This week is about evaluation of these players.
As the Chargers limp their way to the finish line, the team can take advantage of several starters being out. How so you ask? Well the team apparently has been hurt by the lack of depth on the roster and that remains true especially along the offensive and defensive lines. Several developmental players got a shot to show what they can do last week. While the showing was a little uninspiring by these players they will get yet another game under their belts to show case if indeed they can become a contributing factor moving into next year. If the team wants to carry the ‘next man up’ mentality then they better make sure that the next man up is capable of getting the job done. Better depth equals better rotation which equals guys staying fresher and long term even healthier.
Joe Gaziano defensive end:
Now Gaziano was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern where he finished with 30 career sacks. It is also of note that he finished second in school history with 48.5 tackles for a loss. Gaziano has great size for the position (6’4″ 280) and a very high motor where he always seems active and chasing down plays even away from his side of the field. Unfortunately he is what you would consider a great athlete for the NFL level. Seeing as how he is in a team that had Bosa, Ingram, Nwosu, and Rochelle it’s been hard for him to even be on the active roster let along being able to find playing time. He did get plenty of play time last week against Denver but with only finished with 1 assisted tackle. With Ingram on the decline and having a expiring contract along with Rochelle also being on an expiring contract, there definitely is a defensive end job available moving forward.
Jessie Lemonier defensive end:
Much like I said for Gaziano, the same goes for Lemonier. There is a spot to be earned on this roster next year at the position but will anyone actually earn it? Lemonier is a better athlete than the latter but also much smaller (6’2 240). He also played and a smaller school at Liberty where he compiled 29.5 sacks in 2 years. He also finished with 1 assisted tackle last week againstthe Broncos.
Cortez Broughton defensive tackle:
With the underachieving first round pick Jerry Tillery now rotating between defensive tackle and defensive end, there leaves at least one if not two spots open as the position. Broughton was a 2019 7th round pick with decent size eventhoughit’s considered undersized at the position in the NFL level (6’2″ 290) from Cincinnati. While Linval Joseph is a nice pair with Justin Jones there isnt a whole lot behind them. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley likes to rotate his defensive tackles a lot throughout the game so having 4 competent defensive tackles on the roster is something that would be nice to have at this point. When the rotation changes and the defensive tackles change to a pair of Damien Square and Jerry Tillery the team can’t seem to stop the run to any extent. In fact it seems as if the team had been getting gashed up the middle in the run department for the last handful of seasons now. Can Broughton show us he deserves a roational spot leaving the team onky needing 1 defensive tackle? He has had more total snaps this year than any other player on thus list on the defensive side of the ball. So far he shows mire in the pass rush department, as he owns a 60.5 pass rush grade to go with a 51 run stopping grade. 2020 undrafted free agent Breiden Fehoko also has a chance to snag a spot as well even though he likley won’t receive as many snaps as Broughton might.
Storm Norton offensive tackle:
Storm who happens to have the most befitting name for a Chargers player, is a big bodied offensive tackle (6’7″ 317) signed in the offseason from the XFL. Also formerly with the Minnesota Vikings. Norton has had a total of 237 snaps so far this season actually grades out slightly better than “prized” free agent signing Bryan Bulaga has. Storm has a 63.9 overall grade for the season at half the snaps as Bulaga who has a 61.6 overall grade for the season with a total of 444 snaps on the season. If Norton could have a great game on Sunday it could theoretically give the front office the option of even cutting Bulaga and minimally seizing the swing tackle job next year. This is factoring in that Tevi is a soon to be free agent and Pipkins has so far proven to be unreliable.