SAN DIEGO -- Safety Eric Weddle earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors for a second straight season, while the addition of Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett helped solidify things at cornerback for the San Diego Chargers. Still, there's room for improvement with this position group.
The good: Weddle led the Chargers with 114 combined tackles, the third time in his eight-year career that he finished with at least 100 tackles in a season. Weddle also forced two fumbles, corralled an interception and finished with eight pass breakups. Weddle is the only safety in the NFL named first or second-team All-Pro for five straight seasons. Flowers served as a significant upgrade to San Diego's ailing defensive backfield. The Virginia Tech product added toughness and versatility to the Chargers' secondary. Flowers finished with 52 combined tackles, led the team with three interceptions and also totaled 10 pass breakups. San Diego allowed 259 passing yards per game last year (29th in the NFL), but that number dipped to 214 in 2014 (fourth in the NFL).
The bad: While San Diego's pass defense was improved, the Chargers totaled just seven interceptions in 2014, tied for 28th in the NFL. San Diego also allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 91.3 (No. 20 in the NFL). Verrett showed why the Chargers selected him in the first round last year by making athletic plays. However, he only made it through six games, with a second torn labrum requiring season-ending surgery.
The money: Weddle is scheduled to make $7.5 million in total compensation and count $10 million against the cap in 2015. Weddle said that if the Chargers don't attempt to restructure his deal during the offseason, it's a sign he won't be around past the upcoming season. Flowers exceeded expectations, and should be brought back on a sensible, multi-year deal. Although with Flowers turning 29 this month, age could be a concern. Gilchrist and Wright were solid contributors last season, but likely will be allowed to test the waters in free agency.
Draft priority: High. Although improved, the Chargers still have one of the smallest defensive backfields in the NFL. So adding a physical playmaker like the University of Washington's Shaq Thompson could serve as an upgrade for defensive coordinator John Pagano's secondary. Yes, Thompson is listed as an outside linebacker. But he's versatile enough to play several different spots in Pagano's defense. A taller press corner like Byron Maxwell of the Seattle Seahawks also could make some sense.