Brandon Facyson was the lone defensive back signed as a UDFA following the 2018 NFL Draft. For many, he was one of the heavy favorites to be signed and continue the team’s streak of 22 years in a row where an undrafted free agent made the team.
The Chargers looovvveeee their defensive backs and often can’t get enough of them. And if you’re an undrafted free agent? Forget about it. Your chances of making the team skyrocket. All you have to do is see guys like former safety Jahleel Addae and cornerbacks Trevor Williams and Michael Davis. When the team’s media team puts out buffer pieces on a guy, it’s usually not just noise.
In his first year with the team, Facyson played in every game, including the postseason games, besides one (he was inactive). His highlights include a recovered fumble on kickoff coverage, four total tackles on the year, and throwing a block for Desmond King’s 33-yard punt return against the Baltimore Ravens in the wild card round of the playoffs, which was the longest punt return in franchise history.
Facyson played five years at Virginia Tech. In 2014, he received a medical hardship waiver that allowed him to gain a year of eligibility after playing in the team’s first three games.
As a freshman in 2013, Facyson was named a third-team All-ACC performer and a first-team Freshman All-American after he totaled 31 tackles, five interceptions, and eight pass breakups. After his medical hardship season, Facyson returned to start 10 of 12 games and finish with another 27 tackles and 10 pass breakups. He set career-highs during his redshirt junior season with 48 total tackles, four for loss, 11 PBUs, and a pair of forced fumbles in 14 starts.
As a senior, he started 11 of 13 games and finished with just 19 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, and five more passes broken up. He finished his career with a whopping 39 PBUs, likely giving the Chargers a notion that he has a knack for always being in the right position.
College: Virginia Tech
Years with team: 1
“Brandon Facyson signed a 3 year, $1,720,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $10,000 signing bonus, $10,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $573,333. In 2019, Facyson will earn a base salary of $570,000, while carrying a cap hit of $573,333 and a dead cap value of $6,667.” - Spotrac.com
Facyson is the prototypical defensive back that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley loves to use in his Cover1/3 defense. Length has always been his calling-card and when you looked at guys like Richard Sherman (6-foot-3) and Brandon Browner (6-foot-4) in that vaunted Legion of Boom, you saw what a cornerback duo with that size could do.
Although the top two guys on the roster are below 6-foot, the last several defensive backs signed as UDFAs have been at least 6-foot-2 (Davis, Facyson, and Jeff Richards). It’ll be interesting to see if Trevor Williams rounds back into his 2017 form, but if not, Facyson could find his way into some more playing time if they decide to rotate a little more with Davis in there as well.
After snagging five interceptions as a freshman while at Virginia Tech, Facyson failed to get his hands on another takeaway his entire career. Yes, he racked-up quite a few pass breakups but being able to get your hands wrapped around a few of those can help separate the good players from the great players.
He’s obviously shown enough to stick around with the lack of collegiate production so I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue going forward but hopefully secondary coach Ron Milus can coach up those hands.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
Facyson should be one of the safer bets to make the final roster as the team will likely keep a good amount of corners. Off the top of my head, he should be the fifth corner kept behind Casey Hayward, Desmond King, Williams, and Davis.
As for 2019, I expect his role to grow ever-so slightly but stay roughly within his role as a main special teams contributor.
Fun Fact: Facyson graduated from Northgate High-School early so he could enroll at VaTech in time for spring drills. He was named the top defensive newcomer for his efforts throughout the team’s multiple spring scrimmages.