The San Diego Chargers took advantage of their waiver wire position on Sunday by signing three players off waivers from other NFL teams in an effort to improve their roster depth. The Chargers acquired running back Andre Williams, cornerback Pierre Desir, and defensive tackle Caraun Reid. No matter how you look at it, San Diego improved after Sunday’s signing. Let’s take a look at each move and grade them to see how the Chargers fared during the waiver wire period.
Brandon Oliver injured his Achilles in the Chargers third preseason game and will be out for the year as a result. Oliver was a capable running back that gave Melvin Gordon a break during the early downs but was versatile enough to be in during third down passing situations. This was a huge blow to San Diego’s backfield. It is no surprise that the Chargers would target a running back off the waiver wire. The surprise is who they decided to bring in, Andre Williams.
Williams is a physical running back that can churn out yards and wear down defenses in the fourth quarter. However, in 2014, Williams received a grade of -7.3 by Pro Football Focus. He also received a poor grade as a pass catcher due to his low catch rate and elusiveness. Last year was no better, as Williams was only able to muster up 2.9 yards per carry. The Chargers already have a rusher that is a two down back and similar to Williams on their roster, Melvin Gordon. That is why it was a little bit shocking how they didn’t go after someone that could catch the ball out of the backfield and pass protect, like a Ronnie Hillman. Still, a move was needed to be made to help the Chargers backfield and I guess this is better than nothing.
The Chargers were thin already on the defensive line, thanks to the suspension of Damion Square and the late signing of some guy named Joey Bosa. San Diego has relied too much in the past by using "high ceiling/ promising" players that are more suitable for the practice squad than being a useful backup. Reid is a quality rotational player.
The 6-2", 298 lb. Reid is a penetrating defensive lineman that does a great job at applying pressure on the quarterback. He has shown improvement this preseason as he was one of the top-rated Detroit Lions defensive players with a 77.9 grade by Pro Football Focus. the only concern San Diego should have is his fit in with Pagano’s 3-4 defense. He is too small to stop the run as a nose tackle and is not a natural 5 technique either. That being said, he is still way better than what the Chargers already have.
One of San Diego’s greatest strengths on their team are their cornerbacks. The talented trio of Jason Verrett, Brandon Flowers, and Casey Heyward help make a formidable secondary. However, outside of the "Big 3" the Chargers are paper thin at the cornerback position. All of these three have had recent injury concerns within the last couple of years. And if one of these cornerbacks were to miss an extended period of time, the Chargers could be in some major trouble. In addition, it looks like the Mager experiment has officially failed.
This is where the versatile Pierre Desir comes in. The 6-2’, 206 lb. cornerback gives the Chargers much needed size to their secondary and provides help to an already strong unit. Desir is a little more of a project as a player, but he will have the time to grow gradually as a cornerback behind Verrett and company. The Chargers are not going to be asking him to step in as a starter from day one as he is the fourth cornerback on the team. And if need be, Desir has the size and tackling skills to even play safety, a position of need for San Diego. This is why this is a phenomenal signing.
No matter how you put it, the San Diego Chargers improved today. But lets hear from the fans, do you like these signings? Or do you wish they signed some other players instead? In Telesco We Trust?