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Thoughts on the Chargers’ final 53-man roster

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NFL: Preseason-Los Angeles Chargers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We are currently TWO SLEEPS AWAY from NFL football being BACK!

Every team has made their cuts, with a flurry of teams making some last-minute trades to secure needed depth at lackluster positions across their depth chart.

The Chargers didn’t feel the need to bring in any help from outside sources and will roll into their week one match-up against the Indianapolis Colts with 53 men that they coached and groomed over the last two months.

Without further ado, here is the final 53-man roster and just some thoughts I have about each group. It’s not the best, but it’s certainly not the worst (but also don’t spend a lot of time looking at the offensive line group).

Quarterbacks (3)

  1. Philip Rivers
  2. Tyrod Taylor
  3. Easton Stick

No surprises here. The third and final quarterback spot was being fought for by 2019 fifth-round pick Easton Stick and four-year veteran Cardale Jones. Although Jones looked like the best passer during the month of August, he has been in the system for over three years and his progression has been minimal. Stick faltered during the season finale, but he showed enough in the first three games to warrant a commitment from the team with the potential to grow into a dynamic, multi-faceted signal-caller in the NFL.

Running Backs (4)

  1. Austin Ekeler
  2. Justin Jackson
  3. Troymaine Pope
  4. Derek Watt

With the Chargers officially telling Gordon that they won’t be negotiating any further until the 2019 season comes to a close, the Chargers will move forward with an R.B.BC., a.k.a. a “Running Back By Committee.”

Ekeler will draw the starts for the forseeable future but him and Jackson will likely split carries fairly evenly. Troymaine Pope put together an impressive offseason/training camp which caused the team to give him the nod over Detrez Newsome for the last running back slot. This is one of the more interesting decisions by the staff, mostly because there was no negative news about Newsome that coincided with the positive reviews from Pope.

Either way, hopefully Pope exhibits the same knack for play-making as Newsome did during those dramatic wins against Chiefs and Steelers late last season.

Wide Receivers (5)

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Travis Benjamin
  4. Dontrelle Inman
  5. Geremy Davis

To many fan’s surprise, the Chargers decided to only keep five wide receivers, leading the team to keep veterans Geremy Davis and Dontrelle Inman over promising youngsters Andre Patton and Artavis Scott. Scott was far-and-away the best wideout during the preseason but was waived for Davis, whom the team adores for his special teams contributions.

The team stuck Patton and Scott on the practice squad along with 2019 UDFA wide receiver Jason Moore. Moore was from Divison II Findlay University but had a nose for the end zone while he was there. At 6-foot-2 and 210+ pounds, Moore is an intriguing developmental player that fits the mold of the big-bodied wideouts that Rivers loves to throw to.

Tight Ends (3)

  1. Hunter Henry
  2. Virgil Green
  3. Sean Culkin

The tight end group was one of the easiest to predict this year, especially after Andrew Vollert, the team’s only promising newcomer to the position group, tore his ACL against the Arizona Caridnals in the team’s first preseason exhibition.

Henry, Green, and Culkin make up an extremely dependable tight end room which always goes a long way towards the success of Philip Rivers in the passing game. Henry returns from his ACL tear last season in what should FINALLY be his breakout year as the team’s undisputed TE1. Green filled in admirably for Henry, catching a single touchdown on the year but did most of his work opening holes for Melvin Gordon and company in the ground game.

Culkin made the team several year’s ago as an undrafted free agent out of Missouri. He wasn’t used all that much as a pass-catcher but has progressed enough in that area over the years to warrant more trust from Rivers. He saw plenty of run with the first-team in training camp, catching multiple touchdowns during the team’s joint practices with the Saints and Rams.

Offensive Line (8)

  1. Forrest Lamp
  2. Mike Pouncey
  3. Michael Schofield
  4. Sam Tevi
  5. Dan Feeney
  6. Trent Scott
  7. Trey Pipkins
  8. Scott Quessenberry

Anthony Lynn recently named Dan Feeney as the teams starter at left guard over Forrest Lamp for the team’s week one match-up against the Indianapolis Colts. That may come as a surprise to most after Lamp received the majority of snaps there during the preseason. However, with Mike Pouncey getting the preseason off with the rest of the veterans, Feeney was relegated to center which opened things up for Lamp at LG. However, with Pouncey back in the fold, it looks like Lynn didn’t want to change things up anymore than he had to from last year’s starting five. I still believe Lamp eventually wrestles the job away from Feeney, but this week is not going to be that week.

Pipkins and Quessenberry make up the rest of the back-ups for the position, giving the group at one contingency plan at each center, guard, and tackle.

Don’t assume the starting five is anywhere near complete. Depending how this unit performs against the Colts, you could see some movement before the team takes the field in Detroit against the Lions.

Defensive Line (10)

  1. Joey Bosa
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Brandon Mebane
  4. Justin Jones
  5. Jerry Tillery
  6. Damion Square
  7. Isaac Rochell
  8. Uchenna Nwosu
  9. Chris Peace
  10. Cortez Broughton

UDFA OLB/DE Chris Peace makes the final 53-man roster as one of two undrafted players who help keep the 22-year streak alive of a UDFA making the opening day roster. He led the team in sacks this preseason with two while consistently getting pressure on the quarterback whenever he was in the game.

Nwosu is included in this group due to the fact he played mostly LEO in place of Ingram while the veteran got the preseason off with Bosa and Mebane. I expect Nwosu to get rotated in heavily along the defensive line, especially in pass-rushing situations.

Jones and Tillery will also rotate at the three-technique with Jones likely getting the starting nod week one. Rochell and Square will continue to play significant roles up front, as well.

Linebackers (7)

  1. Thomas Davis Sr.
  2. Denzel Perryman
  3. Kyzir White
  4. Jatavis Brown
  5. Drue Tranquill
  6. Emeke Egbule
  7. Nick Dzubnar

To my dismay, the Chargers decided to keep Dzubnar on the final 53 even though he has a zero percent chance of seeing the field on anything other than special teams. But, we all know how much this team loves their special teams contributors so I can’t say I’m THAT surprised.

On Monday afternoon following practice, Coach Lynn stated that Kyzir White will draw the start at MIKE linebacker in place of Denzel Perryman who is “still shaking off some rust.” White has played extremely well this preseason and is one of the guys I’m most excited to see on the field come week one. 15-year veteran Thomas Davis has been the starter at WILL linebacker since he signed with the Bolts in free agency but the team has yet to name the starter at SAM linebacker prior to Sunday’s contest. Brown would be the obvious choice to fill-in there but since he didn’t practice on Monday, his availability is still up in the air.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see Drue Tranquill earn some serious playing time by the end of the regular season. He’s been a star in each of the team’s preseason games, leading the team in tackles in three of the four exhibitions. He’s been so good, that NFL Network analyst and former NFL player, Brian Baldinger recently did one of his #BaldyBreakdowns about Tranquill on his Twitter account.

The team’s 2019 sixth-round pick, Emeke Egbule, got some nice run during the preseason , as well. He showed the versatility to play the LEO position while also holding his own in coverage off the ball at SAM linebacker.

Cornerbacks (5)

  1. Casey Hayward Jr.
  2. Desmond King
  3. Trevor Williams
  4. Michael Davis
  5. Brandon Facyson

Normally I would be surprised at the team keeping just five cornerbacks but I think based on the depth and the amount of guys they have at the safety position, they don’t need as many guys here were injuries to pile up since guys like Nasir Adderley could play corner in a worst-case scenario.

Davis has the starting job opposite Hayward locked-down for now. Williams has been hampered by an “undisclosed” injury for the last few weeks and things are likely getting a bit hairy for his stature with the team.

Facyson holds on to the last corner spot over camp-riser Arrion Springs and veteran Jeff Richards.

Safeties (5)

  1. Adrian Phillips
  2. Rayshawn Jenkins
  3. Jaylen Watkins
  4. Nasir Adderley
  5. Roderic Teamer

With Derwin James officially placed on the short-term IR, the team stuck with five safeties, including 2019 UDFA Roderic Teamer. Adrian Phillips, the team’s first-team All-Pro selection as a special teamer in 2018, will start at strong safety in place of James while he is out but don’t expect him to only make an impact there. Lynn has mentioned on several occasions that Phillips will continue to be the team’s sub-package linebacker in Nickel and Dime formations.

Adderley, similarly to Tillery in his first preseason action, started his professional career off with a bang as the rookie snagged an interception off of the 49ers in the finale.

Watkins performed well, looking like his old self after tearing his ACL a little over a year ago. He was initially cut but was later signed to fill the void left by James being placed on IR.

Special Teams (3)

  1. Michael Badgley
  2. Ty Long
  3. Cole Mazza

Badgley holds on to the starting kicker job (no surprise there) while Long was far-and-away the better punter over UDFA Tyler Newsome. Mazza got the nod at long snapper after the teamed released 10-year veteran Mike Windt.