An Early Look at the San Diego Chargers' 2009 Offseason

Brian HarrisContributor IJanuary 12, 2009

What a tragic end to a fascinating season for the 2008 Chargers. After starting out 4-8, the Chargers won five in a row to get into the divisional round of the playoffs and meet the Pittsburgh Steelers, who destroyed them yesterday 35-24.

Looking ahead to next season, the Chargers have to figure out what they're going do about their running back situation. Darren Sproles is set to be a free agent, and there have been some disturbing rumors about LT being traded in the offseason.

On a happier note, they can expect a healthy return of Shawne Merriman, which will increase the production of the pass rush that was virtually nonexistent this year, allowing opposing quarterbacks more time in the pocket to pick part San Diego's suddenly shaky secondary.

One of the Chargers' biggest needs heading into the 2009 season is a physical in the box, knock you out type safety. The one guy I would love to see in a Charger uniform next  year fits that description, and that's Brian Dawkins. I know it seems far-fetched, but wouldn't that be something?

Anyway, there's not much safety talent in this coming draft, so I think if the Chargers are going to address that position, it's going to be later in the draft or in free agency.

Another position of importance is the O-line, and the Chargers are in desperate need of an upgrade on the right side, where Goff and Clary are very, very average starters at best. Offensive tackle is the one position I think has the most depth in this year's draft; the Chargers could possibly find a good RT as late as the third or fourth round.

Middle linebacker is also a pressing need, and I think Rey Maualuga would fit in nicely in the middle of the Chargers defense. The Chargers will also try to upgrade the D-line and find a backup running back in the later rounds of the draft.