Every fan, coach, and front office person had high hopes for Jason Verrett who was taken in the first round of the 2014 draft. The problem with Verrett is not the talent or play making abilities. The problem is he is rarely on the field due to injury. He missed all of the 2017 season and seemed to only play half season’s every year before that. When he is healthy he has flashed signs of the type of playmaking ability that would make him a top 10 elite corner in the league. Earlier in the year he had his option picked up on his contract. This year we witnessed the rise of rookie Desmond king and undrafted free agent Trevor Williams, who both played absolutely phenomenal. So the question then becomes what to do with Verrett? Do you take playing time from the youngsters who were absolute studs this season? Let me remind you all this is a very good problem to have! I will discuss a few options. Some widely discussed and talked about and some that are a fresh take of what I think the team should do.
The first option is the one I have been hearing fan’s clamor about the most. Trade him for what you can and stick with the 3 studs we have now. The problem with that is how much trade value does an often injured youngster hold? Would you get a 5th round, a 6th round? Hardly seems worth it to me seeing as how he has the talent to end up going elsewhere and becoming one of the best corners in the league. My feeling is you can never have too many corners. Plus this defense under Gus Bradley runs a lot of nickel formation and single high safety sets. There is also talk of moving Desmond king to safety since he was projected more as a hybrid DB. This could make a lot of sense however he played so well in the slot that it’s probably better to keep him there to avoid a sophomore slump. Plus he is a great blitzing corner from the slot.
What happens with free safety Tre Boston is really the key to what possibilities one could consider. Boston was signed to a one year deal after being cut by Carolina before the start of training camp. The case for Boston being let go or resigned could go either way. During the multiple training camps I attended it was fairly obvious he is a personality that keeps everyone loose and hyped. That chemistry showed itself during game days, as all the defensive backs seemed to have a great chemistry. He possesses good physicality for the position and willingness to create contact which was much needed at the beginning of the season when they team struggled to stop the run. The knock against him is that he was slow on his reads and rotations on deep plays. When a defensive unit runs a lot of single high safety this is a very important trait. Often times he was caught cheating too far to the side of a multiple receiver set leaving the opposite side corner on a island without help.
Now if the team decides to let Boston walk then the option of moving king to safety seems more likely. If the team resigns Boston then moving king could still be a possibility if they would also consider Boston moving to a coverage linebacker role much like Adrian Phillips had this year. Considering that Boston is more physical this could be a good option. This would allow Hayward and Verrett to man the outside corner positions while Williams is in the slot. Although if the team drafts a more well-rounded outside linebacker or even safety with a high pick then this could throw a wrench in this option.
One of my outside the box ideas would be possible whether or not if they decide to keep free safety Tre Boston. You could even consider that since Boston seems to be slow on some of his reads on the single high safety sets, that you could consider using verrett in this role. This wouldn’t have to be a full time role but rather just in certain sets. Verrett has the speed and agility that could make this very plausible but also allow him to continue to play his natural position on the outside for part of the time. This scenario would also create more confusion to opposing quarterbacks trying to read the defense. All of these scenarios are possible but will need to be experimented with in training camp. Sometimes players are uncomfortable with certain tasks sometimes it works well. Although there is no way to know what a player is willing to do as far as operating out of his comfort zone, Gus Bradley has indeed shown willingness to experiment.
On the other hand, the possibility of the team going the bland route of not experimenting is also likely. All four guys could stay at the corner position. This could open up the use of more dime set’s and utilizing 4 corners. Depth is never a bad thing. Every charger fan knows injuries can not only strike at any time but can be contagious and severely hamper a team. Having in house answers are easy band aids. There is also no guarantee that Trevor Williams will have the same success as he did this season. I’m not saying he won’t repeat, I’m just saying this league has seen a lot of one year sensations. Casey Hayward has proven to be elite level player so I’m not worried about him. (Thanks green bay) I like Desmond King a lot especially considering the value of a 5th round pick. However history shows that sophomore slumps are real.
Regardless of the decisions on what to do with Jason Verrett or Tre Boston , this team needs more depth at linebacker and interior line. This not only keeps all options on the table but also adds depth. Any true charger fan knows that depth is something this team hasn’t had for a number of years, at any position really. After what I’ve seen from this team during this past season is that this team on either side of the ball is only a few pieces away from being absolutely dominate.
To check out who I think those extra pieces could be then check out the “missing link series”