SAN DIEGO -- Biggest post-draft questions still to be answered by the Los Angeles Chargers:
Where's the eventual replacement for Philip Rivers? The Chargers did extensive work on this year's quarterback class but for a fourth straight season did not select a signalcaller in the draft. Although Philip Rivers has started 176 straight games, he turns 36 in December, and at some point the Chargers have to develop a succession plan for the North Carolina State product. General manager Tom Telesco has drafted just one quarterback since joining the Chargers -- Brad Sorensen, a seventh-round selection in 2013. Sorensen is no longer with the team. The Chargers do have two young quarterbacks currently on the roster in Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins, both of whom were undrafted. But as it stands right now, there appears to be no eventual replacement for Rivers. "When you go into the draft, there's a lot of different things you'd like to do and don't always get it all done," Telesco said when asked about not selecting a quarterback. "There were a couple situations where we thought it might happen, but we didn't quite get there."
Where's the speed? The Chargers selected three offensive linemen, addressing an area where the team needed to add more talent. However, another area of focus should have been increasing overall team speed. The Chargers finished in the bottom third of the league in kick return and punt return average last year. The Chargers have not had a kick or punt returned for a touchdown since December 2012. On defense, the Chargers allowed 53 passing plays of 20-plus yards last season, tied for 20th in the NFL. More speed is needed for the Chargers in the back end defensively and in the return game.
Where's the pass-rush help? The Chargers have two talented edge-rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Along with those two, Jeremiah Attaochu and Chris Landrum are capable backups as edge-rushers. Still, the Chargers totaled just 35 sacks in 2016, tied for 14th in the NFL. Telesco also noted that his team's pass rush was ineffective in the fourth quarter last season, yet the Chargers drafted just one defensive lineman, Notre Dame defensive end Isaac Rochell in the seventh round. The Chargers finished with 10 fourth-quarter sacks last season, tied for No. 15 in the NFL.
Where's the complementary back for Melvin Gordon? New head coach Anthony Lynn has said the Chargers will lean on the run game more in 2017, creating more balance on offense. Lynn identified Melvin Gordon as the team's workhorse running back but also mentioned the team needs a tandem runner to complement the Wisconsin product. The Chargers lost someone who could have served in that role when Danny Woodhead signed with the Baltimore Ravens in free agency. The Chargers did not draft a running back, so Lynn must feel comfortable with the guys already on the roster, which include Andre Williams, Branden Oliver, Kenjon Barner and Kenneth Farrow. The Chargers also signed undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler out of Division II Western State Colorado. "I didn't want to reach for a guy," Lynn said about not taking a running back in this year's draft. "If the right value was there, then that's something we definitely would have taken a look at. But I'm fine with the backs we have on the roster right now. I think these guys are going to do a really good job."