It’s been a long couple of years for the franchise now known as the Los Angeles Chargers. After finishing 9-7 and reaching the playoffs back in 2013 under first-time NFL head coach Mike McCoy, the club matched that record one year later. However, the Bolts failed to qualify for the postseason. In ’16, the Chargers finished 5-11 following a disappointing 4-12 showing the season before. That was enough to cost McCoy his job. Enter Anthony Lynn, a former assistant with the Buffalo Bills who has climbed the ranks in recent years. Meanwhile, general manager Tom Telesco has seven picks in April’s draft (one in each round) at his disposal.

What the team needs

The Los Angeles Chargers weren’t overly active when it came to adding veteran free agents this offseason. The club signed tackle Russell Okung (Denver Broncos) to replace King Dunlap. Meanwhile, running back Kenjon Barner (Philadelphia Eagles) backs up Melvin Gordon and will try to fill the void left by the departure of Danny Woodhead. One of the team’s biggest problems this past season was ball security. The Chargers racked up an NFL-high 35 turnovers in ’16, but they won’t find any solutions for that in the draft. The defense was very respectable this past year. Cornerback Casey Hayward led the league with seven interceptions. Defensive end Joey Bosa totaled 10.5 sacks and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Still, there are some question marks on the offensive line, inside linebacker and free safety. Manti Te’o signed with the New Orleans Saints while nine-year safety Dwight Lowery struggled against the run. And the Bolts not only parted ways with Dunlap up front but right guard D.J. Fluker as well.

Top choices

Per CBS Sports and NFLDratScout.com, Ohio State free safety Malik Hooker is the top-ranked player at his position and figures to be a Top 10 selection in this draft. At inside linebacker, Alabama’s Reuben Foster and Florida’s Jarrad Davis are also first-round possibilities. In the second or third round, the Bolts could look for interior offensive line help.

Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky will likely be gone by then but there are plenty of other prospects. Finally, are the Los Angeles Chargers starting to think about a successor to quarterback Philip Rivers? And could Telesco use the seventh overall selection to find his heir apparent? That may be a bit of a reach but never say never, as well all know.

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