San Diego Chargers' Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions

Marcelo VillaFeatured Columnist IIIJuly 1, 2013

San Diego Chargers' Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions

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    Of all the moves Tom Telesco made during his first offseason as San Diego Chargers GM, five stand out as being either overrated or underrated.

    Overall, Telesco has maneuvered free agency to San Diego's benefit, replacing departures while adding new talent. There are, however, a few players that may seem like home run pickups but could end up topping out in the latter half of their careers.

Underrated

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    Name: Jahleel Addae

    Position: Safety

    Signed: 04/28/2013

    Jahleel Addae wasn't even invited to the combine despite participating in the East-West Shrine Game, and that chip on his shoulder got even bigger when he went undrafted.

    The two-time Central Michigan University defensive player of the year will compete to make the 53-man roster this season, and his chances could improve with uncertainty at strong safety.

    According to ESPN AFC West blogger Bill Williamson, Addae had a strong spring.

    At best, Addae could be a special teams player for the Chargers, but he has the potential to break into the competition at strong safety.

Underrated

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    Name: Kwame Geathers

    Position: Defensive Tackle

    Signed: 04/28/2013

    Kwame Geathers may have went undrafted coming out of Georgia, but he couldn't have wound up in a better place to compete for a roster spot.

    The Chargers have thin depth at defensive tackle with Cam Thomas as the lone starter set to return next season. Not only will Geathers have the opportunity to make the team, but he could very well get some playing time.

    The former Bulldog comes from a football family—his brother Robert plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, his other brother Clifton is a Philadelphia Eagle and his uncle and father played in the NFL.

Overrated

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    Name: Max Starks

    Position: Offensive Tackle

    Signed: 05/21/2013

    If you asked me who I'd rather have protecting my franchise quarterback between King Dunlap and Max Starks, I'd say Starks hands down.

    Still, the signing of the nine-year veteran has some drawbacks.

    At 31, Starks has entered the latter portion of his career and the league's best pass-rushers are getting younger and faster. The fact that Starks will face Von Miller twice next season scares me.

    I admit the former Pittsburgh Steeler is a definite upgrade from Jared Gaither or Mike Harris, but he isn't invincible.

Underrated

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    Name: D.J. Smith

    Position: Inside Linebacker

    Claimed: 4/25/2013

    D.J. Smith was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round in 2011 and managed to play in 16 games during his rookie season, including three starts.

    The following year, Smith had worked his way into the starting mix at linebacker before an ACL tear cut his season short. In six starts, Smith finished the year with 39 tackles and two sacks. After failing a physical, Smith was waived by the Packers before the Chargers claimed him in late April.

    Before his injury, Smith looked to be on his way up as a young player, and it was a bit surprising to see the Packers give up on his development. 

    Smith can be a future starter in San Diego, but he'll need time to recover from his injury.

Overrated

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    Name: Dwight Freeney

    Position: Outside Linebacker

    Signed: 05/18/2013

    After 11 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Dwight Freeney packed his bags and headed West to San Diego, where he'll replace the injured Melvin Ingram. 

    The seven-time Pro Bowler made headline news when he opted to sign with the Chargers, but the media was quick to question how Freeney would fit in San Diego's defensive scheme.

    Given the hype and high expectations for Freeney to excel right out of the gate, especially after one of his least productive seasons with the Colts, I have to label this move as an overrated one.

    I applaud Telesco's efforts for bringing in a seasoned veteran on such short notice given the tight cap space, but Freeney and Ingram bring different things to the table on defense.

    Ingram was successful in his rookie season because he was athletic enough to stop the run and rush the passer. Freeney, on the other hand, struggled to find his role in Indy's hybrid 3-4 defense.

    Freeney will get his hands on opposing quarterbacks, but he won't make much of an impact elsewhere.