Cuts will start rolling in this afternoon as every team must be down to 53 players by tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, September 3rd. The men competing for spots have had all the time they are going to get to audition for their futures in the NFL.
In this last prediction for the “Best 53,” I am going to list what I think should happen. I am going to be wrong, but it’s what I would do at this point and what I hope the team would do.
Everyone besides the following 53 people, please see Coach McCoy in his office. Bring your playbook.
Quarterback - 2
Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens
Mike Bercovici did enough bad things to convince me he can make it to the practice squad, and if he doesn’t, I won’t lose any sleep over it. Clemens doesn’t give me much confidence either, but let’s be honest, if Rivers goes down, so does our season.
Runningback - 4
Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Kenneth Farrow, Chris Swain
That’s right. I did it. I’m keeping Chris Swain. As we have been harping on all offseason, Swain brings a big body to the backfield that can run with power in short yardage that none of the other RBs on the roster offer, and he has been blocking better than Derek Watt. Swain would be one of those “last 5 in” players that would remain on the bubble for when Damion Square comes back from suspension, or Chris Watt comes off the PUP.
Fullback - 1
He is going to make this roster no matter how I feel. I did like the heavy package they ran with Watt lead blocking and Swain carrying the ball, that’s something this team hasn’t had in a long, long time.
Tight End - 3
Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Sean McGrath
McGrath has firmly separated himself from the remaining TEs on the roster. With keeping both Swain and Watt, they only keep 3 TEs, and these are far and away the best 3.
Wide Receiver - 5
Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Isaiah Burse
With James Jones getting released, it’s easy to slide Burse in as WR5. He can return kicks and punts, and finally showed us something last night when he had some catchable balls thrown his way. Inman appears to be a lock at this point, so this one looks pretty straight forward.
Offensive Line - 9
King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, Matt Slauson, D.J. Fluker, Joe Barksdale, Spencer Pulley, Max Tuerk, Chris Hairston, Tyreek Burwell (Chris Watt - PUP)
I think the Kenny Wiggins experience has come to an end. Pulley has cemented himself as OG3. Pulley, Tuerk, and Slauson can all play any of the interior line positions, so they keep two backup tackles to start.
Offensive Total - 24
Defensive line - 7
Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget, Darius Philon, Ryan Carrethers, FA, FA (Damion Square - suspended four games)
This group needs some FA’s brought in. Nobody down the depth chart showed me anything worth keeping them on the active roster, so they need to bring in reinforcements. It’s nice to see Joey there isn’t it?
Outside Linebackers - 4
Melvin Ingram, Kyle Emanuel, Jerry Attaochu, Tourek Williams
It’s very tempting to swap out Tourek with either Ben Gardner or Chris Landrum, but I think Tourek did enough to earn one final season to prove himself.
Inside Linebackers - 5
Manti Te’o, Denzel Perryman, Joshua Perry, Jatavis Brown, Nick Dzubnar
Jatavis finally played! He looked fast and made decent reads in pass coverage; I think as he gets more comfortable he will develop into a nice piece to have in the game on obvious passing downs. Nick gets to stay because of special teams, but he looked bad as a linebacker again last night, against 3s and 4s. With how well McCoil has played on defense, and how well many of the young guys have looked on special teams, Dzubnar could be on the bubble as well.
Cornerback - 5
Jason Verrett, Brandon Flowers, Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Steve Williams
I think Trevor Williams almost warrants a spot over Steve Williams. Steve has more time with the team, and is certainly fast, but Trevor flashed some promise this preseason. I think the team MIGHT get away with sneaking him onto the practice squad, though. Mager meanwhile still looks meh as a CB but has really come along as a special teams player.
Safety - 5
Jahleel Addae, Dwight Lowery, Dexter McCoil, Darrell Stuckey, Adrian McDonald
I honestly think the team will keep Stuckey and Adrian Phillips over McDonald, but they shouldn’t. McDonald has been the best tackler of the safety group this preseason and deserves a spot. I could honestly flip a coin between keeping Stuckey or Phillips here, but went with Stuckey because at least he does one thing really well, special teams, whereas Phillips is just kind of ok at everything.
Defensive Total - 26
Special Teams - 3
Mike Windt, Josh Lambo, Drew Kaser
Not much to say here, they do their jobs. Excited to see if they can continue to give us stability in the kicking game for a few years.
Mike Bercovici, Ben Gardner, Dom Williams, Trevor Williams, Shaq Pettaway, Gus Johnson, Marcel Jones, Matt Weiser, Tenny Palepoi, Vi Teofilo
There you have it. I see some other teams have already started making cuts so we should start finding out soon who McCoy thinks is the first version of the “best 53” this season.