Offense - 24
Quarterback (2): Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel
In my (outside the room) opinion, this team should only be carrying 2 QBs. If Herbert goes down the season is over so there’s no need for 2 extra QBs full time, in that scenario you just sign someone off the street. Members of the team have said Easton Stick is a vital part of the QB room and helping Herbert, but honestly at this point in his career, I don’t know how much more he is actually bringing. I’m also not convinced teams would be racing to sign Stick to their active rosters so you could keep him on the practice squad anyway.
Running back (3): Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller
I think carrying 4 RBs, especially with Zander Horvath as a FB, is a waste of resources. If something catastrophic happens you can get RBs off the street easier than most positions, especially with the Chargers offense being able to survive on the pass. Save this spot for another position.
Fullback (1): Zander Horvath
As I said in Part 1, according to Daniel Popper of the Athletic, Horvath has been practicing with the 1s both on offense and various special teams units and in his opinion has won the job. The Chargers barely used a FB anyway last year so the real reason you have him on the roster is to fill a variety of roles wherever you need him, which is mostly for special teams, as well as being a guy you can use as another RB or TE.
Tight End (3): Gerald Everett, Donald Parham, Tre McKitty
Parham is banged up but the Chargers still only need 3 TEs especially with the way their WR room looks and having Horvath available. The extra spot is needed elsewhere.
Offensive Tackle (3): Rashawn Slater, Trey Pipkins, Storm Norton
The only real difference from the “what I think will happen” article in this section is that I would desperately be looking for someone to get released that I can bring in for this group. I think Slater and Pipkins are the starters and they keep Norton as a swing guy, but that is not an ideal situation. They have enough versatility some of their guards that can play outside in a pinch that this is one of those positions where the team carries the minimum to make up for carrying an extra QB/RB/TE.
Offensive Guard (4): Matt Feiler, Zion Johnson, Jamaree Salyer, Brenden Jaimes
Same group as part 1 and same justification. As I mentioned under tackles, Feiler has tackle experience as well as guard, Jaimes is listed as “G/T” on the team’s website, and Salyer played OT in college while he has played only OG in games for the Chargers this preseason. This is a solid group. Salyer has been surprisingly solid, Feiler and Johnson are a great pair at OG, and Jaimes, while being disappointing this preseason, flashed a few times last year.
Center (2): Corey Linsley, outside signing
Linsley is a stud but Will Clapp was a liability in the preseason games. Honestly the backup interior linemen for the Chargers that weren’t listed above are all so bad I wouldn’t even want any of them for the practice squad. There will be a backup center either released or on a practice squad that the Chargers can sign to their active roster to come be a better backup than what the Chargers currently have to choose from.
Wide Receiver (6): Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Jaylen Guyton, DeAndre Carter, Michael Bandy
I am keeping Michael Bandy. Yes he is a bit redundant, but I want “football players” on this roster and Bandy is a football player who obviously worked his ass off over the last year. WR’s are always getting banged up, and with Carter also returning kicks, the likelihood of him getting hurt is higher than normal. The other 5 are basically locks, but Bandy has earned a spot on his roster and I feel like he can contribute.
Defense - 26
Defensive Tackle (5): Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Otito Ogbonnia, Morgan Fox, Breiden Fehoko
I did it chat, I cut Jerry Tillery. I don’t think it’ll actually happen but I would move on. Fehoko didn’t impress as much as I was hoping during the preseason, but I still think he brings more than Tillery on a more consistent basis, especially versus the run. Tillery was a first round pick for a reason physically, so maybe a fresh start on another team helps him improve but it’s time for the Chargers to move on. This group becomes the most significantly transformed on the roster, with only Fehoko returning from last year.
Edge (4): Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Chris Rumph II, Carlo Kemp
Carlo Kemp did enough in the preseason to make the roster. The Chargers need bigger bodied edge players that can rush the passer and set the edge and I think Kemp can do both. The 3 guys ahead of him are all studs and locks to make the team but its a position where between injuries and wanting to keep guys fresh a 4th guy actually makes a big difference.
Linebacker (6): Kyle Van Noy, Drue Tranquill, Kenneth Murray, Troy Reader, Amen Ogbongbemiga, Nick Niemann
Freeing up extra roster spots by not carrying extra guys on offense at QB/RB/TE frees up a spot to keep Nick Niemann for his special teams contributions, while also keeping Amen to be LB5 on defense. This group doesn’t really have any outstanding talent, but it’s solid enough to hopefully not be a liability.
Cornerback (5): JC Jackson, Asante Samuel Jr, Michael Davis, Bryce Callahan, Ja’Sir Taylor
This group should be greatly improved over last year. Bringing in JC Jackson and Bryce Callahan is HUGE for this group. Michael Davis already looks improved and is showing more of what he flashed in 2020, and ASJ should be healthy enough to play a decent amount this year. Taylor showed some promising athleticism and instincts during the preseason but he’s gonna need some time to continue putting it all together.
Safety (6): Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, Alohi Gilman, Mark Webb Jr., JT Woods, Deane Leonard
Again, thanks to trimming fat on offense, I keep Deane Leonard here. He has “DB” versatility to help fill out the bottom end of the depth at both CB and S, and that’s important to start this season with Webb being banged up, JC Jackson being banged up, and JT Woods still not knowing how to tackle yet. I would however be keeping an eye on who gets released from other teams because as I mentioned in Part 1, the 3rd safety in this scheme gets a lot of playing time with Derwin getting moved around as much as he is, and Gilman being that guy isn’t ideal.
Special Teams (3): Dustin Hopkins, JK Scott, Josh Harris
This has been pretty set for a while now. I don’t think there will be any surprises here. Which is fine.
And there you have it. Here is what the roster would look like if I was at the helm. Feel free to say I’m wrong and dumb or whatever else, but based on what the team has to work with, this is the best 53 in my opinion.