The Chargers have had an excellent off-season so far, and are looking forward to improving this season. Free agents, draft picks, trades, and another year under the belt of Anthony Lynn should make for an exciting combination. That does not mean that the Chargers are a finished product though. A lot of turnover means that guys are looking to understand their role, and what kind of impact they’re going to have this season.
The two players that have the most hinging on this season because it’s their “make-or-break moment”, are Nasir Adderley and Mike Williams. Williams has had an interesting start to his career after a non-existent rookie season, a touchdown explosion in his second year, and an up and down third year that resulted in 1,000 yards receiving. Adderley had high expectations last year but fell to the injury bug, and both are easy choices for the next possible Chargers star because they have a chance at making a big difference.
One Breakout Chargers Star On Offense And Defense
Undeniably Adderley is on the top of everyone’s potential breakout star list this year for the Chargers. For a good reason as well; he showed flashes of brilliance last season before missing the rest of the season after four games.
He proved he had excellent ball tracking skills and good hands to disrupt plays, the type of guy they wanted opposite of Derwin James. While the Chargers secondary is going to be a strength this season, it’s not without holes. This is the type of unit that when you bring in five quality guys, they can be cohesive. It is also the type where if one player falters, you could see a domino effect.
Casey Hayward and James are locked into their starting spots. Harris and King are both talented but are fighting for the same spot while battling advancing age and ineffectiveness last season.
Then there is Rayshawn Jenkins, who played well in replacement of Adderley last season. Jenkins is a much larger and more athletic profile than Adderley. He offers a totally different playing style, one that is similar to Derwin James, and might be better suited for the Dime/Sam linebacker, instead of safety combo.
This would allow Gus Bradley to not pigeon hole Adderley into a corner/dime role that he’s not athletic enough to convert to. Adderley allows everyone to find a natural role in the system while letting Harris and King rotate off of one another. He also offers a complementary skill set to star Derwin James. If he can put it all together this year, and stay healthy, there is a lot of opportunity to shine as teams look to avoid James and Hayward.
Of the two, Williams is a more interesting discussion to me because I think he’s going to be a more crucial piece of an offense that has undergone big changes. Rivers is gone, Gordon is gone, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry have had their checkered injury history. Not to mention we might have a quarterback change sometime in the middle of the season.
All that said, Williams is a 6’4 wideout with 4.59 speed and comes from a Clemson receiving corps pedigree. He’s gone for 10 touchdowns, and 1,000 yards but in different seasons. Factor that in with his injuries as well, and he’s been inconsistent.
But with so much of the offense shifting and finding their place, Williams will be hitting the prime of his football career and there’s always going to be a place for big-fast guys who catch deep balls. If he can clean up some of his route running this season, that offense has a lot of touchdowns and yards up for grabs.
Young, inconsistent, and looking to make a mark in the league are exactly the type of players the Chargers can gain a lot of value from. Making sure Williams and Adderley have their roles carved out is going to be essential to taking the load off of some of the other stars. Allowing the Chargers to have a plethora of quality players to pick and choose from is going to be key this season. It is going to allow them to ease in the big changes made offensively and lessen some of the playing time that wears big-name players down. The type of complementary pieces that take a team from good to scary if they’re playing well. Both really offer a unique skill set that the team doesn’t have a lot of, so look for them to contribute in a big way this season.
Who do you think will have the bigger breakout year?