The UDFA signing period is a mad dash to sign some of the biggest names that did not get to hear their name get called during the draft. There are some really good players that somehow slip through the cracks and it’s every other team’s loss when they miss out on some of these guys. In the Chargers’ UDFA haul, they signed some big-time players on the defensive side of the ball but offensive-minded fans may have found the other side of the ball lacking in any sort of star power. However, that didn’t stop our team from digging into the film and finding a guy or two who we really like or who we believe has a good shot at making the final 53-man roster.
Garrett Sisti: I think Ben Johnson the Tight End from Kansas is interesting. The two things that’ll earn Johnson some work on this team is his blocking skills & Special Teams ability. He tested well at his Pro Day and even before the Hunter Henry injury I think Johnson would’ve made some noise in camp and in play as the 3rd Tight End, now it just might be for the backup behind Virgil Green.
Matthew Stanley: I think FB Anthony Manzo-Lewis is my favorite UDFA player on offense. He is a punishing blocker and a very effective pass catcher out of the backfield. With Hunter Henry out for the year, the Chargers are going to need to get creative and I think Manzo-Lewis is a versatile weapon that gives them some options.
Jamie Hoyle: I have to go with Ben Johnson, as well. He looks like he’s capable of making plays as a receiver at all three levels of a defense, he’s a willing and capable blocker, and he’s athletic enough to help on special teams. He has a solid opportunity to soar up the depth chart with a good showing in training camp and the preseason.
Jamie Sewell: I think J.J Jones, WR from West Georgia is going to be fun to watch in Preseason. He ran a 4.35 40 yard dash, a 6.83 3 cone and a 38 inch vertical jump. Problem is, he only weighs 173 lb and he had just 24 catches for 278 yards in his final year of college ball. I think his chances of winning a spot on the roster as a WR are virtually zero, but he handled punt returns in college, and Special Teams could be his key to making the team.
Michael Peterson: I really like offensive lineman Chris Durant out of William & Mary. The guy was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Tribe and immediately stood out when I threw on his film. What popped the most for me was that he is spews the fundamentals in his technique. He’s quick-footed and patient in pass protection, only striking when the moment is right. He isn’t the strongest cat on the field but he sure knows how to create leverage in the run game with proper hand-technique.
I saw a lot of the “project” offensive tackles this year go in the 3rd-5th round just because of their height and weight combos. Durant is years ahead of most of the linemen drafted in terms of the little things he does right and I believe he could be a serious back-up option to left tackle Russell Okung.