With free agency and the draft still ahead, the Chargers’ roster will undergo some changes over the next few months.
But before the shuffling begins, let’s take an early look at the players under contract who could be positioned to break out when the 2023 season kicks off.
G Zion Johnson
Johnson was thrown into the fire in his first season, filling in as the team’s starting right guard from the get-go. He experienced typical rookie growing pains. They primarily came in pass protection, where he allowed 40 pressures and seven sacks. However, he was steadily strong as a run blocker alongside Trey Pipkins on the right side of the offensive line. With an entire offseason to improve his game, Johnson should grow into a good, complete player at the position for years to come.
RB Joshua Kelley
Kelley competed for the No. 2 spot with Sony Michel early in the season and missed four games with a sprained MCL, but he solidified himself as the bonafide backup by the end of the year. Kelley finished the season with 69 carries for 287 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns and caught 14 of his 25 targets for 101 yards. With Kellen Moore overseeing the offense, he will emphasize improving the run game and has had proven success. The Cowboys had the seventh-best rushing offense while Moore was their offensive coordinator. Therefore, Kelley could be in for a fine third season.
CB Ja’Sir Taylor
The Chargers drafted Taylor as a core special teams player, which he proved to be. Taylor was outstanding in his role as a punt coverage gunner. Taylor ended up seeing some playing time on the defensive side of the ball toward the back end of the season. Taylor had some lapses in coverage, especially when he had to play as an outside corner. But his standout performance came in the big primetime win over the Dolphins, where he locked down Jaylen Waddle, showing glimpses of a solid slot corner. Additionally, he came on strong as a tackler in open space and a blitzer. With Bryce Callahan set to be a free agent in March, that could lead to a more prominent role for Taylor in his second season. And with what he showed inside, there’s no denying that he could be a key contributor.
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