In case you weren't aware, the Chargers have a pretty cool streak going right now - they've had a UDFA make their opening day 53 man roster for the past 18 years. These haven't just been career backups, either - Kris Dielman, Antonio Gates, and Malcom Floyd all belong to that illustrious group of players. Oh, and Jahleel Addae is there, too. (You can't win them all).
The Chargers currently have 14 UDFAs on their roster - obviously, the majority of these won't be here in a week's time, but one or two of them have a shot at sticking around. Let’s take a look at who they are.
Spencer Pulley is the obvious choice to make the team. Pulley made waves by being the stand-out player at rookie minicamp and carried his fine form into Training Camp. Previously, the Chargers had been infatuated with Kenny Wiggins, but Pulley made short shrift of him, overtaking him in the depth chart and becoming the starter at RG when D.J. Fluker got hurt. There's no reason that they'd give someone starting reps if their plan was to release them (even the Chargers aren't that stupid), and so it's all but certain that Spencer Pulley will be on the Chargers roster come Week 1.
However, he may not be the only UDFA that does so. Kenneth Farrow is probably in the next best position to do so - unfortunately, as Branden Oliver's season-ending injury has opened up a spot on the roster for a new #3 RB. Farrow doesn't definitely have that job, though - the Chargers claimed Gus Johnson on waivers, a first-year player who's spent time with the Cowboys, Raiders, and Falcons. It looks like Johnson and Farrow will be duelling it out for that roster spot in the last preseason game against the 49ers, with the winner earning a spot on the roster.
Another UDFA who I think has a chance to win a position in Thursday's game is Dom Williams. A WR out of Washington State, Williams had a strong Training Camp and added to that with an excellent preseason performance against the Cardinals, finishing with the team lead (or joint team lead) in catches, yards, and targets. The Chargers look set to only keep 5 WRs, and right now Isaiah Burse holds that last spot. Personally, I think Williams has been the better player thus far, but Burse's added value as a return man (and quite possibly a higher upside) means that Williams' chance of making the team is slim, at best.
If I had written this a week ago, Mike Bercovici would have been top of the list - but after a horrific showing against the Vikings, I think the only way Bercovici makes this team is if Kellen Clemens gets injured. He's a likely Practice Squad candidate if no other team claims him, but he won't be on the opening day 53.
Adrian McDonald has had a fantastic Training Camp and preseason, but it looks like he's going to be a victim of the numbers game at Safety. The Chargers have six safeties on the roster currently - Jahleel Addae, Dwight Lowery, and Dexter McCoil are locks to make the team, Darrell Stuckey will make it for his ST value and the team clearly like Adrian Phillips - a lot. That makes McDonald the sixth safety on the roster, and it's about as likely he makes the roster as it is that Derek Watt holds a block (hate me, comments section!) I'd be severely disappointed if the Chargers didn't end up with him on our Practice Squad, though - after all, that's how Adrian Phillips has spent his last two years before managing to make his way onto the main roster.
What do you think, readers? Do you agree that Spencer Pulley has the best chance? Is there anyone you think could make the team that I didn't mention here? Let me know in the comments!