Prior to playing collegiately at West Point, Christiansen enjoyed a very productive and accolade-filled career while at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. As both a junior and senior, Christiansen was named the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association’s State Defensive Player of the Year. He was a three-time all-state and all-conference selection and won the VISAA State Championship as a senior in 2015. By the time he graduating, he was the VISAA all-time leader in career tackles with 436.
Christiansen did not redshirt in his first year, instead playing on special teams and sparingly on defense. He recorded just two tackles that year. In 2017, he started 10 games posted 85 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, the lone interception of his career, and a single pass breakup.
He took things up a notch as a junior when he totaled 77 tackles with 12 going for a loss. He also added his first career sack, two more pass breakups, and a forced fumble. In his final year at West Point, Christiansen set career-highs in tackles (112) and sacks (2.5) while posting 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a pass breakup, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He was a First-Team All-Independent selection following both his junior and senior seasons. I should also add that he was a two-time captain for the Black Knights for the ‘18 and ‘19 seasons, which was the first time a player earned that honor since 2015-16.
Following his senior season at West Point, Christiansen got the opportunity to play in that year’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
After going undrafted following the 2020 draft, Christiansen became one of the 19 undrafted free agents signed by the Bolts last year. He saw time on the active roster during three games, playing mainly on special teams.
Years with team: 1
“Cole Christiansen signed a 1 year, $610,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $610,000. In 2021, Christiansen will earn a base salary of $780,000, while carrying a cap hit of $780,000.” - Spotrac.com
Christiansen got his first shot of action on the active roster during the Chargers’ biggest special teams slump of the 2020 season. Both him and former linebacker B.J. Bello were both promoted to see if they could provide a spark on special teams and they must’ve done enough to earn two more promotions over the following two weeks.
Christiansen’s potential unfortunately lies solely on special teams. He doesn’t offer anything unique at the linebacker position and is currently buried on the depth chart. Since the team’s base defense will mainly feature just two traditional inside linebackers, that further limits the chances for Christiansen to ever see the field on defense.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
I think Christiansen may have the upper hand on 2021 UDFA Amen Ogbongbemiga when it comes to earning a practice squad spot due to his better athletic profile. While Ogbongbemiga is a fine player in his own right, I think that any variable that creates intrigue and provides potential for a player will weigh heavier when deciding between players to fill out the bottom of the roster.