Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (one from right) is pressured by San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget (right) and outside linebacker Shaun Phillips (95) before completing a pass to fullback Mike Tolbert (not pictured) as Panthers tackle Byron Bell (77) and guard Garry Williams (65) look on during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Roster projection Defensive line pre-camp opening edition – Where is the Depth!?!?

With the opening of training camp just around the corner its always a fun exercise to project who will make the roster, so in the noise and bluster of the offseason sometimes make you lose the details and the big picture of analyzing a team/roster.

First off, when you read the roster of available players on defense its reaching the point of almost crisis the lack talent/experience in the back end of the roster. The first 17 players who should make the roster, their reality and future looks excellent, but the final 8-9 players of the roster to say the pickings are slim would be the greatest of understatements, being that Inside Linebacker appears to be the only position on the defensive roster with more than enough players. The rest of the roster has basically no draft picks with any pedigree (5th or above) or veteran starting experience to speak of.

Me personally I am proud of a front office when they find Undrafed players that make the roster, but your roster is probably severely flawed is more than 4 of those types of players are making this team, and without an injection of veteran signings the defense alone should carry 4-7 UDFA’s alone.

The one thing that is clear about the current make up of the defense is the lack of reliable stop gap veteran players, in the recent past this team carried Takeo Spikes, Demorrio Williams, Jacques Cesaire, Atari Bigby. They recently made contact with Justin Bannan, which would be first of probably 3-4 more veteran signings to solidify the depth.

So lets get down to specifics:

Defensive Line: The top 4 players are young & talented, and will be pushed to take more snaps and make more plays, and the starting threesome of Liuget, Reyes & Thomas may be the most talented unit on the roster. But the players who fill out the depth is at best untested and at worst unreliable and not very talented.

My projection is for 7 players, 4 DE’s & 3 NT’s.

Locks to make the roster (4): Corey Liuget (DE), Kendall Reyes (DE), Cam Thomas (NT) & Jarius Wynn (DE).

Training camp battles:

For 1 spot DE: Logan Harrell, Damik Scafe, Jamarkus McFarland, Brandon Moore. Harrell & Scafe have gotten a cup of coffee of playing time in the past, the other 2 are rookie UDFA’s, Moore is the most intriguing being a highly recruited & phisically gifted player at 317 lbs, but was production deficient at Texas. Projected roster player: Brandon Moore.

For 1-2 spots NT: Kwame Geathers, Byron Jerideau. Both are among the chargers highest rated UDFA’s from this year class. Geathers lacks of effort and consistency that drove him from a 4th round grade to being undrafted but 6’4 350 Lbs men who have good games against the Alabama Oline don’t grow on trees, and Jerideau is personal favorite, he played a NT role for South Carolina, he didn’t make accumulate much of any stats, but the guy set strength records and plays with a high motor at around 330 Lbs. Projected roster players: Geathers & Jerideau.

Projected Dline: Liuget, Reyes, Wynn, Moore, Thomas, Geathers & Jerideau.

Commentary: Its no surprise that the chargers made contact to Justin Bannan, if he signs he replaces Moore on this projection.

P.S. Instead of going with a full defensive roster projection I went with Dline since the article got too long. I will continue with the linebackers on the next article.

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