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Chargers UDFA Spotlight: FB Anthony Manzo-Lewis

Could Derek Watt’s job be in jeopardy?

Once the final selection is made in the NFL draft, teams rush to sign the best prospects who never heard their name called over the previous three days. The hauls for each team will vary depending on needs but for the most part, you can predict that each team will select a few players at important positions such as cornerbacks and pass rushers.

After this year’s draft, the Chargers did just that by signing a pair of defensive ends and another four cornerbacks. But if you were to ask me which UDFA has me most excited about this class, I’d have to say fullback Anthony Manzo-Lewis out of Albany University.

At 6-foot-0 and weighing in at 257 pounds, Manzo-Lewis is built like a traditional fullback but was lined up in just about every spot possible besides the traditional I-formation. The slot, in-line, wing-TE, and in the backfield, Manzo-Lewis was all over the place. He was even used when the offense went with an empty backfield, which is hardly a formation known for including a fullback.

If we have learned anything about Anthony Lynn over the past year, and more specifically from this year’s draft class, the coaching staff and general manager Tom Telesco are all-in on the idea of creating competition at each position group while maintaining versatility across the roster.

The team currently employs Derek Watt at the fullback position and while his play has been satisfactory in his first two seasons, the idea of being able to knock out two positions with one player is always something to consider. With Manzo-Lewis adept at playing multiple positions along the offense, he offers greater upside than Watt who is mostly deployed as a run-blocker and special teams contributor.

Obviously, the cards are stacked against Manzo-Lewis as a UDFA and it also doesn’t help that he played at a mid-major program, but I like the uncertainty that Lynn has brought onto this team. Players that have always been shoe-ins to make the roster found that this wasn’t the case prior to the 2017 season.

Regardless, it’s terribly early in the process, but that doesn’t stop me from getting excited about players I’ve taken a liking to since the end of the draft. For you guys who haven’t seen or heard much about Manzo-Lewis, here is the only game film I could find plus a highlight reel of LA’s newest fullback.