Now that two preseason games have come to an end, it is a perfect time to predict which players are going to make the final 53-man roster for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Back in May, another 53-man prediction was released and it is time for an update. Some minor transactions and injuries to key contributors have opened up spots for some unlikely candidates.
Without further ado, here is what the Chargers roster might look like when the team heads into Denver for their week one matchup.
Like last time, the positions are based on the roster found on Chargers.com
Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Cardale Jones (2)
The lack of depth at running back and along the offensive line are going to force the Chargers to only keep two quarterbacks. Neither Kellen Clemens or Cardale Jones have shown much so far in the preseason, but Jones has youth on his side.
Running back: Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, Andre Williams, Derek Watt (4)
Los Angeles is paper thin at running back. Although Branden Oliver is talented, he hasn’t been healthy in a long time. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Chargers look to pickup a veteran back once teams cut their rosters down.
Other than Melvin Gordon, no running back has shown anything through two preseason games. The offensive line in front of them has been atrocious, but Williams has had the best look so far, giving him the nod.
Wide Receiver: Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Mike Williams, Isaiah Burse (6)
Assuming Mike Williams misses the first month or so of the season, the Chargers could use an extra receiver. The battle for that last spot appears extremely close. Isaiah Burse, Geremy Davis, and Jamaal Jones have all had strong performances thus far.
Still, Burse will get the nod due to his return ability on special teams. He may not last the whole season once Williams returns, but he could bring an early season boost to the return game.
Tight End: Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry, Sean Culkin (3)
Surprisingly, the battle for the final tight end job appears to be wide open. Veterans Sean McGrath and Jeff Cumberland have allowed the younger players to push for a spot on the Chargers.
Rookies Mike Estes, Sean Culkin, Matt Weiser have all seen the field for a significant time. At the moment, it appears that both Culkin and Weiser have a real chance to make this team.
The edge will go to Culkin at the moment. Weiser has made a few nice catches, but Culkin has looked like a better blocker. With two top-tier receiving threats in front of him, Culkin could help block in heavy sets.
Offensive Tackle: Russell Okung, Joe Barksdale, Chris Hairston, (3)
Sadly, the Chargers backup tackles have been dreadful. Tyreek Burwell and Chris Hairston have both been unable to protect their quarterback. Now that Burwell has a broken hand, he probably won’t make it to the regular season.
There is a slim chance that Sam Tevi makes the roster due to Burwell’s injury, but he probably is best suited for the practice squad. This is another position where the Chargers could look to add someone after other teams make their cuts.
Guard/Center: Spencer Pulley, Barrett Gouger, Matt Slauson, Kenny Wiggins, Donovan Clark, Dan Feeney (6)
The injuries along the offensive line will force the Chargers to keep nine offensive linemen. Losing Forrest Lamp hurts, but it appears that there are four solid interior offensive line players. Both Matt Slauson and Kenny Wiggins have looked decent and may have solidified starting roles. Spencer Pulley has also locked down the starting center job. While rookie Dan Feeney will be the primary backup on the inside.
Defensive End: Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Chris McCain, Jeremiah Attaochu, Isaac Rochell (5)
One of the biggest surprises during training camp has been Chirs McCain. He has made a strong case to be a third-down pass rusher. As Jeremiah Attaochu continues his struggles, McCain has been making plays all over the field.
Rookie Isaac Rochell will also make the team due to his ability to stop the run. This unit is headlined by two Pro Bowl caliber players, but if McCain can create pressure, there may be depth here.
Defensive Tackle: Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget, Damion Square, Caraun Reid (4)
In Gus Bradley’s 4-3 defensive scheme, both Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget should create a strong interior duo. Both are solid run stoppers and are strong enough to create pressure up the middle.
After flashes of strong play last season, Damion Square has been able to separate himself on the second and third team defense. He should be a lock to make the roster.
Inside Linebacker: Korey Toomer, James Onwualu (2)
Denzel Perryman will be out for an extended period of time and that will leave Korey Toomer to fill the void. Alongside Jatavis Brown, Toomer played well last season and should be able to hold down the fort in Perryman’s absence.
Rookie James Onwualu has played well so far and may beat out veteran Nick Dzubnar for the final inside linebacker spot.
Outside Linebacker: Jatavis Brown, Kyle Emanuel, Joshua Perry, Nigel Harris (4)
At outside linebacker, the Chargers are also fairly thin. Both Brown and Kyle Emanuel are locks to start, but there isn’t much competition behind them. Joshua Perry and Nigel Harris will both make the roster as backups.
Cornerback: Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Desmond King, Trevor Williams, Michael Davis, Trovon Reed (6)
As Desmond King has put on a show, Los Angeles still has questions surrounding the cornerback position. Depth appears to be an issue with three unproven players making the roster.
As Craig Mager returns to practice, he will be trying to snag one of the last cornerback spots. However, Michael Davis and Trevor Williams have been on the field for the majority of the first two preseason games. For now, Mager is off the roster until he sees the field.
Safety: Jahleel Addae, Dwight Lowery, Tre Boston, Rayshawn Jenkins, Dexter McCoil (5)
The safety battle is between Adrian Phillips and Dexter McCoil. Phillips has been praised for his work on the practice field and in the meeting rooms, while McCoil has been making plays on game day.
It’s too close to call at this point, but McCoil has made some big time plays including a 99-yard pick six against New Orleans. He will make the team as a safety/linebacker hybrid.
Special Teams (3)
Kicker: Josh Lambo
Punter: Drew Kaser
Long Snapper: Mike Windt
T Sam Tevi, TE Matt Weiser, WR Jamaal Jones, C Barrett Gouger, CB Randall Evans, QB Mike Bercovici, RB Kenneth Farrow, G Brett Boyko, LB Kyle Coleman, DE Whitney Richardson