San Diego Chargers wide receiver Phillip Payne (7) runs with the ball while chased by Green Bay Packers defensive back Micah Pellerin (32) and Chargers tackle Cordell Bell (63) during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium.
We're well before even the first roster cuts of 2012, which means there are still a ton of rookies on the San Diego Chargers roster (24 of them, in fact). Let's take a look at each one and their contribution to last Thursday's victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Edwin Baker, RB: It seems weird that Baker seems to be behind Curtis Brinkley and Michael Hayes on the depth chart considering the Chargers used their 7th round pick to get him in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, that's the way it is and last week he got 1 carry (for 3 yards) and 1 ball thrown his way (that he didn't catch).
Jason Barnes, WR: One of the guys that I had no idea was actually on the team until i saw him make a catch at practice on Saturday. Prototypical size, but that appears to be it.
Cordell Bell, OT: Cool rhyming name, bro. This guy got into the game late and looked awful in pass protection.
Eddie Brown, DT: Saw him at practice. Don't think he ever got on the field in the game. He looks the part of a Nose Tackle, physically. Could be a practice squad guy.
Sean Cattouse, FS: He looked solid during his brief time on defense and on special teams. Against GB, he picked up 1 tackle and recovered a fumble as well. Looked good again during practice on Saturday and Sunday with Eric Weddle and Darrell Stuckey sidelined.
Taylor Embree, WR: Every season I seem to fall in love with some random fringe guy and get my heart broken when he doesn't make the team. This year, that guy is Embree. On Thursday, he officially caught 2 passes for 54 yards (one deep catch was called back for offensive holding by a lineman) and just looked better than all of the other rookie WRs.
Greg Gatson, CB: I saw Gatson get matched up on Malcom Floyd in practice on Sunday. By the end of the play, you would've assumed Gatson was still Pop Warner football. Against third-string receivers last week, he defended 2 passes and threw in a tackle to boot.
Ladarius Green, TE: Zero catches. Zero anything. It's sad that the fans are already getting on this guy. I understand that he was a fairly high draft pick, but he's a project that could be a star in the league if everything goes well. He still needs time to grow before the fans should start giving him hell.
Logan Harrell, DE: Got two tackles in a position that normally doesn't get a lot of tackles when the other team is trying to make a comeback. I spotted him a few times and he looked solid. Maybe a little undersized for a classic 3-4 DE.
Mike Harris, OT: I like this kid's potential because he already looks like an above-average pass blocker. He won't get Philip Rivers killed the way that Brandyn Dombrowski used to. I trust him if he has to start games at LT, but I won't rely on him to lead big running plays.
Mike Hayes, RB: 6 carries, 10 rush yards and a fumble. Not the best performance from a guy that a lot of fans are excited about. This guy has otherworldly balance, but he's small and he seemingly has no speed. There's probably a place for a guy like that somewhere, but it's probably not here.
Arthur Hobbs, CB: Remember what I said about Gregory Gatson? That.
Melvin Ingram, OLB: Hello, you sexy beast. Ingram showed it all on Thursday against the Packers, albeit against a very beat up offensive line. He was an unstoppable force rushing the passer, using technique, speed and pure power. He got to the run and stopped that too. He played a little coverage and tackles a receiver on a short crossing route. He was all over the field, and he's only going to get better. He is officially credited with 2 tackles and 1 QB hit, but that hit led to an Antoine Cason interception and he had another sack where the QB ducked out of his arms and into the arms of Larry English for what should be categorized as a "stolen sack".
Jarrett Lee, QB: Calm down, you ingrates. One halfway decent game and you're ready to chuck beautiful Charlie Whitehurst into the shark-infested seas. Lee looked smart, accurate and completely lacking in any zip on his ball. He also made a couple of dumb rookie mistakes. Lucky for him, the Packers have no depth and the players he was facing for most of the game couldn't take advantage of said mistakes. He finished with 235 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and was sacked once.
David Molk, C: I can't get a handle on this kid yet. Another 7th round pick, and one that everyone fell in love with after it was made, that the team doesn't seem to want to keep. He's sitting behind Colin Baxter on the depth chart and is also splitting time with Rex Hadnot. He's been rather unimpressive thusfar, but he's known as a hard worker and team leader. I'm still rooting for him to make the squad somehow.
Phil Payne, WR: Lots of fans of this kid from UNLV, with his prototypical WR size and good speed. He seems like a candidate for the practice squad, as some honing of his WR skills could go a long way. He finished the Packers game with 1 catch for 14 yards.
DeAndre Presley, CB: Remember what I said about Gatson and Hobbs? Well, kinda that. Presley was everywhere on Thursday, but not the way Ingram was. In addition to getting two tackles, Presley returned 1 kickoff and 3 punts. He wasn't great at any of that, but he wasn't half-bad either.
Kendall Reyes, DE: I'm glad I wasn't the only one that noticed the odd game of Reyes. He got called on a few times to come in against the first-team Packers offense and looked scary-good when he was out there. He won every one-on-one matchup and looked like he was inches away from killing the QB a few times. He quickly racked up 4 tackles, including 0.5 sacks, and a QB hit.
Then, as the second and third-stringers came in for GB, he seemed to go backwards. He was no longer pushing the pocket, threatening the QB or looking very dominant at all. Optimistically, I'll say that he just overworked himself in the first quarter and was gassed the rest of the way. Pessimistically, I wonder where his motor went.
Brandon Taylor, SS: The potential starting SS for some part of 2012, Taylor looked better than I expected in his first preseason game. He looked adequate on coverage, didn't try to do too much, and had a nice stop on a running play. He finished the game with two tackles.
Johnnie Troutman, OG: The ONLY injured rookie. That's somewhat amazing. I'm even impressed that Troutman has been working out daily with the guys recovering from injury after hearing the original prognosis that he'd miss the entire season. He's erasing a lot of doubts by doing that.
Mike Willie, WR: The guy that guaranteed that he'd be the breakout star of the Packers game and that everyone would know his name had.....1 catch for 10 yards. I like his size and his speed, but he won't make friends by showing that his mouth is bigger than his head.