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CBS Sports predicts the Chargers’ final 53-man roster

Joshua Kelley wins the back-up job behind Austin Ekeler.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 17 UCLA at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports took to the task of predicting the entire final 53-man roster for the 2020 Chargers season last week and I’m here to give my thoughts on how he did.

Although he claims it’s the 53-man roster, there’s 54 total names included: 25 are on offense, 26 on defense, and the three special teams roles.

First up, here’s the offense:

CBS Sports

Nothing terribly surprising here but there are a few things to take note of. DeArdo predicts that rookie running back Joshua Kelley will get the nod as the main complementary back to Austin Ekeler while Justin Jackson is the final ball-carrier kept. Former right tackle Sam Tevi is predicted to be the team’s starting left tackle over second-year project Trey Pipkins, as well. Finally, DeArdo thinks that Gabe Nabers, one of several potential free agents who can play fullback, will win the job over the likes of Bobby Holly and Darius Bradwell.

As for the wide receiver room, the team elects to keep six players. Aside from Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and the pair of rookies, former UDFAs Andre Patton and Darius Jennings are being kept, as well. Patton was eighth on the team in catches. in 2019 while Jennings has mainly been used as a kick returner during his four seasons in the NFL. With fellow Virginia alum Joe Reed also on the roster, there’s a chance Jennings isn’t kept if he doesn’t win the starting kick job. Reed was arguably the best kick returner in the country in 2019 so it will be no small task, but any competition is better than no competition, especially at a position of need.

Finally, the team’s pair of XFL signings, tight end Donald Parham and left tackle Storm Norton, are not predicted to make the final roster. DeArdo decided to keep only two tight ends and 10 offensive linemen total. Personally, I think the Chargers keep three tight ends because they usually always do. Sean Culkin has been their TE3 the last few years until he suffered a season-ending injury in their week four matchup against the Dolphins. Veteran Lance Kendricks was brought in for depth from then on. Culkin was not brought back by the team this offseason so the team is now in search of that third member of the position group. As for Norton, the Chargers prefer linemen who can play multiple positions. After that initial ten, whom could all play more than one spot, there just isn’t any room left.

CBS Sports

The interesting part of the defensive predictions are the final few spots up for grabs. We know the Chargers love their defensive backs. In this prediction, the Chargers are keeping 11. Sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman is being kept as a third strong safety while former undrafted players Brandon Facyson and Quenton Meeks are the final two corners kept. Facyson and Meeks are no surprise here since they check the boxes for height and length that Gus Bradley covets in his corners. Aside from Hayward, Michael Davis, Facyson, and Meeks are all over 6’2.

Former Bengals third-round pick Malik Jefferson looks to be the final linebacker kept as six total players make up that position room. DeArdo’s designation are a bit off based on what Anthony Lynn has said in the past, specifically Kyzir White at WILL instead of SAM. On top of that, Lynn said Jefferson would play mostly MIKE and Vigil most-likely will back-up Murray at WILL. But I guess everything is always up in the air until it’s written in pen.

Former Northwestern defensive end Joe Gaziano is the lone undrafted free agent from this year’s class to make the roster on defense. He’s a base defensive end at his size of 6’4 and 280+ pounds. He’s my favorite to make the team out of all the 2020 undrafted free agents due to his versatility to inside and outside on the defensive line coupled with his phenomenal production in college.

So those are all my immediate thoughts on DeArdo’s predictions. For the most part, the starters are all correct and nothing strikes me as much of a surprise. Now, what are all of your thoughts?