COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The offseason officially begins for the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday, with players participating in strength and conditioning drills led by strength coach John Lott.
We detailed those workouts last year -- including players running bare foot -- and the reasons for them. The change of approach in the team's offseason conditioning program appeared to lead to a reduction in injuries during the regular season.
Monday will be our first chance to see how season-ending injuries to players like Forrest Lamp and Jason Verrett are progressing, along with meeting new players like center Mike Pouncey, tight end Virgil Green and kicker Caleb Sturgis.
That said, let's take a look at two questions from this week's mailbag:
who do you think are the top 5 players on the chargers draft board at 17?
— 9-7 (@TyrellMoss16) April 14, 2018
@eric_d_williams: The Chargers' top four needs in no particular order are safety, offensive tackle, linebacker and defensive tackle.
Three players I think the Chargers would love to fall to No. 17, but likely will not drop that far are Florida State safety Derwin James, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.
So, at No. 17 I could see the Chargers targeting five players: Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, Alabama defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson and UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
Let's just get this out of the way: I know there's been a lot of talk about the Chargers doing their homework on the quarterback position, but I do not believe they will take Jackson at No. 17.
The Chargers have other needs and cannot afford a luxury pick like Jackson in the first round.
Yes, Philip Rivers turns 36 years old in December, but he can play at a winning level for another three years. The Bolts need to draft an impact player that can help them consistently win games this year.
Vea a big body who could provide much-needed interior pass rush, while Payne is one of the best run stuffers in the draft.
Evans provides versatility, production and physicality to the second level of a defense.
Miller has not been mentioned much as a possibility for the Chargers at No. 17, but Bolts' offensive line coach Pat Meyer and assistant offensive line coach Marc Ridgley worked the UCLA product out at his pro day last month.
At 6-8 ½ and 310 pounds, Miller put together one of the most impressive performances by an offensive tackle at the NFL scouting combine in recent memory, as NFL Research points out here.
Miller has decent film out there, particularly against USC last year, as the NFL Network's Brian Baldinger points to here.
What position do you see Chargers going on day 2 of draft?
— Rob Guyas (@RG8847) April 7, 2018
This year, I could see the Chargers targeting defensive players on Day 2. The Bolts have been taking a close look at USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu. The Chargers also worked out USC defensive lineman Rasheem Green and Utah's Kylie Fitts at the team's local pro day this week.
Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates also has been linked to the Chargers as a Day 2 selection in some mock drafts.
Another player that could make sense on Day 2 if the Chargers are looking for a complementary back for Melvin Gordon is San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny. Chargers running backs coach Alfredo Roberts attended Penny's pro day at San Diego State last month.