A glance around the field during their two-day mandatory minicamp confirmed that the Chargers have plenty of star power to deliver a deep playoff run in coach Brandon Staley's second season.
Justin Herbert returns for his third season with the ability to establish himself as one of the league's top quarterbacks after throwing 38 touchdown passes, to 15 interceptions, in 2021. He'll have receivers Mike Williams (76 reception, 1,146 yards and nine touchdown receptions last season) and Keenan Allen (106 receptions, 1,138 yards and six touchdowns) at his disposal.
On defense, the Bolts invested big money and future draft capital into a unit that ranked a disappointing No. 29 in points allowed per game (27.0) and No. 26 in efficiency in Staley's first year. After a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bears, All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack joins four-time Pro Bowl selection Joey Bosa to create a formidable pass rush. Cornerback J.C. Jackson, the league leader in interceptions since 2018 (25), joins All-Pro safety Derwin James Jr. in what should become a ball-hawking secondary.
Most starting jobs are accounted for as the Chargers look ahead to training camp, but building reliable depth will prove crucial to making it through a 17-game season and beyond.
Perhaps the biggest question going into training camp is how quickly their stars, particularly on defense, can create chemistry.
Here is a roster projection:
There's no mystery who the starting quarterback will be, with Hebert returning to lead the offense. Herbert finished last season ranked No. 3 in the NFL --- behind only future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford -- in touchdown passes. The only question will be whether the former No. 6 overall pick is ready to lead the Bolts to a deep playoff run, even one that ends in the Super Bowl.