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The LA Chargers are better than people think going into this season, even with former franchise cornerstone for almost two decades in QB Philip Rivers is gone.

Book it.

However, there is one thing to be excited about for Chargers fans: the defense. I am loving the potential they have on that side of the ball.

They went out and signed former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Harris has been an elite corner in the NFL for the past few years, and he brings leadership, along with his elite corner play. Not to mention, he already joins a defense that has safety Derwin James, who is one of the best safeties in the NFL. Injuries hurt him last year, but he can come back better than ever.

They also have cornerback Desmond King who can return punts, while locking down one side of the field. Finally they have edge rushing duo Melvin Ingram, and Joey Bosa, one of the best in the NFL.

Finally, they also traded up, and drafted one of the best linebacker prospects in the draft in Kenneth Murray. Murray has the ability to be a three down backer for this defense for a long time. These are just a few of the key pieces the Chargers have. DC Gus Bradley has a lot of talent to work with, and will look to make this defense one of the best in the NFL.

With all this being said, this LA defense may not have a choice but to step up, and become elite. The offense may be a weak point, as we do not know if the Chargers will get consistent QB play from Tyrod Taylor, or Justin Herbert. They have the weapons in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Hunter Henry. Now, the QBs need to do their part.

If this Chargers defense can take a step like they need to, then this team can make a sneaky playoff run. Do not sleep on the Chargers this year.

Photo: AP Photo /Matt Dunham