That's right - I'm calling my shot in May.
I know I'll end up falling flat on my face come September, but let me show you what the San Diego Chargers' roster will look like for this upcoming season anyway.
Mike Hermann is a totally biased selection by me. What can I say - I'm rooting for the kid. So, take that for what it's worth. Regardless of whether or not Hermann makes the squad, I think Charlie Whitehurst remains. I can't see the Chargers opting for a rookie - especially a seventh rounder - to backup Rivers, but maybe Brad Sorensen blows people out of the water in training camp and forces the Chargers' hand.
Wide Receiver (5)
This one was tough, because I'm actually a closet Eddie Royal fan. It's hard to see the Chargers, however, carrying six receivers into the season, but maybe they opt to roll with two quarterbacks to make room. After all, who's going to return kicks for this team? Keenan Allen did it in college. Marcus Gilchrist can. That might be Royal's path to making the squad.
I'm hopeful for Robert Meachem, so that's why I don't have Royal beating him out. I have to imagine that Mike McCoy will figure out a better way to use him - at least in such a way for us to be able to remember what his name is. Bottom line: Meachem showed too much talent in New Orleans to give up on after one bad year with a lame-duck coaching staff.
Running Back (3)
Maybe somebody like Edwin Baker comes out of nowhere and takes Ronnie Brown's job, but it doesn't seem likely. As we all witnessed last year, the gas tank is nearly on empty for the guy that once dazzled us out of the Wildcat formation - but it's not there yet.
I'm still not sold on Le'Ron McClain, nor am I sold on a guy simply because he has the last name Gronkowski, but this is what the Chargers have. They'll have to make do, although I am a little curious why somebody else wasn't brought in for some more competition at this spot.
Tight End (3)
With the recent injury history of Antonio Gates and the departure of Randy McMichael, the signing of John Phillips was a necessity. He has some talent as both a pass catcher and blocker, so he should fill that backup role quite well and be able to hold his own should Gates go down.
Maybe someone flashes talent in preseason and beats out Ladarius Green for a roster spot, but a guy who is 6'6'', 240 pounds with 4.4 speed is hard to give up on. I'm excited to see if he develops into the stud that his physical traits suggest he can become.
Offensive Line (9)
- Colin Baxter
- Jeromey Clary
- King Dunlap
- DJ Fluker
- Nick Hardwick
- Michael Harris
- David Molk
- Chad Rinehart
- Johnnie Troutman
This was tough, because after Nick Hardwick and DJ Fluker, everybody else starts to look the same - which is the nicest way I can put it. The Chargers will have to do something between now and training camp to shore up the left tackle spot. I can't imagine them rolling out King Dunlap or Michael Harris unless they're trying to ruin Rivers once and for all.
I think Johnnie Troutman will push for a starting job, if not for any other reason than this is a pretty sorry group. Keep an eye on Colin Baxter in training camp; he's my sleeper for the other guard spot. I like what little I've seen from him over the last couple years, plus I'm not buying into the early hype on Jeromey Clary.
- Bront Bird
- Donald Butler
- Larry English
- Dwight Freeney
- Andrew Gachkar
- Jarrett Johnson
- Jonas Mouton
- DJ Smith
- Manti Te'o
- Tourek Williams
I chose to keep Bront Bird and Andrew Gachkar for their special teams acumen, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone has a great training camp and knocks either or both off this roster - in fact, I'd welcome it. Maybe recently signed Thomas Keiser can make some waves.
With the addition of Dwight Freeney, the Chargers are stronger at outside linebacker, but it's still far from a strong group. I'm still not sold on Jarrett Johnson being a full-time starter, Larry English staying healthy for two seasons in a row, or Dwight Freeney being a good fit for this defense - but that's all the Chargers have. They'll need to cross their fingers and pray that those guys will be able to generate a consistent pass rush, otherwise it could be a very long season.
I'm excited to see what Shareece Wright can do as a starter opposite of Derek Cox. The most interesting development, however, will be who emerges as the nickel corner. Steve Williams could be the one that does it, but that might be too much to ask from the rookie. Luckily for the Chargers, there's some versatility here. With Gilchrist penciled in as the strong safety this year, he theoretically could drop down to be the other corner in the nickel package while somebody else comes in to play safety.
The big question mark here is whether Brandon Taylor will be ready for the start of the season. I'm working under the assumption that he'll be ready to roll. If so, the race will be on between him and Darrell Stuckey for who backs up Marcus Gilchrist, which will be a bigger role than usual if the Chargers decide to also play Gilchrist as the nickel corner.
For all you Jahleel Addae fans out there, he'll have to be great on special teams in order to make this roster - and I think he will.
Defensive Line (6)
I was torn between Kwame Geathers and Byron Jerideau, so I flipped a coin. Problem solved.
If I'm being honest here, I didn't want to write the names Jarius Wynn and Damik Scafe, but they're veterans and it was either them or a couple undrafted rookies that I've never even heard of.
Long Snapper (1)
That's it. Again, it's only May, so I'm sure I'll end up being dead wrong in many places, but it's fun to guess anyway. Feel free to give it a shot by posting your own 53 man roster for the 2013 Chargers in the comments below.