Upgrades for the Chargers’ Defensive Line?

Updated: Feb 28

The Los Angeles Chargers had huge holes on their interior defensive line last season. Once injuries occurred, it was even more obvious how bad their depth was in that position group.

We can talk about Chargers drafting a 1st round defensive lineman all day, but that pick would only add one player.

With Linval Joseph, Christian Covington, and Justin Jones all being free agents this offseason, Jerry Tillery, Brandon Fehoko, and Joe Gaziano are the only DTs on the roster, with Forrest Merrill and Andrew Brown on futures contracts.

Although Fehoko, Gaziano, and Merrill have played well, they were back and forth from practice squad to active roster. They can be good as depth, but the Chargers need better.

There are a few defensive linemen that the Chargers should look at in free Agency:

Jarren Reed

A football player sacking a 49er.
Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed pressures San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens during a game on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times/TNS)

Jarren Reed is a 6'3 306-pound Defensive Tackle that has played for the Seahawks and the Chiefs. He does well against the run, controlling gaps well and holding his own against double-teams to prevent being driven out of plays.

Reed also does well winning one-on-one battles in the passing game. In 2018, he tallied 10.5 sacks as a Seahawk and has 24.5 sacks total in his 6-year career.

Reed has had run-ins with the law while in the NFL, so any interest from the Chargers would be surprising.

Reed would likely cost the Chargers between $5-7 million a year.

Larry Ogunjobi

Larry Ogunjobi is a 6'4, 305-pound DT. He can shoot gaps and push the pocket.

Ogunjobi can play in multiple techniques, but is really good at the 3 technique. His prescense on the interior line could help Bosa get freed up more.

In 4 years with the Browns, Ogunjobi totaled 14.5 sacks. He grabbed 7 sacks last year and totaled 21.5 over his 5-year career.

Ogunjobi suffered a foot injury in the wildcard round of the playoffs and missed the rest of the postseason. That injury might lead to a discount.

I think he would cost the Chargers around $8-$10 million a year.

Brandon Williams

A football player just missing another football player.
Brandon Williams attempts to tackle former Bengals QB Andy Dalton (Sports Illustrated)

Williams is 6'1 336 lbs. He is considered one of the best run stuffers in the league. But that is his one skill set; he is not much of a difference-maker against the pass. Still, the Chargers big problem last season was stopping the run, making Williams worth a close look.

Williams started out sluggish last season, and did not look like the Brandon Williams from previous years. Still, he finished the year strong.

Durability has been an asset: Williams has been in the league 9 years and missed 3 games—in the middle of the season—with a shoulder injury.

His age, slow start to his last season, and possibly his injury could make for a cheaper deal: $8 million a year seems right.

Williams has said that he will stay with the Ravens as long as they want him: we just have to see if Baltimore does indeed want to keep him. Combining a high draft pick, one of the players above and resigning Justin Jones (wow: I said that) will help mprove the Chargers defensive line issues without breaking bank—especially in the running game. By not breaking the bank, the Chargers can get quality offensive lineman to protect the franchise—Justin Herbert, that is—and still have an opportunity to bolster the cornerbacks to help increase turnovers.



John Kegley is a Contributing Writer at Riverslake.org and a Private First Class in the US Army.

He is a longtime sports commentator known for his sharp analysis and take no prisoners style. His credits include co-hosting Locked on Chargers, San Diego Sports Domination, Chargers Domination Live and Aztec Domination Live. He has been a Chargers Fan since 2004