came when Melvin Ingram got double-digit sacks on the other side. Mack should help him in a big way.”
43.) EDGE Khalil Mack
“He hasn’t had double-digit sacks in a season since 2018, getting just six last season when he was limited to seven games. But he’s still capable of being a 12-15 sack player and should flourish playing opposite Joey Bosa.”
53.) CB JC Jackson
“He had eight picks last year and was once again sticky in coverage for the Patriots. That earned him a big contract from the Chargers in free agency.”
60.) OT Rashawn Slater
“He came into the league as a rookie last year and immediately looked like he’d been around for a few years. He is already in the conversation as one of the best left tackles in the game. That was quick.”
65.) WR Keenan Allen
“He is coming off a season with a career-best 106 catches and remains a big part of the Chargers offense. He isn’t a big-play threat down the field, with an average of 10.7 yards per catch, but he is a reliable chain mover.”
74.)S Derwin James
“After being limited to five games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons because of injury, he played 15 games last season. He showed off his ability to play both the pass and the run in Brandon Staley’s defense.”
79.) RB Austin Ekeler
“He rushed for a career-best 911 yards and also caught 70 passes, proving to be one of the best all-round backs in the game. He also scored 20 touchdowns, making him a fantasy player’s delight.”
86.) Corey Linsley
“After signing as a free agent last spring, he solidified the line in front of Justin Herbert. That is a unit that needed an anchor in the middle, and he responded with a good season.”
At the end of the list, there was a sizable number of players named “honorable mentions” but no Chargers were included in that group.
After seeing the entire rankings, who missed out on the top 100 altogether? Which players are too high? Too low? Let me know all of your thoughts below!