Melvin Ingram, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker
Ingram was the last first-round pick of the A.J. Smith era, which in theory could mean general manager Tom Telesco might not be as inclined to pay big money for Ingram.
Considering the improvements in the Chargers’ pass rush from 2015 to 2016, however, the team will have to think long and hard about whether it can afford to lose the 2012 first-round pick. Ingram teamed with Joey Bosa to form one of the best edge rushing pairs in all of football. Being able to retain the linebacker and keep one of the league’s strongest front sevens intact would be huge for the Chargers, new head coach Anthony Lynn and his defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
One bright spot in 2016: special teams. The punts were pretty short, but the Eagles ranked fourth in field goal efficiency, ninth in kickoffs, and 30th in punt returns on the way to a No. 30 ranking in Special Teams S&P+.
Sophomore Tyler Bass was responsible for the kickoffs and might be a decent replacement for placekicker Younghoe Koo, but the departure of both Koo and punt returner Montay Crockett hurts.
Summers has recruited well here. We’ll see how quickly that can make a difference. Four three-star freshman ends could make a difference, along with three freshman linebackers and a JUCO transfer (Tomarcio Reese). If you can get contributions from a couple, and you luck out from an injuries perspective, maybe you can duct tape a decent front seven together.
Injuries could be devastating, though. End Logan Hunt and tackle Darrius Sapp are the only returning linemen with more than two tackles last year, and senior Chris DeLaRosa and sophomore Todd Bradley are the only linebackers with more than 2.5. There are a lot of former three-star guys up front (not just the freshmen); they’ll need to play like it.