The AFC West won’t get any easier in 2014, a daunting realization for the rejuvenated San Diego Chargers.
Denver and Kansas City don’t appear to be falling out of contention any time soon, unless of course Peyton Manning decides to hang up the cleats. But that won’t happen now, not after his team was blown out in the Super Bowl.
So, what can the Chargers do? They definitely built momentum in 2013 with an improved offensive line and an imposing defense that punished teams at the line of scrimmage.
Adding some more offensive firepower, particularly players who can win one-on-one battles for Philip Rivers, is an ideal first step.
On defense, the team needs the exact opposite. Defenders who can win those contested battles by lining up and simply overmatching their assignments would help the unit completely stifle opposing offenses.
If GM Tom Telesco can prove last year’s masterful offseason wasn’t a fluke by snagging at least three starters from the deep 2014 class—like he did from the 2013 draft—the Chargers could keep pace with their division and be in position to contend for a second-consecutive playoff berth.
Before the draft, let's take a look at what the starting lineup the Chargers will be putting on the field next season might look like, with three projected draft picks added to the mix.