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Analyzing the Chargers UDFA Haul: Defense and Special Teams

Lets take a closer look at what 7 of the newest members of the Chargers might bring to the table.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

CB Michael Davis - BYU

At least physically, Davis is very much the 'prototype' of what teams are looking for at CB in the modern NFL. Davis has the size, at 6'2, 196 lbs, and has the speed - he ran a 4.34 40 yard dash at his pro day.

Annoyingly, the only video I can find of Davis is a 38 second highlight reel, so it's really hard to get a feel for his skillset. He was a WR in High School but played CB all four years at BYU, starting 30 games over his four year career. He had just one interception in those 30 starts (and 48 total games), so he's probably not going to be a ballhawk. He also had 17 pass breakups during his career - although interestingly, not a single one came during his senior year.

Realistically, if Davis was any good in coverage, he'd have been drafted with the physical tools that he possesses. Still, he's an intriguing prospect (and probably the fastest man on the Chargers roster right now). He'll definitely get a chance to show what he can do in preseason.

Chances of making the 53: 3/10

LB Nigel Harris - South Florida

Harris is a 6'0, 220lb OLB who was originally a walk-on to USF. Four years later he finished his college career, totalling 232 career tackles, 5.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles, leading the NCAA in forced fumbles in 2014 with 6. He played in a 3-4 base defense in college, but projects to be a LB in the 4-3 that the Chargers are expected to run, potentially at the 'Will' position, as he played a similar role in college.

Harris ran a 4.53 40 yard dash, which is really impressive for a 220lb linebacker. From the forced fumbles stat, you'd probably have guessed that Harris also has some force to his hits, and you'd be right. He's no Ray Lewis, but he does a nice job of delivering shots to opposing players - on one play, he hit the receiver so hard that his helmet fell right into Harris' hands. Check it out (it's at 2:18 here):

Like so many of the UDFAs the Chargers signed, Harris is raw. I wasn't able to find many clips of him in coverage, and his tackling technique needs work. He goes in high a lot of the time, and while that might have worked in college, that's a disaster waiting to happen in the NFL against some of the best athletes in the world.

With that said, I'm impressed by Harris. He was a key component of a USF team that went from 2-10 in his freshman year to 11-2 his senior year. He was constantly around the football, and he definitely has the physical skillset to compete in the NFL. This is a Chargers team without a lot of depth at LB, and I could definitely see Harris stealing a roster spot this year.

Chances of making the 53: 5/10

LB Mike Moore - Kansas State

Initially, I couldn't find anything on Mike Moore from Kansas State - until I realised that his full name was actually Charmeachaelle Moore. Moore has one hell of a story, having undergone surgery in 2014 to remove a tumor from his brain. Somehow, he recovered enough to play football again, and finished his 2016 season with 72 tackles, making him an Honorable Mention All Big 12.

At 6'0, 217 lbs, Moore isn't the biggest LB out there, and it shows on tape. When a blocker gets their hands on him, he's getting moved backwards and there's nothing he can do about it. He doesn't do a great job of staying clean, either. He's at times over-eager to make the play, and that can result in either taking a bad angle to the ball or running straight into an opposing lineman.

There are parts of Moore's game to like - he's a smart, aggressive player who clearly has decent football instincts. If he's able to pack on 10 or 15 lbs more, there could definitely be something to work with. For now, though, he's probably got too many holes in his game to make it onto the 53.

Chances of making the 53: 2.75/10

LB James Onawualu - Notre Dame

A WR-turned-LB, Onawaulu is built a bit more like a LB at 6'1, 232 lb, but he's still slightly undersized for the role. In his senior season, Onawualu recorded an impressive 75 tackles, with 11.5 coming for loss. He ran a 4.73 40 yard dash, but looks slightly faster on tape.

He's pretty good as a coverage LB, which you could accredit to his WR days. Notre Dame used him in that role a lot, and he held up pretty well. They also liked to line up Onawualu as an edge rusher, but that's not really a strength of his. Like Moore, he struggles when a lineman gets his hands on them. He's stronger against the run than Moore, but he's definitely more comfortable as a coverage linebacker than when playing against the run.

Onawualu's real strength lies on Special Teams. He was a standout there throughout his Notre Dame career, and his best chance of making the Chargers roster will be if he can displace Nick Dzubnar as the ST stud/LB that the team likes to keep around so much. If he was just a LB, I wouldn't fancy his chances, but that ST value gives him a good shot of making the roster.

Chances of making the 53: 4.5/10

CB Brandon Stewart - Kansas

Stewart is listed at 6'0, 178 lbs and had a pretty nice career at Kansas. In this past season, Stewart managed to grab 3 interceptions to go along with 8 pass breakups and 25 tackles. He ran a 4.58 40 yard dash at his pro day, which is reasonable enough for a CB, although a little on the slower side.

There's not a lot of information out there about Stewart, and there's next to no tape of him, either, which is a shame. He'll have to make his mark on the Chargers if he wants to show the world what he's about. The Chargers might be slightly lacking in depth at the CB position, but I don't like Stewart's chances of grabbing a spot on the 53. On the Practice Squad, maybe.

Chances of making the 53: 3/10

CB Brad Watson - Wake Forest

Listed at 6'0, 200 lbs, Watson has the sort of size you'd expect in a modern NFL CB. He managed to record 161 tackles over his four year career, and 63 in his senior year, with 16(!) pass deflections in 2015.

Interestingly, Watson has been projected as a safety in the NFL, a move which I think suits him best. His coverage on tape was okay, but with a 40 yard time of 4.65 he was always going to struggle to keep up with NFL calibre athletes.

Unfortunately for Watson, the Chargers are actually fairly deep at safety. The team love Adrian Phillips (for whatever reason), Darrell Stuckey will probably stick around to provide ST value, Dexter McCoil is a fan favourite and Adrian McDonald had a strong preseason last year. Watson looked fairly polished on tape, but he's going to have an uphill battle converting to a new position and winning a job there in just a couple of months.

Chances of making the 53 - 3.5/10

K - Younghoe Koo, Georgia Southern

I've never evaluated a kicker before, but I will say this: Josh Lambo did not have a good 2016 season at all. Younghoe Koo must have some pedigree to be one of the few men in the country given the chance at becoming an NFL kicker, and he's been put in a place where he has a real chance to win the job.

Also, he did this:

I hope Lambo is ready for a fight.

Chances of making the 53: 5/10