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Will Rookie Free Agent Running Back Branden Oliver make the San Diego Chargers roster?

RB Branden Oliver was just inked to a two-year deal, but what are his odds of actual making the team?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

There seems to be a lot of excitement from San Diego Chargers fans about the recently signed Buffalo Bull record holder, Branden Oliver. In fairness, Oliver's numbers (seen in the table below) are on their face very impressive. They're somewhat less impressive when you remember that Buffalo plays in the MAC. It's also worth noting that the Indianapolis Colts, who have significantly less running back talent than the Chargers, passed on signing him. Then again, the Colts traded a first rounder for Trent Richardson, so they're not necessarily to be trusted when valuing backs.

Oliver, or "BO as Bulls fans call him, at the very least has a realistic shot at playing in the NFL. The question is whether or not he has a realistic shot at playing for the Chargers in 2014. In the past, the Chargers have carried four running backs. If we assume they'll do so again this season, there is at most one spot open. It's a given that Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Donald Brown are making the team and getting the vast, vast majority of touches at the running back position. Who, then, is BO competing with for that fourth spot on the depth chart?

The top two contenders are this year's 6th round pick Marion Grice and the Colts' 2013 7th rounder Kerwynn Williams. Both backs provide greater value in the passing game than Oliver and that greater versatility likely makes them more valuable off the bench. Also currently on the roster but unlikely to contend for a spot is D.J. Adams.

Where does that leave BO? He's a great candidate to make the practice squad, but could sneak onto the 53-man if someone ahead of him gets injured. Who do you think gets that 4th spot? Vote in the poll and tell us why in the comments.

2013 310 1535 5 60 15 25 173 6.9 14 1
2012 148 821 5.5 36 5 7 25 3.6 10 0
2011 306 1395 4.6 68 13 38 365 9.6 38 0
2010 102 298 2.9 19 0 5 92 18.4 34 0
Totals 866 4049 4.68 68 33 75 655 8.73 38 1

Stats via