Prediction: Multiple undrafted free agents will make the final roster
Usually finding an undrafted free agent that turns into a gem is fairly uncommon. The Chargers seem to have a long and rich history of success when it comes to the undrafted free agent department. The Bolts have had an undrafted rookie make the final roster every year for what feel like always and forever. That impressive resume includes the likes of future hall of famer Antonio Gates, Darren Sproles, Kris Dielman, Austin Ekeler , Adrian Phillips, and most recently Justin Jackson. This time around will be no different, in fact I’m predicting that it won’t be just one of the 19 undrafted free agents to make the team but multiple. It is rare to have multiple undrafted free agents to make a final roster in the same year but based on the way things are currently aligned, I predict that at least two and potentially three different undrafted rookies will make the final roster.
The first and strongest candidate is right tackle Koda Martin from Syracuse. Originally Martin was at Texas A&M but ended up being a grad transfer. He stands 6’6” and weighs in at 304 pounds. In his final year in school he had a total of 31 pancake blocks which is very impressive. Martin also has qualities that both head coach Anthony Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco value and that’s versatility and character. Martin was the starting left tackle at Texas A&M in 2016 and also won the Thomas Pirro award in his final year which is basically the best character award. Based on the high amount of pancake blocks and the fact that he pulled a lot in collage he may even factor into playing guard eventually. During his final year at Syracuse he graded out at 71.1 , and while that may not be eye popping he also only allowed 7 sacks in a total of 47 games. I would like to think that based off that alone that he could very well push the incumbent Sam Tevi. The fact that most of those games came against high end talent in the SEC conference shows that he could very well turn out to be a great find and underrated talent. As of right now it seems that former second round pick Forrest Lamp is wanted in more of a guard position by the coaching staff but that could all change during training camp. Based on what happens with Lamp long term could determine what direction Koda Martin could take, yet either way I see him being able to fit in nicely.
Eurndraus Bryant is the second candidate and defensive tackle out of N.C. State. He stands at 6’1” and weighs in at 330 pounds with an 80.2 overall defensive grade along with an 85.8 run defense grade. To me Bryant is a one trick pony and is going to make a living on stopping the run. It just turns out that stopping the run was the biggest weakness the team had in the playoffs. Even if it proves that he is only a first and second down back mixed in with goal line situations, the fact remains that the team needs a reliable nose tackle. Even though the team selected Jerry Tillery in the first round, he looks to be more of a 3 technique defensive tackle. There needs to be a competent single gap nose tackle behind Brandon Mebane. Bryant could very well prove to be a poor man’s Dexter Lawrence, who was respectively taken in the first round this year by the New York Giants with the 17th pick. I can easily envision Bryant beating out journeyman Ty Mcgill for the fifth defensive tackle spot. Ultimately we all hope first round pick Tillery can make an impact in a big way in his rookie year along with second year man Justin Jones taking the next step as I have a hard time seeing Bryant generating any playing time even if he does make the roster. That is unless the team pulls a last minute big signing with Ndamukong Suh or Danny Shelton.
The third and final pick seems to have the easiest path to the roster based solely on competition. As it currently stand the roster only has two punters and half of that group is undrafted free agent from Notre Dame Tyler Newsome. He stands at 6’2” 218 pounds along with an impressive 44.7 yards per punt average. He even had one game against Vanderbilt where he had three kicks of 60 yards or more. While he may be far from a polished product he also possess some fairly good potential and at the very least gives us a closer look at that killer mullet of his. Newsome also put up 30 reps of 225 on the bench press which is impressive yet seemingly useless when being applied to a punter’s abilities. The only other punter on the roster is Ty long who happens to be a forgettable journey man himself.