Which season offers the best gauge of Melvin Gordon? His rookie season in which he scratched out fewer than 650 rushing yards and never reached the end zone, or 2016, when he nearly ran for 1,000 yards and hit pay dirt 10 times?
The Chargers are hoping Gordon broke out of his shell last season and will prove himself to be the top running back he was drafted to be. The backfield is his. The Chargers allowed Danny Woodhead to move on via free agency, leaving Gordon as the undisputed No. 1 back.
He'll have a former running backs coach as his head coach this year, as Los Angeles hopes to drain all of the untapped potential out of its 2015 first-round pick.
Bosa had arguably the biggest impact on the team last year, in his rookie season, no less.
Much of the early portion of the season was spent speculating on when Bosa would sign, and when he could subsequently play for the Chargers. He proved to be worth the wait, as he racked up 10.5 sacks in 12 games and corralled the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in the process.
Bosa accounted for nearly one-third of the team's sacks in 2016. In 2017, he'll share ownership of the defense with Melvin Ingram. Whether he takes a step back or continues his ascent, the Chargers will likely move in lockstep with him.
Allen's final two seasons have been cut short by injuries. A lacerated kidney ended a promising 2015 campaign after eight games, and he suffered a torn ACL in the opening week in 2016. In both years, the Chargers struggled and suffered at least 11 losses.
Allen remains a candidate to become one of the league's best receivers, but the Chargers first need him to put together a full campaign.
L.A. owns a roster capable of competing in the tough AFC West, but without Allen, it may be too tall a task. He's expected to lead a receiving group featuring first-round draft pick Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, and Dontrelle Inman. Take Allen out of the mix, and there's a considerable drop in overall talent.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
Also from this series
3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Broncos' season
3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Raiders' season
3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Chiefs' season
Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license. ift.tt/1Y3oMLZ