Getting to play GM in part 1 was fun, but it’s time to come back to reality. No messing around or dreaming this time, here is who I think the Los Angeles Chargers ultimately wind up keeping as their 53 man roster.
Offense - 26
Quarterbacks (3) - Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, Easton Stick
They’re going to keep all 3. There are multiple quotes going around on Twitter right now from both Tom Telesco and Brandon Staley about keeping all 3, so who am I to say they’ll go against that. After all, Tom Telesco doesn’t lie.
Runningbacks (4) - Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree
I think the team has too much hope for Justin Jackson when healthy, and are too stubborn to move on from Kelley. Rountree did too well in preseason to risk cutting him and trying to get him on the practice squad, so they will try to keep all 4, at least until after the first round of cuts settle.
Fullbacks (1) - Gabe Nabers
The team likes his versatility and he’ll make the roster.
Tight Ends (3) - Jared Cook, Donald Parham, Tre McKitty
With the team carrying 3 QBs and 4 RBs they’re going to have to make some tough decisions elsewhere, and one of those will result in the team dropping Stephen Anderson. I like Anderson and have him making the team if I was in charge, but I think the team will be forced to cut him.
Wide receivers (6) - Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton, Tyron Johnson, KJ Hill
I think the team loves the first 5 guys on this list, and I think they keep KJ Hill as the 6th WR and primary Kick and Punt returner. His heavy usage in game 2 of the preseason before he got banged up tells me they were trying to get a good read on whether he could do enough on offense to be a 6th WR and I think he likely showed that. I disagree with keeping him but I think it’s what they’ll do.
Offensive Line (9) - Rashawn Slater, Matt Feiler, Corey Linsley, Oday Aboushi, Bryan Bulaga, Storm Norton, Trey Pipkins, Brenden Jaimes, Scott Quessenberry
I won’t restate how I feel about Pipkins, if you didn’t read part one I shared my feelings there, but I think despite all of that, the team will keep him around. The rest of the names are all pretty obvious here. This is a group that definitely needs a few more new names next offseason.
Defense - 24
Defensive Line (6) - Justin Jones, Linval Joseph, Jerry Tillery, Christian Covington, Cortez Broughton, Breiden Fehoko
I think the team ultimately prefers the more consistent and “known quantity” aspects of Broughton and Fehoko’s game as well as the fact that they are a bit more versatile than Forrest Merrill, Joe Gaziano, and Willie Yarbary. They’ll try and stash Merrill and Gaziano on the practice squad.
Edge (4) - Joey Bosa, Kyler Fackrell, Uchenna Nwosu, Chris Rumph II
Here is another spot where I think they’ll have to make a tough cut and be a bit thin. In my opinion, Emeke Egbule and Jessie Lemonier both could be considered for a roster spot but they team will have to sacrifice somewhere
Inside Linebacker (5) - Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White, Nick Niemann, Amen Ogbongbemiga
The team apparently really likes Amen. If you look at Daniel Popper’s 53 man projection he includes some very telling quotes from Brandon Staley that sound like he’s a lock to make the roster. The other 4 are all sure things, and they should be.
Cornerback (5) - Chris Harris Jr, Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr, Brandon Facyson, Tevaughn Campbell
The team will likely look at the final preseason game as a “teachable moment” for Facyson and stick with him rather than moving on for one of the young promising guys they brought in. Campbell is also a coaches favorite and has definitely earned a roster spot on both defense and special teams.
Safety (4) - Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, Alohi Gilman, Mark Webb
No surprises here. This is the group they’ll keep, and it’s the group they should keep.
Special teams - 3
K - Michael Badgley, P - Ty Long, LS - Matt Overton
Long and Overton are locks at this point since Cole Mazza is hurt and Long is the only option at punter. I think the team winds up sticking with Badgley. His kickoffs look slightly improved and he has made a higher percentage of his kicks than Tristan Vizcaino through practice and the games.
In my opinion, this wouldn’t be the best 53, but it’s who I think the team will go with. Obviously this is all subject to change and will very likely change based on the first round of cuts. But based on who is on the team currently, I think this is the most scenario for who survives the cuts.