Yes, this is far too early for an accurate roster prediction. I’m well aware of this, but I find them fun anyway and there isn’t much going on yet since we are two weeks or so away from the start of camp. I wouldn’t say there are a large number of surprises, but there are definitely some discussions to be had at some key positions as to who the Chargers will decide to keep around.
Please note that the positions will be as they are listed on chargers.com
Quarterbacks: Philip Rivers, Kellen Clemens (2)
Don’t think there’s a lot to go into here, 17’s position is pretty safe and it’s clear the team really likes Clemens. Since they did nothing to address the backup spot in draft/free agency, this group remains the same.
Cuts: Mike Bercovici, Eli Jenkins
Running Backs: Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, Kenjon Barner, Andre Williams (4)
Position Battle: I think the fourth and final spot here will come down to Williams or Farrow. Considering they are the same age and with Williams’ experience and decent outing against the Chiefs in week 17 last season I believe he will get the nod.
Cuts: Kenneth Farrow, Austin Ekeler
Fullback: Derek Watt (1)
Nothing to really say here, the spot is Watt’s.
Wide Receivers: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman (5)
This is a spot I could see being pretty fun throughout training camp and preseason. If the team decides to keep a sixth WR, the battle would likely be down to Geremy Davis, Isaiah Burse, Jamaal Jones and Artavis Scott. I only have the team keeping five, but if they were to go with six I would have selected Isaiah Burse for his return skills and for how well he played in the preseason last year.
Cuts: Geremy Davis, Jamaal Jones, Da’Ron Brown, Isaiah Burse, Andre Patton, Mitchell Paige, Artavis Scott
Tight Ends: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Jeff Cumberland (3)
Gates again heads a strong one-two punch of a TE group, not much discussion to be had at the top. Henry is clearly the TE long-term and will likely lead in snaps/receptions/yards in the group for the season, so he’s going nowhere. Cumberland could be in a battle if there was much talent behind him but, spoiler, there isn’t.
Cuts: Sean McGrath, Asante Cleveland, Sean Culkin
Offensive Line: Russell Okung, Matt Slauson, Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp, Joe Barksdale, Chris Hairston, Spencer Pulley, Max Tuerk, Tyreek Burwell (9)
Position Battle: I went ahead and kept nine offensive linemen but even then it wasn’t clear who would remain on the roster here. Tyreek Burwell, Donavon Clark, Kenny Wiggins and Sam Tevi all could get that last spot and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. It’s clear the team values Wiggins, otherwise, I wouldn’t have considered it. Burwell, however, is someone the team has kept around as he learned the position and I feel he will solidify his position here in the preseason. Clark is coming off of season-ending surgery and Tevi is still new to the position himself, making them strong practice squad candidates.
Cuts: Brett Boyko, Dillon DeBoer, Kenny Wiggins, Donavon Clark, Sam Tevi
Defensive Tackles: Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane, Damion Square, Caraun Reid, Ryan Carrethers (5)
Note that Tenny Palepoi isn’t on this list. It’s not because I don’t think he deserves a roster spot, he does, however, he was suspended for four games with three remaining in 2016. This means, I believe, that he starts on the suspended list for the season so he won’t need to be accounted for until after week one. I’m sure he will be on the roster come week two.
Cuts: Kaleb Eulls
Defensive Ends: Melvin Ingram, Joey Bosa, Jerry Attaochu, Darius Philon, Isaac Rochell (5)
Position Battle: Chris Landrum, Chris McCain, and Isaac Rochell will be battling it out for the last spot here for DE. I really liked what I saw out of Landrum in the preseason last year but with having spent a draft pick on Rochell and not hearing much about either of the Chris’s I will lean in that direction. It wouldn’t be an upset if Landrum were to win this competition though, something to watch for.
Cuts: Chris Landrum, Chris McCain
Inside Linebackers: Denzel Perryman, Korey Toomer (2)
Both of these guys are making the team, there isn’t any debate there. Dzubnar can’t be on this roster come September, and I don’t have him being there. He isn’t good enough on special teams to justify a roster spot when he is as bad on defense as he is. He’s an easy cut for me.
Cuts: Nick Dzubnar
Outside Linebackers: Kyle Emanuel, Jatavis Brown, Joshua Perry, James Onwualu (4)
Position Battle: This is a young and talented group of backers, one that I can see taking a step forward next season in the new defensive scheme from Gus Bradley. The battle here is between UDFA’s Nigel Harris, Mike Moore, and James Onwualu. I went with Onwualu because he popped off the screen for me the most in the admittedly small amount I watched of them. This is a spot where I can see the team picking up a player that is cut instead of riding it out with a UDFA.
Cuts: Nigel Harris, Mike Moore
Cornerbacks: Jason Verrett, Casey Hayward, Desmond King, Michael Davis, Trovon Reed, Trevor Williams (6)
Position Battle: This might be my favorite position battle on the entire team. Michael Davis, Trovon Reed, Trevor Williams and Craig Mager are all competing for spots it would appear and I have the former third round pick being the odd man out. Reed and Williams both showed too many flashes last year to not be included for me and Davis has been talked about non-stop it seems from the moment he stepped on the field. This will be a fun battle to watch play out.
Cuts: Craig Mager, Randall Evans, Brandon Stewart, Brad Watson, Ryan Reid
Safeties: Jahleel Addae, Tre Boston, Rayshawn Jenkins, Dwight Lowery (4)
Another spot that was hard to decide on (when did the defensive backs get deep?) was this safety group. Stuckey has been solid on special teams since forever ago it seems, McCoil got a ton of experience while playing out of position last season and the team can’t stop gushing about Adrian Phillips any chance they get. Here, I have all three of them not making the squad but as I’ve said before it wouldn’t surprise me if any of them make it when it’s all said and done.
Cuts: Adrian Phillips, Dexter McCoil, Darrell Stuckey, Adrian McDonald
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Josh Lambo (1)
Punter: Drew Kaser (1)
Long Snapper: Mike Windt (1)
The only battle here is possibly between Lambo and Younghoe Koo. I would love to see Koo win that battle but there just isn’t anything to go off of yet at this point. I’ll just say that it would surprise me less than when Lambo won the job over Novak.
Cuts: Younghoe Koo, Toby Baker
Practice Squad (10)
QB Mike Bercovici
HB Kenneth Farrow
WR Artavis Scott
TE Sean Culkin
OG Donavon Clark
OT Sam Tevi
LB Nigel Harris
DE Chris Landrum
CB Brandon Stewart
S Adrian McDonald