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Chargers ‘Surge or Static?’: Odds defied and dreams realized

Forrest Merrill and Amen Ogbongbemiga keep the UDFA streak alive another year.

Los Angeles Chargers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Chargers cut down to 53 players on their final rosters like the rest of the NFL. A day later, they claimed two more players and since those two go to the active roster, two more players were waived in the process.

Now that the dust has fully settled, I wanted to highlight the Chargers players that I think find themselves in a more positive light following final cuts as well as those who find themselves in an unfavorable position ahead of the regular season.

Let’s get into it.

Surge

DT Forrest Merrill

You might be asking why I included Merrill on the “Surge” section of this list despite him being waived by the team in favor of Eric Banks and Trey Marshall who were claimed off waivers yesterday.

Well, it’s expected that Merrill will end up back on the practice squad and that still means he’s a part of the Chargers organization. He made this team as an undrafted free agent. The team strategically kept him through the first round of waiver claims to make sure they minimized his chances of being claimed by someone else. The coaching staff wants him on the team as a big, run-stuffing presence in the middle. That’s why he was chosen over Cortez Broughton.

It may not seem like the biggest “win” to the fans, but this is a massive win for Merrill as he begins his NFL career. Expect to see the stocky nose tackle on the field at some point this season.

WR K.J Hill

Hill’s contributions on special teams saved him during the Chargers’ final round of cuts. As of now, he’s the team’s starting punt returner and will continue to compete for the starting kick returner, as well.

As a rookie last year, Hill caught seven of 11 passes thrown his way for 73 yards with two drops. The sure-handed wideout left Ohio State as the program’s leader in receptions so it was uncharacteristic to see him struggle at times with ball security.

As one of the five wideouts currently on the team, should that number stay put into the regular season, Hill should see snaps immediately for the Bolts.

TE Stephen Anderson

Anderson played hard during the team’s four-game win streak to end the 2020 season and rightfully earned another short contract with the Chargers. Even after they drafted Tre’ McKitty in the third round this year, Anderson still provides a veteran presence at the position while also showing flexibility as an H-Back in the backfield. Having multiple tight ends who can contribute is a plus in today’s NFL and I’m glad Brandon Staley and the new staff believed in him enough to keep him around.

Static

CB Brandon Facyson

Facyson seemed to be having a good camp through the start of the preseason. He didn’t necessarily pop during the exhibitions in August and that opened the door for other players to take his spot due to — you guessed it — their contributions on special teams. In his most-recent presser, Staley mentioned that both Campbell and Hall both added more value in that phase of the game compared to Facyson.

Facyson likely lands on the practice squad following his waiving on Wednesday.

WR Joe Reed

Reed was drafted in 2020 to potentially be the team’s starting kick returner. After only holding the job for a handful of games to begin his rookie campaign, Reed fell out of favor with the old coaching staff and wound up being inactive more most of the games down the stretch of the season.

The new coaching unfortunately doesn’t feel any different. Reed is very underdeveloped as a receiver and his only plausible path to the active roster was on special teams. With a handful of players currently fighting for the kick returner job in front of him, it’s no surprised Reed ended up being cut.