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Projecting the 53-man Roster with 1 Game to Go

There are still a few important roster spots up for grabs, and some key roster decisions that need to be determined.

Christian Petersen

Heading into the final preseason game, most teams have an idea of who their top 36 players will be, and even likely who the vast majority of the final 14 players will be (save the Kicker, Punter, and Long Snapper.) Heading into Thursday's game against the 49ers, the competition is most heated within that final 14 as it pertains to players who have game-day active list value, which is 7 players.

There are still a few important roster spots up for grabs, and some key roster decisions that need to be determined.

Running Back

There has been much talk about how many, and which of the running backs they will keep. Due to the value he's added on special teams as far as covering kicks, and even returning a couple, Fozzy Whittaker has played his way onto the team this preseason. He's run hard, and shown he can be a capable pass protector.

If anything, Ronnie Brown has played his way OFF the team, but he's just too valuable in the passing game as far as protection goes and catching the ball out of the backfield. He's the perfect insurance policy.

I've personally stated numerous times that I see no value in what Le'Ron McClain brings to the offense. He's played 13 snaps in 3 preseason games, and the majority have came from the goal line set. Here's the problem: Gronk hasn't done anything to cement his place on the roster, he's actually done worse in 12 snaps, and you have to keep one, so McClain gets the job by default. [Editor's Note: This article was written before Gronkowski was placed on IR, making McClain even more the default heir to the FB throne]

Wide Receiver

Did Eddie Royal get saved by not only his injury, but a slew of other injuries? I think so.

As far fetched as this seems, I think this is Robert Meachem's last game as a Charger. Yes, I'm aware of his contract, it's brutal, but he's just not the same guy, and the Chargers can't "afford" to hold his roster spot for someone who's proven he can't contribute to this team. When I saw Meachem struggle to get separation against 3rd stringers, I knew he was done. I think McCoy makes a strong statement by cutting him.

Offensive Line

King Dunlap has separated himself as the starting left tackle. So the question becomes, do you pay $2 million to a backup offensive lineman? I don't think so. Again, I'm aware of Max Starkscontract, and I know the way the injury bug has bit this team, but that money could go to a bigger need.

I think Mike Harris has shown tremendous improvements this preseason. Are you comfortable with throwing him out there as a starter quite yet? Probably not. But he's showed that he's nowhere near as poor as he played last year. Did anyone noticed that Harris came in when Dunlap got hurt in Arizona? I think we need to connect the dots here.

I've been asked a couple times about Jeromey Clary, but you would have to have a good idea of who you're bringing in before he goes anywhere. Troutman isn't ready to start, and the way Clary and Fluker are combo–blocking these linemen, I doubt Clary is going anywhere.


How do you cut Thomas Keiser after his performance last game? You don't. The way he's played so far, I don't see how you can cut Andrew Gachkar, who has been the most impressive of the group who doesn't start.

What this does is bump rookie 6th rounder Tourek Williams from the 53-man, who will likely clear waivers, and go on the practice squad. He's looked over matched to say the least so far. I don't think there's an area where he can impact the team right away, so he doesn't make it.


Anyone who's suggested Darrell Stuckey be cut from the team hasn't paid attention the last couple years, or doesn't understand the importance of Special Teams in the NFL, he's not going anywhere.

Sean Cattouse has played well in his limited opportunities, but not well enough to outshine everyone's favorite UDFA in Jahleel Addae. Perhaps Addae is viewed as more versatile and a better special teamer, I still haven't seen it. What I have seen is missed tackles on both the punt teams and on defense, but he's making this roster.


Every statistic you look at points in favor of keeping 7th–rounder Brad Sorensen. The eyeball test says he's been better than Charlie Whitehurst. I'm not really sure how to describe it without having to repeat myself over the last month that Sorensen is a better fit for the offense.

That said, it looks like the Chargers are going to roll the dice and hope he clears waivers, and stash him on the practice squad. He's going to have to play his tail off Thursday night to make the roster. I thought it was very telling that this backup quarterback situation is no longer a race when Sorensen only played one series in Arizona.

Now lets go over who will make up the 53


Quarterback (2)

  • Philip Rivers
  • Charlie Whitehurst

Running Backs (5)

  • Ryan Mathews
  • Danny Woodhead
  • Ronnie Brown
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • Fozzy Whittaker

Wide Receivers (5)

  • Malcom Floyd
  • Vincent Brown
  • Keenan Allen
  • Eddie Royal
  • Seyi Ajirotutu

Tight Ends (3)

  • Antonio Gates
  • John Phillips
  • Ladarius Green

Offensive Line (9)

  • Nick Hardwick (C)
  • Jeromey Clary (RG)
  • Chad Rinehart (LG)
  • King Dunlap (LT)
  • D.J. Fluker (RT)
  • Michael Harris (T)
  • David Molk (C)
  • Johnnie Troutman (G)
  • Free Agent - This is where I think they sign a free agent swing tackle who's young and they feel like they can develop.


Defensive Line (7)

  • Corey Liuget (DE)
  • Kendall Reyes (DE)
  • Jarius Wynn (DE)
  • Damik Scafe (DE)
  • Cam Thomas (NT)
  • Kwame Geathers (NT)
  • Free Agent - I think they sign a veteran NT to bring stability to the position in case Thomas/Geathers flops

Linebackers (9)

  • Dwight Freeney (OLB)
  • Jarrett Johnson (OLB)
  • Thomas Keiser (OLB)
  • Larry English (OLB)
  • Manti Te'o (ILB)
  • Donald Butler (ILB)
  • Bront Bird (ILB)
  • Andrew Gachkar (ILB)
  • D.J. Smith (ILB)

Defensive Backs (9)

  • Eric Weddle (S)
  • Marcus Gilchrist (S)
  • Brandon Taylor (S)
  • Jahleel Addae (S)
  • Darrell Stuckey (S)
  • Derek Cox (CB)
  • Shareece Wright (CB)
  • Richard Marshall (CB)
  • Johnny Patrick (CB) - I should note Patrick could very well turn into Middleton, with back–to–back concussions in as many weeks.

Special Teams

Kicking Team

  • Mike Windt (LS)
  • Nick Novak (K)
  • Mike Scifres (P)

Return Team

  • Fozzy Whittaker (KR)
  • Eddie Royal (KR)
  • Keenan Allen (PR)

Last Four In

  • William Middleton (CB)
  • D.J. Smith (ILB)
  • Fozzy Whittaker (RB)
  • Thomas Keiser (OLB)

First Four Out

  • Richard Goodman (WR)
  • Brad Sorensen (QB)
  • Max Starks (OT)
  • Tourek Williams (OLB)

Possible Practice Squad Players

The NFL allows you to keep up to 8 players on your practice squad. Players cannot have played more than 9 regular season games, or been on the active roster for an entire year. The last stipulation is a player can't spend more than 2 seasons on the same team's practice squad, unless that team's active roster never dips below 53 players.

  1. Brad Sorensen
  2. Nick Becton
  3. Michael Hill
  4. Tourek Williams
  5. William Middleton

I think the last 3 spots will be rotating for the first few weeks of the season to get a grasp of who can do what. There will be an offensive lineman here who can likely play multiple positions, along with another possible running back, a wide receiver who I'd imagine is a better athlete than actual receiver, and a defensive lineman. Telesco has shown us he knows how to scout, so I wouldn't be surprised if he added some quality young talent.