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Chargers Training Camp: Paring Down the Roster

The Chargers website just came out with an initial depth chart for the team. Looking at this I can try figure a few things out. I usually like to do this to help me watch players in the preseason games. Also, as I start to see or hear about good performances its good to keep in mind which roster spots are actually up for grabs. In the preseason you may fall in love with a guy that just isn't going to make it because of a numbers game.

Starting (25 = 11 offense + 11 defense + 3 special teams)

Most of you will know these names so we'll just list them and be done with it. Phillip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Jacob Hester, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Antonio Gates, Brandyn Dombrowski, Kris Dielman, Nick Hardwick, Louis Vasquez, Jeromey Clary, Jacques Cesaire, Antonio Garay, Luis Castillo, Larry English, Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper, Shaun Phillips, Antoine Cason, Eric Weddle, Darrell Stuckey, Quentin Jammer, Mike Scifres, Nate Kaeding and David Binn. Remember, this is according to the new Chargers Depth Chart posted today. Take your complaints up with them not me.

Sure Fire Backups (20 = 2 draft picks + 1 KR/RB + 1 QB + 1 RB + 2 WRs + 2 TEs + 3 OL + 2 DEs + 1 OLB + 1 ILB + 4 DBs)

We can start with the draft pick who are going to make this team (2): Cam Thomas, Jonathan Crompton.

We can move on to the kick returner/backup RB (1): Darren Sproles.

For the rest I'm going to make assumptions amount minimum numbers and pick the highest on the depth chart to fill them.

Backup QB: Billy Volek

Backup RB although he's also a FB (1): Mike Tolbert

Backup WRs and TEs (4): Buster Davis, Jeremy Williams, Kris Wilson, Randy McMichael.

Backup OL can't just be 2nd string so I'll pick the most likely (3): Scott Mruczkowski, Tyronne Green, Tra Thomas.

Backup DEs, OLB, and ILB (4): Alfonso Boone, Travis Johnson, Jyles Tucker, Brandon Siler.

Backup DBs (4): Donald Strickland, Nathan Vasher, Steve Gregory, Paul Oliver

The most controversial selection may Jyles Tucker. He's listed on the second string, but is he really better than Applewhite? Also, if Merriman comes back then English becomes that one backup and Tucker moves closer to the bubble. Everyone else here makes a sense, and if you disagree then I'll just point at the depth chart as my evidence.

Okay, that was the easy part, let's move on to hard part.

Camp battles (5 =  1 RB + 1 WR + 1 DL + 2 LB)

The next 5 positions will get more players, but who those players are is up for grabs.

RB (1): Marcus Mason, Shawnbray McNeal and Curtis Brinkley. I say all 3 have an equal shot at this spot. Preseason games will matter here.

WR (1): Josh Reed and Seyi Ajirotutu. There are other wide receivers in camp, but these are the only 2 that I think have a shot at being WR #5.

DL (1): Ogemdi Nwagbuo, Vaughn Martin and Ryon Bingham. I think we only need to carry 7 DL, but, at least in my view, more than 1 of these guys has a good shot at the team

LB (2): Jyles Tucker (once Merriman reports), Antwan Applewhite, and James Holt. At least two of these guys is making the squad. One may be left to fight it out elsewhere.

The Bubble (3)

That least just 3 spots left and we don't need them to come from specific positions. They just need to be guys who contribute on specials teams and can provide depth at a position that has injuries or requires a heavy rotation. I'm going to list them out by positions just to break them all up.

WR: Loser of camp battle plus Gary Banks and Richard Goodman. I think only Ajirotutu can make  the actual team, but I'm sure at least one of these guys will go to the practice squad

DL: Losers of camp battle plus Derrick Jones. This may be the most likely spot that gets filled. We might as well shift the bubble down to 2 spots.

LB: Loser of camp battle plus Darry Beckwith, Mike Nixon, Kion Wilson and Ali Highsmith. The loser of the camp battle with have will have an inside track. At least one of these guys is practice squad bound.

DB: C.J. Spillman and Traye Simmons. I guess you could throw in Brandon and Dante Hughes as well as Quinton Teal, but I'll owe you a beer if they make the team over these two.

That's it. Barring injury we aren't going to carry another QB, RB, TE, K, P or OL in my opinion. Its also worth noting that we don't really have any injuries that I've heard of that would force us to carry a certain position from the bubble group, so its still all up in the air. Please, feel free to mix and match who think will make the team or to use this as a guide for the preseason games.