Chargers have one of the best rosters in the NFL

After a disappointing 9-8 finish in 2021, and three losses in the final four games, the Los Angeles Chargers were determined to take their surplus salary cap space and improve the roster. After aggressively attacking free agency, the roster has improved, and it is noticeable throughout the potential 53-man Charger roster.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently came out with their ranking of the top 32 rosters in the NFL and the Chargers were ranked No. 3 in the NFL. The Buffalo Bills were ranked No. 1, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were ranked No. 2 and the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams No. 4.

PFF rated the newly acquired defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day as the X factor for 2022. Brought in to improve the run defense, Joseph-Day played for Charger head coach Brandon Staley in 2020, when both were with the Rams and Staley was in-charge of the Rams defense. The addition of Joseph-Day is a huge addition, both physically and mentally. He is not only tough against the run, but he also understands the Staley defense, which some players struggled with at times.

"I would say it's complex," said Joseph-Day. "I would say it adapts. It adapts to whoever we play, and I think that's what makes Coach Staley such a great coach, what makes his defense such a complex defense. He's able to adapt to whoever we're playing, at least with my time and past experience with him. We were able to play multiple things, we do multiple coverages and stuff like that. So, it's pretty cool. I think we're very adaptable, and it's very cool to see."

Another unsung addition was the signing of free agent wide receiver DeAndre Carter. At last Wednesday's practice Carter made a couple of tough catches and was able to get separation. Carter was brought in to return punts and kickoffs, but he can also be a productive receiver. Staley has been happy with his addition to the roster.

"You're seeing it well," Staley said. "He really got off to a good start with our quarterbacks in the springtime. He's a very good receiver. He's not just a return specialist. This guy can play offense, he can play in the slot and he can play out wide. He's very good after the catch. He can run with the football. We're glad to have him. He has fit in well with our football team. Really thankful that he's here."

Staley is also happy to see the return of tight end Donald Parham to the lineup. Parham suffered a concussion in Week 15 that ended his regular season. Parham is a 6-foot-8 tight end who runs well and has improved as a blocker. He is a terrific red-zone target and has a lot of upside. Parham looked good in Wednesday's practice at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa. Staley sees improvement in Parham.

"A lot of improvement as a player, just becoming a complete tight end in the league," said Staley. "I know that our quarterbacks have an enormous amount of confidence in him. He's shown to make a lot of big plays in the passing game. I think that he improves as a blocker every time out there. It just gives us a lot of flexibility in how we can play. He's had a very good camp. I'm really proud of him."

Tight end Gerald Everett, acquired last spring in free agency, is another former Ram who played with Staley. Everett will be the likely starter at tight end. Everett was asked about the tight end group, specifically Parham. "He's huge [laughter]. He's like LeBron [James] playing tight end. I definitely want to complement him and Tre' [McKitty, tight end). We're going to have a great unit."

The 2022 roster is the deepest and the best the Chargers have had in Los Angeles. But the main guy and the leader is quarterback Justin Herbert. Joseph-Day was quick to recognize the talent of Herbert. "He's everything I've heard," Joseph-Day said. "Unreal talent, great arm, has a laser, put things on a dot, calm, cool and collected in the pocket, goes through all of his reads. The guy is a stud. It's crazy because he's a lot bigger than I thought. I remember when I first met him, he came up to me and introduced himself. I was like, 'Dang, this guy is kind of tall. This guy could be playing D-end if he wanted to if he put a few pounds on.' He's a stud. I'm happy to be on a team with him, that's for sure."


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