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Final Chargers 53-man Roster Prediction Before Training Camp

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Minicamp Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Offense (25)

Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Cardale Jones (2)

Prior to the acquisition of the Cardale Jones, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the Chargers would carry Rivers and Clemens into the regular season, but now that they have traded for Jones he is the most likely player to backup El Capitan.

Running backs: Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, Kenjon Barner, Derek Watt (4)

Gordon and Oliver are a given to make the team. Watt is the only fullback, so he’s in as well. That leaves a contest between Barner and Andre Williams for the fifth spot. Barner has additional value on special teams and that earns him the nod here.

Wide Receivers: Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Isaiah Burse (5)

There is no real chance that Allen, Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, and Inman fail to make the cut at the end of the preseason. Burse only makes the team if Mike Williams is unable to get on the field. Otherwise, the Chargers’ first round pick will take that last spot away from him. For now, it does not look good, so I have Burse making the 53.

Tight Ends: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Jeff Cumberland, Seth McGrath (4)

Henry and Gates were both amazing last year. They should continue to be great this year probably with their work totals reversed as Henry takes on a larger role in the offense.

After them, there is not a ton of talent. Jeff Cumberland is returning from a torn Achilles but he is the best option available. After him, the team seems to like McGrath and he’s not as bad as the other tight ends on the roster behind him.

Offensive Tackles: Russell Okung, Joe Barksdale, Chris Hairston, Tyreek Burwell (4)

The Chargers signed Okung to a big deal for a reason this offseason. They expect him to protect Rivers’ blindside. He is the only legitimate starting left tackle on the roster.

At right tackle, the Chargers need Barksdale to bounce back from his dreadful 2016 season. Both Hairston and Burwell are passable right tackles behind him.

Burwell is probably the most likely of this group to not make it.

Offensive Guards/Centers: Matt Slauson, Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney, Spencer Pulley, Max Tuerk, Donavon Clark (6)

This group is so much stronger than last year’s interior line. It’s incredible. There is also a ton of versatility in this group as some of them are also capable of playing at tackle.

There is a lot of competition here, but I expect Slauson, Lamp, and Pulley to be the starters week 1.

Defense (25)

Defensive Ends: Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Jerry Attaochu, Darius Philon, Isaac Rochell (5)

Bos and Ingram are your starters at end and the team will need to carry at least two backups. Attaochu and Philon are the safer picks here. I only have Rochell making it because Palepoi will start the season suspended.

Attaochu really needs to show something this year as he has largely been a disappointment. He’s still a talented pass rusher, though, so there’s hope.

Chris Landrum will also push to make this group, but I think he just misses out.

Defensive Tackles: Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane, Damion Square, Caraun Reid (4)

This is an interesting group and it gets more interesting when Palepoi comes back from suspension (probably at the expense of either Rochell or Philon). Mebane and Liuget should benefit a lot from the new defensive scheme. Square and Reid are very capable backups that will rotate in a lot.

Inside Linebackers: Korey Toomer, Denzel Perryman, Nick Dzubnar (3)

There is no guarantee which linebackers end up at which spots right now, but Toomer and Perryman are making this team. Dzubnar is a favorite to survive on the back of the roster just because of his role on special teams.

Outside Linebackers: Joshua Perry, Kyle Emanuel, Jatavis Brown (3)

Jatavis Brown was great last year and Emanuel is a great fit as the Sam in Gus Bradley’s defense. Joshua Perry is a capable backup.

James Onwualu should challenge for a spot but probably will lose out to Dzubnar. He’s a more exciting player but has an uphill climb.

Cornerbacks: Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Desmond King, Trovon Reed, Michael Davis (5)

Hayward, Verrett, and King are a lock to make the team. After that, it’s an open competition.

Trovon Reed showed well last year and Davis has been a standout this offseason. Craig Mager is the surprise cut here, but he has been mediocre at best.

Safety: Jahleel Addae, Tre Boston, Rayshawn Jenkins, Dwight Lowery, Adrian Phillips (5)

I really wanted to leave Lowery off here, but I just don’t see that happening. Darrell Stuckey at this point is no longer going to be a surprise when he gets cut. Dexter McCoil is a much more interesting prospect than Phillips, but the team seems to love Phillips so I have him making it.

Special Teams (3)

Long Snapper: Mike Windt

Mike Windt is the only long snapper on the roster.

Kicker: Josh Lambo

Lambo will probably have the edge against undrafted free agent kicker Younghoe Koo.

Punter: Drew Kaser

Kaser struggled early last year, but he improved throughout the year and should be the punter on day 1.

What do you think? Who did I leave off that you think will make it? Who would you cut to keep them?