The San Diego Chargers continue to feature one of the best rosters in the league with one exception: special teams. They were terrible on special teams which is a large reason they didn't make the playoffs in 2010. With the 2011 NFL draft complete, let's look at the needs the Chargers addressed as well as which needs remain as free agency (possibly) looms.
Needs addressed in the 2011 NFL draft: The Chargers had a solid draft and it started with DT Corey Liuget in the first round. The Chargers had to be happy he fell and he also fills up the future of the nose tackle which is a very difficult position to fill. Though it's not their biggest need, it's one of those picks you have to make. I would say the overall theme of the Chargers draft was fixing special teams.They picked up LB Jonas Mouton in the second round which seemed a little early but he's also one of the best special teamers in the draft so you can see where GM A.J. Smith's focus was. WR Vincent Brown was selected in the fourth round and, while he isn't an explosive receiver, he'll run solid routes and be another body for a position that was trashed by injuries last year.
Remaining needs: The Chargers could use some help at every linebacker spot -- inside and outside. They could also use some help at defensive end, although that's not as major of a concern. Another receiver will be needed at some point as WR Vincent Jackson's situation continues (without a long-term contract). The Chargers will also need a right tackle as OT Jeromey Clary is headed to free agency so they could use a starter in free agency. The Chargers have a lot of needs they could upgrade but make no mistake about it -- this team is very talented.
Free agency options: The Chargers aren't major players in free agency preferring to use the NFL draft as their main vehicle for player acquisition. That said, they could use a little help on the open market as they're a team that's ready to win right now. I could see another receiver being added to the mix as well as an offensive tackle. For receiver, perhaps the Chargers think about WR Steve Smith, who could be available via trade. And if they're looking for a right tackle, OT Ryan Harris could be a possibility if the Denver Broncos let him go.
The Chargers suffered a ridiculous amount of injuries in 2010 so if they're even slightly more healthy, they're the favorite to win the AFC West. I don't think a rebuilding is in effect. Rather, the Chargers simply need to re-tool a little bit to compete in their division.
Check out Bolts From The Blue for more on the Chargers.