May 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Michael Hill (23) stretches during Chargers rookie minicamp at Chargers park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bucking for Position: Charger Hopefuls

 

The San Diego Chargers are officially on a long break, until they head back to training camp in late July. This is a perfect time to take a look at some of the players that Tom Telesco has brought in to compete, either via free agency, or through the draft. In this article, let’s focus on a handful of players that will be fighting for a roster spot. Some of these positions are deep, and will take a very impressive showing to break through to the 53-man roster. Other positions have depth issues, and may be easier to crack. We have already seen some of these players receiving praise for their performance in OTA’s. Let’s take a look, and see which players might be flashing the Blue & Gold in the regular season.

Kenny Okoro: The defensive backfield is an area that (obviously) needs depth. Last week, Bill Williamson of ESPN reported that Okoro was having a “strong spring”. This could be good news for the young man out of Wake Forest. There are a few of guys looking to capture a roster spot behind our starters. Okoro could be that guy, despite being an undrafted rookie this year. It’s also worth mentioning that he split time between safety, and cornerback last season.

Jahleel Addae: Another are area of concern is the strong safety position. Addae has already made his way into the hearts of Charger fans, and might be able to break the 53-man roster. Like Okoro, he was also mentioned by Williamson as having a strong showing in OTA’s. With Gilchrist moving to strong safety, rumors of Brandon Taylor possibly making it back by training camp, and special teams sensation Darrell Stuckey taking reps at practice.. Addae will have to perform very well to make the final cuts.

Dan DePalma: Wide receiver is the deepest unit on the team this year. It seems like this position is all but set, and they haven’t even put pads on yet. However, Chargers.com’s Ricky Henne posted an article yesterday, stating that DePalma “has caught almost every ball thrown his way, and as a result, has caught the eye of his coaches and teammates in such a short amount of time”. This can only be a good thing for him, since the competition is so tight. DePalma has received some positive attention from players, and coaches alike. If he keeps up the good work, could he make the team?

Marcus Cromartie: Cromartie is another cornerback that has a shot at making the team, and the fans like him too. Unless the Chargers sign a veteran stopgap player in the upcoming months, he will definitely get his opportunity to unseat Greg Gatson for a back-up role on the roster. Cromartie is tall enough at 6’0, and has the speed to compete in the NFL. As camp starts in July, we will all be keeping a close eye on this up-and-comer.

Michael Hill: The Chargers backfield has had its struggles, since the departure of Ladanian Tomlinson. The fact that Ryan Mathews can’t seem to stay healthy has only put a spotlight on what we have been lacking in the run game. Keeping a stable of young, durable running backs is a must to get Philip River’s passing attack rolling again. Michael Hill is also a fan favorite, and was the Division 2 rushing leader last season. He has competition in camp with last year’s 7th round selection Edwin Baker, who is also looking to find a permanent spot on the roster. Tom Telesco brought in ex-Cardinal Fozzy Whittaker, who has ties to new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt going in his favor. At 5’10, and 210 lbs, Hill has a very solid chance of making the roster. Quite a few backs have had success in the NFL, after going undrafted. If Hill can outshine his competition, he could be the newest member of that club, and the Chargers.

There are a few names to keep an eye on, coming into camp. I didn’t list everyone who could potentially make the team, but feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section below. Who do you think can steal a roster spot for the 2013 season, now that we have some early performance reports?!!!!

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!!!

Peter Thompson

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