So far this preseason, a handful of rotational players have solidified their spots on the final 53. Players like Desmond King and Chris McCain have put together strong performances while others are still looking to make one great play.
Now that there is only one preseason game remaining, it is time for the players at the bottom of the depth chart to make their mark. Many positions appear to have already been settled, but there are a few that are still there for the taking.
As roster spots are on the line, some players need to have tremendous performances to give themselves a chance. Most fans won’t be paying close attention to Thursday’s game, but for the players, their lifelong dream is within reach.
Craig Mager, Trovon Reed, Trevor Williams, Michael Davis
In all likelihood, only two of these players are going to make the roster. With Trovon Reed and Craig Mager missing precious time in training camp due to injuries, they probably have the biggest uphill climb.
Assuming that Trevor Williams and Michael Davis play like they have been, they will make the team. However, if the former third-round pick Mager can have a big game, maybe he can steal the final cornerback spot.
Kenjon Barner/Andre Williams/Austin Ekeler
Through three games, the performance of the running backs has been uninspiring. Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver are locks to make the roster, but the remaining backs have been unable to capitalize on a wide open roster spot.
Most assumed that Kenjon Barner would be the third running back because he is a change of pace, but he has shown next to nothing. Andre Williams has also struggled behind a bad second-team offensive line. The unlikeliest candidate is Austin Ekeler, who looked solid in his limited action against the Rams.
This battle will likely come down to the game against San Francisco. All of these backs should get a good look and will get a real chance to show why they deserve to make the team.
The Los Angeles Chargers linebacker situation became an issue the second Denzel Perryman went down with an ankle injury. This has forced undrafted rookies and career special teamers to try and fill the void.
While rookies James Onwualu and Nigel Harris play with the first and second team defense, Dzubnar has been relegated to the third team. Dzubnar has gotten bullied in the run game, but he is still a solid special teams player. Plus, Dzubnar is a veteran that appears to have a strong understanding of Gus Bradley’s system.
Playing well on Thursday is paramount for Dzubnar. At 26, he doesn’t have many shots left.
Dexter McCoil/Adrian Phillips
Coming off two solid performances, McCoil will need another strong game to solidify his spot on the roster. With a 99-yard pick six and a few bone-crushing hits, McCoil just needs to play within himself to be the last safety to make the roster.
His competition will be Adrian Phillips. A player who has been lauded for his play on the practice field and the time he spends watching film. Phillips may not have the highlight reel that McCoil does, but it only takes one big play to get his name back in the conversation.
This is the battle to watch against San Francisco.
The former sixth-round pick’s career may be on the line this week. Darius Philon has been fairly quiet this preseason, but with Tenny Palepoi suspended for the first four games of the season, Philon could sneak onto the roster.
The Chargers defensive line has some decent depth with players like Damion Square and Isaac Rochell, but Philon could be the final player alongside them. He should get plenty of snaps this week.
The odds that Kellen Clemens make the roster are looking slimmer and slimmer. Cardale Jones appears to have jumped him on the depth chart. Only if head coach Anthony Lynn decides to keep three quarterbacks will he be included in the final 53.
Still, Clemens could play flawlessly and make the decision tougher. Yes, that is highly unlikely, but Clemens is a 12-year NFL veteran for a reason. If he wants to stick around for one more year, he needs this game as much as anyone.