The San Diego Chargers finally decided to clean house. With a new GM and head coach, they hope to return to the playoffs as soon as possible with a team that is going to look a lot different in 2013.
Probably the weakest area on the Chargers’ roster was the offensive line last year, and they lost arguably their best player in Louis Vasquez to the rival Denver Broncos. If San Diego is unable to protect Philip Rivers, things could get really ugly in a hurry.
Still, this team has a few intriguing playmakers on both sides of the ball, and some young players that could be primed for a breakout season. The Chargers made a couple of big splashes during and after the draft when they used a second round pick to select former Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o, and then signed pass rusher Dwight Freeney, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts.
The loss of Melvin Ingram could prove to be huge for the Chargers, so they are going to need some players to really step things up. Here are three players I think could have a big 2013 campaign, and we’ll look at one player from each of the last three rookie classes.
Third Year — Vincent Brown, WR
Many thought the 2011 third round pick would have a breakout season in 2012 after the Chargers lost Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he broke his ankle and missed the entire 2012 season.
With his ankle fully healed, Brown is back and ready to break out in 2013. He has been rotating with incumbent starting WR Malcom Floyd this offseason, and should be able to make a significant impact on the Chargers’ offense. Mike McCoy says that “without a doubt” Brown will be a big part of the team’s plans moving forward, and maybe we’ll see him working in the slot as well as on the outside.
Brown has excellent hands and runs good routes, and I think he is a real sleeper this season.