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Chargers 90-in-90: OG/C Nate Gilliam

Can Justin Herbert’s roommate stick around for another year?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Gilliam is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and played his prep ball for Farragut High School where he was a member of the 6A First-Team All-State squad, a team captain as a senior, and the District 4AAA Lineman of the Year. He wound-up committing to Wake Forest as a three-star prospect.

After redshirting his first year on campus, Gilliam became a contributor on special teams and earned the first start of his career against Louisville in 2016. In 2017, he saw his career starts triple as he got the nod for the Appalachian State and Georgia Tech games in his sophomore season.

Gilliam then went on to to start every game through his final two years at Wake. As a junior, he started all 13 games with one coming at right guard in the opener and the final 12 at right tackle after starter Justin Herron went down to a season-ending injury. As a senior, Gilliam started all 12 games at right guard en route to earning Third-Team All-ACC honors.

Following going undrafted during the 2020 draft, Gilliam was one of 19 undrafted free agents to sign with the Bolts. As a rookie, he was a mainstay on the practice squad but became fast friends with Justin Herbert and Gabe Nabers, all of whom live together.

Basic Info

Height: 6’4
Weight: 310
College: Wake Forest
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Nate Gilliam signed a 2 year, $1,485,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $742,500. In 2021, Gilliam will earn a base salary of $660,000, while carrying a cap hit of $660,000.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

When I threw on Gilliam’s film, I was pleasantly surprised to see a stout blocker who has a little bit of a mean streak to him. Wake Forest ran a lot of zone read concepts and Gilliam was often used as a lead blocker pulling up through running lanes to open things up.

As a pass protector, Gilliam is able to get the job done with his strong base and wide stature. He isn’t an elite athlete but he is in control of his body and this allows him to stay on top of stunts and twists by the defensive line. He had a couple pancakes in that same Louisville game and that is an easy way to my heart.

The Bad

While a solid interior lineman, there’s nothing about Gilliam’s game that helps him stand out from the rest of the pack. He’s a nice developmental player, but that’s about it.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?

Gilliam will have to fight off the likes Darius Harper, Ryan Hunter, Tyree St. Louis, and Kyle Spalding for one of the team’s practice squad spots. I think at least two will stick on the PS and that likely means one tackle and one interior player. Gilliam’s direct competition will be St. Louis, who signed a tender with the Chargers following the 2020 season to stick around for another year.