With the second best passing defense in the NFL, the Los Angeles Chargers are sporting the best secondary the franchise has ever seen.
Led by All-Pro cornerback, Casey Hayward, the Chargers allowed an average of under 200 passing yards per game, throughout the 2017 season. To put that in perspective, Joe Flacco passed for about 196 yards per game. So, the Chargers basically turned every opposing quarterback into Joe Flacco. And despite what some of you Ravens fans think, Joe Flacco is 100 percent, not an elite quarterback. Now lets take a look at how the Chargers cornerbacks and safeties performed throughout the 2017 regular season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Hayward was the highest-rated cornerback in the league and fifth best overall player. Now obviously no one is trying to argue that Hayward is the fifth best player in the league, but the fact that Hayward is ranked that high on a widely trusted NFL site, shows you how dominant he is on the field. This season alone, Hayward defended a career-high 22 passes and intercepted four of them. From week 6-12, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 1.6 versus him. Clearly one of, if not the best cornerback in the game today. Hayward will look to lead another top 3 secondary into next season.
The Robin to Casey Hayward’s Batman, Williams’ sophomore year wasn’t too shabby. Ranked as a top 10 cornerback by Pro Football Focus, Williams showed great improvement from his rookie year. One of the best deep-ball defenders in the league, he allowed a deep-passer rating of just 49.6. What’s incredible about this stat is that quarterbacks are likely to shy away from Hayward on big plays, which means Williams would be the guy to pick on. But, when you have two elite cornerbacks on either end of the field, quarterbacks become flustered and mistake-ridden. If Trevor Williams can continue to cover the deep ball while working on his jamming skills, he could become a future All-Pro.
The fifth-round pick was quick to impress in his rookie season. Ranked as the 14th best cornerback by Pro Football Focus, King thrived on the field. His breakout play came on Thanksgiving versus the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did he record his first career interception on national television, but he returned it for a ninety-yard pick-six. In addition to his ability to cover, he was the Chargers best run defender at the cornerback position – recording almost 4 tackles a game. King also recorded 4.0 sacks on the year, which is better than some of the games best defensive linemen. But now that his rookie season has come to an end, all eyes will be on King to continue and improve his game.
Although he may not be perceived as a premier NFL safety, Jahleel Addae is as reliable on the run as any safety in the league. Nicknamed, “The Predator”, Jahleel Addae is a heat-sinking missile on the field. Easily the Chargers hardest hitter, Addae recorded a career-high sixty-six tackles last season. He may not be the greatest cover safety, but he’s respectable on the deep ball and can protect the middle of the field.
Pending free agent Tre Boston had a solid 2017 campaign as a Los Angeles Charger. A great coverage safety, Boston recorded 5 interceptions on the season, leading Los Angeles. This is an amazing statistic considering he shares the field with three of the fifteen best cornerbacks in the league. He recorded a further 8 passes defended, along with fifty-six tackles. I know many Chargers fans would be fine seeing Boston walk, but if Los Angeles can keep him under a relatively cheap contract, I see no reason to let him go.
Overall Grade: A
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0