Chargers Power Rankings: Nos. 15-21

WR Vincent Jackson (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)

SDBoltReport.com's Samantha Fillerup continues to rank San Diego's top-56 players. Part VI of this eight-part series takes a look at spots 15-21, a grouping that includes four play-making starters from the defense and one former Pro Bowler from the special teams. See where everybody stacks up in this latest installment.

21. Nate Kaeding (6'0", 187 pounds) enters his fifth season and is widely known as one of the best kickers in the NFL. He has connected on at least 80 percent of his kicks in each of his four seasons and has a career conversion rate of 86.7 percent. He attended the Pro Bowl in 2006 after setting a career-high with 136 points. After struggling to convert clutch kicks early in his career, he redeemed himself by hitting all four field goal tries in the AFC Championship Game despite a broken plant leg.

Click here for an exclusive interview with Kaeding.

20. Clinton Hart (6'0", 205 pounds) begins his sixth season after attending Central Florida Community College, where he played baseball, not football. He signed a new five-year contract in April after proving himself as a leader on the field and in the locker room. Hart played a key role in the Chargers leading the NFL in interceptions and takeaways last season, as he set a career-high with five picks.

Click here to read about San Diego's search for stability at the safety spot.

19. Stephen Cooper (6'1', 235 pounds) enters his second season as a starter, this time with an extra burden to bear. After leading the team with 108 tackles last season, he earned a four-game suspension for a violation of the League's substance-abuse policy. He will have to fight for playing time upon his return, as Derek Smith and Anthony Waters are already taking aim at his starting job.

Click here to read about how the Chargers should respond to Cooper's suspension.

18. Eric Weddle (5'11", 200 pounds) enters his second season after the Chargers traded up to tab him in the second round of the 2007 draft. He is penciled in as the starting free safety and is part of one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL. He recorded two interceptions last season, including an essential pick off a Peyton Manning pass in the Chargers' playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Click here to learn why Weddle excels when the defense plays small ball.

17. Mike Scifres (6'2", 236 pounds) enters his sixth season as the best Charger to come out of Western Illinois since Rodney Harrison. He was an alternate to the AFC Pro Bowl for the second consecutive season in 2007 because of his ability to pin opponents inside their 20-yard line. Last season's net average of 39.6 yards set a career-high and ranked third in the NFL among players with at least 15 punts.

Click here to read more about Scifres' Olympic-quality talents.

16. Matt Wilhelm (6'4", 245 pounds) enters his sixth season with the Chargers. After waiting five years for his chance start, he proved his promotion was long overdue via his play last season. He started 14 games and was second on the team with 97 tackles. He also recorded three interceptions, one sack and four tackles for loss. With his speed, athleticism and ability to protect the deep middle, he is a key member of the defensive front seven.

Click here for a closer look at San Diego's linebacker corps.

15. Vincent Jackson (6'5", 241 pounds) enters his fourth season after becoming the highest drafted player in the history of Northern Colorado. While his regular-season numbers were mediocre last season (41 catches for 623 yards and 3 TDs), he led the NFL during the playoffs with 300 receiving yards. He has a unique combination of size and speed that is often compared to that of Terrell Owens. He has incredible leaping ability, which makes him a dangerous red-zone target and the perfect complement to Chris Chambers.

Click here to read about San Diego's suddenly deep receiver corps.

The Rest of the Rankings

Nos. 22-28
Nos. 29-35
Nos. 36-42
Nos. 43-49
Nos. 50-56

Readers Chime In

What do you think of the rankings thus far? Do you think you could do better? Click here to let us know about it in the message boards.

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