Even though the 4th preseason game was not what you'd call "exciting" it was a very important game for many young players. Teams now have until 4pm ET on Saturday to get cut 22 players and get their rosters to 53.
Before I start listing my picks to make the final roster I want to point out a few things. First, Antonio Gates is suspended for the first 4 games, which means the team basically has a free extra roster spot they can use until week 5. Second, the biggest question mark in predicting the roster this year is we don't know what the team plans to do with injured players Tourek Williams and Johnnie Troutman. And finally, I'm going to list what I would do, which means there will be a few surprises, but I am also going to point out what I think will actually happen.
Offense - 23
Quarterback - 2
Rivers needs no explanation. Both backups looked terrible in the preseason and with Rivers' track record of not missing games *knocks on wood* they only need to keep one backup.
Brad Sorensen - Both backups looked terrible in the preseason and with Rivers' track record of not missing games *knocks on wood* they only need to keep one backup. Sorenson gets the job because Clemens is $1.3 million more expensive for the same level of being screwed if Rivers goes down
Running back - 3
Here is the first surprise, I have them only carrying 3 running backs. I wanted the extra spot elsewhere, and I would rather have Dreamius Smith on the practice squad, than "burn" an extra roster spot on Donald Brown, and it looks like I'm not alone.
Donald Brown a projected cut for the Chargers http://t.co/gJIqSNikzv— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) September 4, 2015
Melvin Gordon III
Tight End - 3
First off, yes I can do math, I know there are four names here and I am only counting 3, but remember Gates doesn't count until his suspension is over, at which time you could decide whether or not to drop the 4th TE or keep him.
Antonio Gates (SSPD)
Wide Receiver - 6
Here is one of the positions I wanted an extra spot. I wanted to keep up the youth movement on the team so here is your second surprise. I also think I will be wrong here like I was at RB. I think the team keeps Jacoby Jones and prays that Tyrell WIlliams slips through to the practice squad.
Javontee Herndon - I thought Herndon showed enough in the return game, and had reliable enough hands in the passing game to win a spot of Jacoby Jones. He is faster than Jones and MUCH younger which makes him the smarter keep for me.
Tyrell Williams - I was so close to being comfortable with cutting Williams and trying to stash him on the practice squad, then he made that beautiful 63 yard catch and run which shows why they can't risk dropping him off the 53 man roster. Yes he needs more work on his hands, but when that comes along, he could be special.
Offensive Line - 9
This is where it gets tricky. I have no idea what they are going to do with Troutman. He says he is aiming for week 3, the team hasn't put him on IR yet, it is very frustrating. So I've decided I am using the IR-designated to return on Troutman and he will come back later in the year.
King Dunlap (OT)
Joe Barksdale (OT)
Orlando Franklin (OG)
DJ Fluker (OG)
Chris Watt (C)
Trevor Robinson (C)
Jeremiah Sirles (OG)
Chris Hairston (OT)
Kenny Wiggins (OG/OT) - I had Watts in this spot, but as someone pointed out to me, I completely forgot Watts has a suspension as well this year.
Defense - 27
Defensive Line - 8
Outside Linebackers - 5
This was a hard one. I went back and forth a few times trying to decide if I should keep 6 OLB and 4 ILB or 5 and 5. Nick Dzubnar made the decision for me, 5 and 5. Also, as we have heard 0 updates on Tourek Williams, I took that as bad news and he goes on IR.
Ryan Mueller - This last spot was down to Mueller or Colton Underwood. I thought Mueller outplayed Underwood this pre-season so he gets the job.
Inside Linebackers - 5
Nick Dzubnar - Out of all the guys fighting for a spot this season, nobody went out and flat out demanded a spot with their play like Dzubnar. Constant all out effort and solid production. Well done.
Cornerback - 5
Steve Williams - This would have been Chris Davis for me had he not gotten hurt and put on IR. The rest of the depth at CB was just not up to par and would make me very nervous if they were on this roster. Williams isn't great, but he has the most experience with the system and isn't a complete liability.
Safety - 4
Jimmy Wilson - Wilson wins the 4th safety spot because everyone else was pretty bad. He can also play a little corner which makes carrying only 5 CB's easier.
Special teams - 3
Nick Novak (K) - The ONLY way Josh Lambo had a chance to make this roster was if he was booting kick offs out the back of the end zone EVERY SINGLE TIME. After the last 2 preseason games, we know that isn't happening so Nick keeps his job.
Mike Scifres (P)
Mike Windt (LS)
And there you have it. 53 players who in my opinion are the "best 53" that Mike McCoy always references. As I said, is this what I think is going to happen? Probably not. I think Jacoby Jones and Donald Brown both make the roster. Also if they don't IR Williams or Troutman they both make the 53 and ride the inactive list until they come back which would drop Craig Watts for Troutman, and another player from somewhere else on the roster for Williams because I don't think they could afford to roll with only 4 OLB's until he comes back.
Also I won't actually predict a practice squad but a few guys I'd like to see make it are:
RB - Dreamius Smith
CB - Jordan Mabin
OG - Michael Huey
OLB - Colton Underwood
S - Johnny Lowdermilk