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Chargers 90-in-90: S Ben DeLuca

DeLuca faces an uphill battle to make the final roster following the selection of JT Woods.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Rookie Minicamp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ben DeLuca is a native of Orlando, Florida where he starred for Bishop Moore High School. He went on to play his college ball at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he was a five-year contributor (medical redshirt) for the 49ers defense.

As a true freshman, he picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown. As a sophomore, he recorded a career-high 102 tackles to go with six pass breakups and five forced fumbles. He ended his time in Charlotte with 313 total tackles, nine forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, four interceptions, and 17 pass breakups.

After going undrafted in 2021, DeLuca signed with the Chargers where he spent most of his first professional season on the practice squad. On December 12th, DeLuca was elevated to the active roster for team’s week 14 matchup against the Giants. Following the season, he signed a reserve/future contract with the Bolts on January 11th.

Basic Info

Height: 6’1
Weight: 202
College: Charlotte
Experience: 1
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Ben DeLuca signed a 1 year, $825,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $825,000. In 2022, DeLuca will earn a base salary of $825,000, while carrying a cap hit of $825,000.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

DeLuca played in multiple alignments in college that included two-high looks, single-high, and in the slot. He was fairly productive across the stat sheet and he’s shown to be a willing-and-able tackler who isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body for the sake of the play. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein also noted in DeLuca’s draft profile that he’s got a knack for anticipating throws and taking great angles when the ball is in the air.

The Bad

DeLuca lacks any sort of ideal top-end speed which will always be a big limiting factor as a professional. While he can show great anticipation, that aggressive style of play will occasionally come back to bite him when he inevitably gets baited into a mistake. Lastly, Zierlein notes that he struggles to smoothly transition from his backpedal into a pursuit phase. In a game of inches, any wasted movement and added time within transitions ultimately adds up.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2021?

DeLuca was always going to have a difficult time making the final roster this year, but after the team drafted JT Woods with their third-round pick, those chance should be officially squashed. He’ll look to hang on to a spot on the practice squad.