Interesting roster decisions to come including some starting spots up in the air
In the Chargers final pre-season game many if not most of the players who needed to make an impact in order to stay on the roster seemed to do just that. Many of the running back seemed to make a very big impression. In fact the lowest yards per carry average by any running back was 4.3 by Detrez Newsome, and yes I said lowest. It will be very interesting to see who they decide to keep as the 3rd running back. Troymond Pope and Detrez Newsome can both be argued for that spot. Regardless for who wins that 3rd spot the next question then becomes who do you keep for the practice squad. Is it Derek Gore or J. Cox? In my opinion Gore looked more consistent so theoretically him and the loser of the third spot should be on the practice squad but who knows what will happen. There is a similar conundrum with the depth part of the linebacker and safety groups. Emeke Egbule the rookie linebacker From Houston should be able to find a roster spot with the recent injury to brown and the fact that if the team cuts Dzunbar they will save 1.9 million, which from my perspective makes the decision easy. As far as the safety positions go Roderick Teamer has looked very impressive along with Pickett. I also think Watkins played fairly well and is probably a harder hitter then the other two, however from a money standpoint it may be useful to cut Watkins and retain either Teamer or Pickett saving 705,000 in the process. It will all be very interesting to see how it plays out.
Speaking of the safety positions, I had believed that the free safety job was still up for grabs before week 4 of the pre-season. I had previously stated that after the draft it was a safe assumption that everyone thought that second round pick Nasir Adderley (nasty Nas as I’ve been calling him) would naturally slide into the starting free safety job. However that since his injury lingered , forcing him to miss the majority of trqinning camp, that it might be hard and a bit too late to win himself the starting position with so limited reps under his belt. Unless he went out in the last game and utterly set the world on fire. Well it seems that is exactly what he did. I mean at least that’s what I would call obtaining your first NFL interception along with 3 other pass deflections all within three quarters of play. Not only that but Pro Football Focus also took kindly to him as well grading him out at an 88.9 overall defensive grade with a 83.7 coverage grade. Now keep in mind that Rayshawn Jenkins along with Jalen Watkins has also been taking rep’s at free as well and both have done well. Neither one has put up as high of a grade as Adderley has but both have had their moments. Jenkins came closest with a 72.2 overall grade. I would like to think that since Gus Bradley trusted Kyzir White with earning a week one starting spot last season that he may do the same with Adderley.
The other position core that will have some difficult decisions to be made for is going to be the offensive line. While the O-line is probably the biggest trouble spot for the team, the loss of Russell Okung for an unforeseeable amount of time doesn’t help this cause. In fact the top three remaining tackles on the team are either Sam Tevi who has proven to be incompetent and third round pick Trey Pipkins who is simply not ready to play at an NFL level. In fact he may be more than one season away from developing. The only competent tackle on the roster left is Trent Scott, yet he is far from what you would aim for in a left tackle. If the team can find a way to free up some extra cash after the final roster cuts and a roster spot in order to secure some outside help in the form of a tackle that may have been cut on behalf of another team then I would suggest such a move be made. A few tackles come to mind such as Jason Spriggs who was a former second round pick and former teammate of Feeney at Indiana and or Sam Young who was recently cut by the 49ers. In fact I believe Spriggs would be an instant upgrade over Tevi and Pipkins. Spriggs will be the subject of my next article and I will explain why he could be a great low risk high reward addition and possibly even a long term option at right tackle. Tune in.