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53-man roster prediction ahead of training camp

Two UDFAs make the final roster for 2020.

Los Angeles Chargers v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The date of players to report to their respective camps is just four days away - although it doesn’t look like the Rams will fall in line there - and I thought it would be a good time to throw out another edition of the 53-man roster prediction.

With the recent of teams likely to start their camps with 80 players instead of the 90, we can assume that the chances of a UDFA making the final roster have plummeted. With that said, I had one less undrafted player make this final 53 than I did in my last set of predictions. Other than that, not much has changed from before but let’s go ahead and get into it.

Offense (25)

Position Starter #2 #3
Position Starter #2 #3
QB Tyrod Taylor Justin Herbert Easton Stick
RB Austin Ekeler Justin Jackson Joshua Kelley
FB Gabe Nabers
WR Keenan Allen K.J. Hill Andre Patton
TE Hunter Henry Virgil Green Donald Parham
LT Trey Pipkins Sam Tevi
LG Dan Feeney Forrest Lamp
C Mike Pouncey Scott Quessenberry
RG Trai Turner
RT Bryan Bulaga Trent Scott
WR Mike Williams Joe Reed
K Michael Badgley

Barring an injury to Tyrod Taylor, we can all assume he’s going to be the team’s starting quarterback in week one. Before throwing Justin Herbert into the fray, the Chargers must see if Anthony Lynn can capitalize on the synergy between him and Taylor in hopes of replicating the success they had together while part of the Bills.

The wide receiver battle for snaps behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be incredibly interesting but the struggle for snaps behind Austin Ekeler in the backfield may be even more tantalizing. Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley are two different backs who win in contrasting fashions. Jackson can make the first guy miss on command and Kelley would rather stick his shoulder into a defender before ever attempting to evade. Fans may not think too much into it, but whichever running back gets the majority of the snaps will play a part in the identity of this offense. However, Lynn could also just spread the love and allow both backs to split whatever is left. Time’s going to tell with this one.

Now that both Jason Peters (Eagles) and Kelvin Beachum (Cardinals) have been snatched up, there are no other free agent tackles worth a second thought by the Chargers. The left tackle spot is really going to come down to either Trey Pipkins or Sam Tevi. I am still on the wave of having Forrest Lamp get a shot at tackle and I know you might be asking yourself “but Lynn said he’d have a shot to win the job.” Well, I don’t believe that in the slightest. Lamp winning the job would make the selection of Pipkins last year look even worse and I don’t think the team wants that to happen.

Lastly, I have former Florida State tight end/fullback Gabe Nabers making the team as the lone UDFA on the offense. He has the skillset of a modern fullback and his ability to line up in a wide variety of spots to both block and catch passes will help him a ton at the professional level.

Defense (28)

Position Starter #2 #3
Position Starter #2 #3
DE Joey Bosa Isaac Rochell Joe Gaziano
DT Justin Jones Jerry Tillery Cortez Broughton
NT Linval Joseph Damion Square
DE Melvin Ingram Uchenna Nwosu
WILL Kenneth Murray Jr. Nick Vigil
MIKE Drue Tranquill Denzel Perryman Malik Jefferson
SAM Kyzir White
CB Casey Hayward
CB Michael Davis Brandon Facyson
Slot Chris Harris Jr. Desmond King
SS Derwin James Jr. Roderic Teamer Alohi Gilman
FS Rayshawn Jenkins Nasir Adderley
P Ty Long
LS Cole Mazza

Like the offense, I only have one undrafted free agent sticking here. Former Northwestern defensive end Joe Gaziano graduated as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and has the makeup to do a variety of things for the Chargers’ defensive line. He’s big and burly at 6’4 and 285 pounds and that size gives him some inside-outside flexibility.

The rest of the defensive line is as expected. No surprises there with all the usual suspects included. The linebackers are going to be a different story with a quite a few new faces, including the rookie Kenneth Murray Jr. I’m not sure how confident in it happening, but I firmly believe Murray and Drue Tranquill should be the starters at linebackers in sub packages. In base, Kyzir White should come in at SAM. There will still likely be a heavy rotation with newly-signed Nick Vigil and Denzel Perryman as the lone veteran of the group.

The secondary is not getting any less messy as time goes on and the picture isn’t going to become clearer until we’re a good deal into training camp. There is so much dang talent on the back end and it’s a tough deal to try and fit all these pieces into their respective holes. There’s four cornerbacks that should see starting snaps but there’s rarely four on the field. There’s three safeties who deserve starting snaps but only two are going to be on the field for the majority of the game. It’s going to!

Will Desmond King see time at safety? How often will Chris Harris Jr. play the slot and outside? Will King also get in at slot still? Is Nasir Adderley ever going to see meaningful snaps? Is he going to turn into another Forrest Lamp? I NEED ANSWERS!

Lastly, special teams are going to be the same from 2019.

Alright, now let’s hear your thoughts. How’d I do? Which changes would you make? Let’s discuss.