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A post-draft look at the Chargers’ offensive depth chart

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Cleveland Browns v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Quarterback

  1. Philip Rivers
  2. Tyrod Taylor
  3. Easton Stick
  4. Cardale Jones

The offseason signing of Tyrod Taylor gives the Chargers a competent back-up quarterback for the first time since....Billy Volek? I don’t know, but the 2019 QB room looks to be in the best shape since Drew Brees was with the team.

I’m not sure if the Chargers will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster unless they actually plan to use fifth-round pick Easton Stick at some point during games. If that’s the case, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see them continue to keep Cardale Jones on the practice squad.

Side note: How cool would it be to see Ken Whisenhunt find a way to put Rivers, Taylor, and Stick on the field at the same time? If they were to replace Derek Watt and a tight end in a three wide receiver set, you still have quite a bit of athleticism on the field. Who knows, but that’d be quite the fever dream.

Running Back

  1. Melvin Gordon
  2. Austin Ekeler
  3. Justin Jackson
  4. Detrez Newsome
  5. Troymaine Pope
  6. Jeremy Cox

Gordon and Ekeler were both ranked among the top-5 at the running back position according to Pro Football Focus in 2018. Even when those two were sidelined by injuries, third and fourth-string backs Jackson and Newsome were still enough to help the team achieve come-from-behind victories at Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

Troymaine Pope was essentially signed at the end of last season to give the team some emergency depth behind Jackson and Newsome so I don’t expect him to stick around long. My money is on Cox to push him for the practice squad running back role this season.

Overall, the Chargers have one of the deepest running back rooms in the league and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them find a way to get Jackson some carries even with Gordon and Ekeler healthy.

Fullback

  1. Derek Watt

I thought last year that UDFA FB Anthony Manzo-Lewis was going to push Watt for the fullback spot, but at this rate, I don’t think Watt is going anywhere anytime soon.

Wide Receiver

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Travis Benjamin
  4. Geremy Davis
  5. Dylan Cantrell
  6. Artavis Scott
  7. Andre Patton
  8. Justice Liggins
  9. Jason Moore
  10. Trevion Thompson

The loss of Tyrell Williams from this group should not be understated. Regardless if Tyrell played third fiddle to Mike Williams a year ago, there aren’t many people in the league who commanded attention like number 16 did. Benjamin is the lone player known for being a “speedster” left on the roster but absolutely no one wants him to see the field anymore than he already is.

If the Chargers want to go a different route, they could settle for another big-bodied wideout in last year’s sixth-round pick, Dylan Cantrell. At 6-3 and 225 pounds, Cantrell has elite athleticism and some of the best contested catch skills among this group. I would think that’s the type of player Rivers wants to throw to.

Guys like Davis and Scott will battle for the last spot or two on the active roster, should the team choose to keep six wideouts. Patton and Liggins will continue to try and survive on the practice squad while their newest DII WR Jason Moore should be their most interesting offensive UDFA this summer.

I can’t see Thompson anymore than a camp body as his collegiate production was close to irrelevant at Clemson.

Tight End

  1. Hunter Henry
  2. Virgil Green
  3. Sean Culkin
  4. Vince Mayle
  5. Daniel Helm
  6. Matt Sokol

It’s going to feel oh-so good when we all get to see Hunter Henry trot back out on the field later this year. We can all hope he bounces back in a big way. Green will be a very solid TE2 who will continue to benefit the run game. If Antonio Gates does actually call it a career, Culkin should slide right in as the third tight end. He has grown as a receiver over the last two years but he will likely continue to be a consistent blocker in big boy formations.

Of the bottom three tight ends, I believe former Blue Devil Daniel Helm has the best chance of making the team. He was a high-profile recruit coming out of high-school but his career at Duke never really reflected that. Still, I believe he has the best pedigree of the three and the most well-rounded game.

Sokol and Mayle should be fighting for a practice squad spot.

Offensive Tackle

  1. Russel Okung
  2. Sam Tevi
  3. Trey Pipkins
  4. Trent Scott
  5. Blake Camper

Okung sits snuggly on top of this group as the most experienced and talented player by a mile. Tevi is the incumbent at the right tackle spot and should get pushed by Pipkins during training camp. The team did use a third round pick on the guy and seem to love him enough so I could see him starting sooner rather than later.

The team was okay with Scott as their emergency/swing tackle last year as a rookie UDFA from Grambling State. He saw the most action against the LA Rams in week 3 and learned the hard way how good you need to be in this league after getting run over by Ndamakung Suh. With the recent release of Zachary Crabtree, Camper is the only tackle left. He has tremendous size at 6-foot-8 but is likely a longshot unless he shows some versatility.

Offensive Guard

  1. Dan Feeney
  2. Michael Schofield
  3. Forrest Lamp
  4. Spencer Drango
  5. Koda Martin
  6. Chris Brown

This spot looked a lot better last year at this time. After a promising rookie year that saw him earn a starting spot sooner than expected, Feeney regressed in a big way in 2018. With the overall team success, Anthony Lynn didn’t see a reason to make any changes along the offensive line during the season so Feeney never had to worry about losing his spot and neither did Schofield. Forrest Lamp is still alive and as healthy as he’s ever been in the NFL. The offseason hype for him has begun and we will see if anything actually comes of it. Right now, he is splitting reps with the first team and has also been working at some offensive tackle.

Behind Lamp is Drango, a former Baylor Bear who spent some time with the Cleveland Browns to begin his career. Martin is a former right tackle at Texas A&M who is listed as a guard by the Chargers to my surprise and Brown is another local product that won his team’s Offensive Linemen of the Year Award back in 2017.

All three will liekly struggle to make the active roster but one or two should find themselves on the practice squad.

Center

  1. Mike Pouncey
  2. Scott Quessenberry
  3. Cole Toner
  4. Tanner Volson

The addition of Pouncey during last year’s free agency period was the best thing the Chargers did last year apart from drafting Derwin James. He immediately made the entire offensive line better and it showed no matter who was running the ball behind them.

Quessenberry played center while at UCLA but the Chargers have him listed on the roster as a G/C so he’s essentially one of their first guys off the bench in a pinch. Toner was active most games once he signed with the team in the middle of last season, even over Lamp most weeks. He can play guard and center which is why the team covets him.

I like the addition of Volson because it provides some familiarity for Stick during his rookie season. Probably one of the smartest moves by the team during this offseason. I’m not sure if he sticks, but he has a load of experience in college and won a lot of games with Stick at North Dakota State. He was the FCS winner of the Rimington Trophy and a unanimous All-American at the mid-major level.