Recently, ESPN's Bill Barnwell ranked the best defensive triplets from each team in the NFL -- meaning, the top three players from each defense.
The Chargers, who finished last season 13th in the league in total defense -- pretty much middle of the pack, but an improvement over the year before, when they finished 24th -- ranked in the bottom third for Barnwell, who placed them 24th, calling out cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers, as well as defensive tackle Corey Liuget as his best players.
According to Barnwell:
"The Chargers invested heavily in upgrading their defense this offseason, using the third overall pick on Joey Bosa while signing Brandon Mebane, Casey Hayward and Dwight Lowery. The Chargers will certainly be deeper, which will reduce the number of snaps that went to sub-replacement players such as Donald Butler and Jimmy Wilson, both of whom left this offseason. That will help the team overall, but the only real star on the defense is Verrett, and even he has missed 12 of his first 32 games as a pro."
My take: While I can understand Barnwell's hesitation to place this defense any higher, I would argue that Denzel Perryman and Melvin Ingram had more production last season and look to have more upside as well. The front seven of this defense -- which includes Perryman, Ingram, Manti Te'o, Jerry Attaochu and newly signed first-round draft pick Joey Bosa -- may have a strong season, if all can stay healthy.
Barnwell also ranked the best offensive triplets, and the Chargers fared better in that list -- (14th) -- with quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Melvin Gordon and wide receiver Keenan Allen making the cut.