The San Diego Chargers at one point in the 2013 season had arguably the worst pass defense in the entire NFL. Many different factors played into that, not the least of which was that the team was missing their top pass rusher in Melvin Ingram, who was recovering from a torn ACL.
But the Chargers didn’t exactly have the strongest group of cornerbacks either. They improved as the season went along and even actually played some good football in the playoffs, but San Diego obviously identified cornerback as a top need this offseason and they attacked it with some very solid players, albeit on the small side.
The Chargers added 5’9″ Jason Verrett with their first round pick (25th overall) out of TCU and they also jumped at the opportunity to sign Pro Bowl corner Brandon Flowers, who was released from the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in June.
While Flowers has already established himself as one of the top zone corners in the NFL, Verrett has a chance to prove his worth at a couple of different spots. With Shareece Wright, Richard Marshall, and some others competing for #2 corner duties alongside Flowers, I think the Chargers will throw Verrett into the competition there but I also view the nickel cornerback spot as his to lose.
Verrett has phenomenal speed, a feisty mentality on the field, and excellent ball skills. He displayed traits at TCU that lead me to believe he can shadow slot receivers and provide a physical presence defensively that the Chargers desperately needed.
Now, an area of the team that once looked like a major weakness has been reborn and now appears to be an area of strength in San Diego. The Chargers’ defense has gotten a huge jolt from these two additions, and they both complement each other pretty well. The only thing they aren’t is six-feet tall, but that’s not a huge problem for San Diego right now. They have guys who can pick up the slack on the back end like Eric Weddle, who is one of the best safeties in the NFL.
I really loved what the Chargers were able to do this offseason, adding to some of their already impressive defensive talent. You look at guys in the front seven like Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, Melvin Ingram, Donald Butler, and Manti Te’o now grouped with the secondary that includes Flowers, Verrett, and Weddle, and these guys have something cooking.
The Chargers also used their second round pick in the draft this year on Georgia Tech pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu, a player who is raw but has a ton of talent and can contribute as a rookie in sub packages.
San Diego’s secondary is going to have some opportunities at the football and I think they’ll be able to create a lot more turnovers this year because of it.