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

Next Chargers Game View full schedule »
Monday, Sep 88 Sep7:20at Arizona CardinalsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: San Diego Chargers

  • tubbs45

    Nice write up PT!

    There are a lot of question marks out there for the bubble players… I like the versatility of Kenny Okoro. Baker and Hill should be a close call two different type backs, but I sure like watching Hill run.

    There is a battle at NT to back up Cam, both Geathers (monster of a man) and Jerideau have NT and DE experience. It will be interesting to see who carries it, im guessing Geathers.

    • Gunnar Martin

      I cringe every time I see this picture.

    • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

      Thinking of Turner Brown here….

      A skinny little white guy goes into an elevator, looks up and sees this HUGE African American guy standing next to him.
      The big guy sees the little guy staring at him, looks down and says: “7
      feet tall, 350 pounds, 20 inch *****, 3 pound left ********, 3 pound
      right ********, Turner Brown.”

      The small man faints dead away and falls to the floor. The big guy
      kneels down and brings him to, shaking him.
      The big fellow says, “What’s wrong with you?”

      In a weak voice the little guy says, “What EXACTLY did you say to me?”
      The big dude says, “I saw the curious look and figured I’d just give you
      the answers to the questions everyone always asks me. I’m 7 feet tall, I
      weigh 350 pounds, I have a 20 inch *****, my left ******** weighs 3
      pounds, my right ******** weighs 3 pounds and my name is Turner Brown.”

      The small guy says, “Turner Brown? Thank God! I thought you said “Turn

      around.”

  • RussinSactown

    I am more apt to give the roster spot to the younger players. I’d rather take a chance on Hill than Ronnie Brown. He’s not going to get much younger

    • Jmanboltfan

      But Ronnie brown has shown that he can be relied on in the passing game, and as a blocker. Those are the toughest things for a young back to pick up at the NFL level.

      • arnie

        There are other blockers on this squad, that can give the young player time to develop those skills.

    • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

      I am with that

    • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

      Agree!

  • Will

    Marcus Cromartie is the man. Y’all will be all high on him now but if he doesn’t ud all just say some shit like ” poh we don’t need another Cromartie on the team, Antonio sucked” (even though he’s 10X than any corner we have, was a pro bowler last year, and gave the jets the no 2 pass D without revis). Disloyal pieces of shit…

    • Daryl Peek

      Exactly! Many fans don’t keep it real when they feel butt hurt about an ex player

      • JoseSD

        We don’t like Antonio Cromartie cause he was too much of a bitch to tackle

    • FitzWilly

      Fuck you very much for the opine Will-Knot

      Will Knot : (def)
      When little clumps of shit get caught in your ass hair, and they WILL NOT come out.

    • tubbs45

      What fuck are flapping your gums about… Antonio has matured quite a bit now that he realizes 8 kids cost a shit load of money. I have a message for you:

  • Cgoodness13

    Wish I lived in San Diego, I’d totally go to all the OTAs and see these kids at work.

  • Alter Ego

    Nothin out of nothing is nothing-that’s what Royal was for us last year.. DePalma could beat out Royal for a spot. I’m okay with that. Royal was a noncontributing mouth to feed that gave us nothing.

    • Adam

      True…may the best man win…but I’m still intrigued by royals potential. I just watched the last game against the raiders, and he mades some plays in space. Maybe McCoy can light a fire under his ass

  • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

    I like Hill a lot. DePalma over Royal definitely, and both Geathers and The young Jedi shouod make the squad. Chargers have some good competition in the ranks and a great program that gets all players involved. Coaches will choose wisely. Not worried about inexperience to much as I have confidence in the coaching staff to adequately train and prepare whoever has the drive to learn and perform.

  • BruisingChargers

    DePalma and Hill are my favorites,,,,

  • Augie Baza

    I have two undrafted free agents I really like. Jahleel and Hill. Just love the energy Jahleel has on hi highlight films. A quality player who was a defensive captain. A leader. Also loved Hill highlights. It may be only division 2 but over 2000 yard in 12 games. He’s got skills. I’m thinking Ronnie Brown may loose his job. Posted their highlights on my facebook a week after they sighned. One thing I know about myself. I can see future stars. Those two will shine in a Charger uniform for years to come. Telesco is one hell of an evaluater. Geathers is solid. Cromotie has size and speed. Even if a lot of these guys don’t make this team. Quite a few will land on other teams.

    • Alter Ego

      Nice post Augie – How does Te’o do in the future?

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Michael Hill was runner up for the Harlon Hill trophy. Danny Woodhead won it twice. ; )

  • cesurboyy

    La

  • C.Steele

    I honestly don’t know enough about any of these UDFA to have an opinion. I do hope one or both of those Nose tackles make the team, because they seem to be steals as UDFA. Overall, I’m just excited with influx of young talent, and that they will actually get playing time! I trust in TT! GoBolts!

  • Sergio Quintero

    I’m really curious to see Michael Hill in preseason, since the backups behind Mathews all seem to 3rd down backs, there seems to be an obvious spot available for the backup RB. Hill is making the team, unless a veteran like McGahee is signed.

    On defense one NT is making the team, there is reasonable shot one OLB, and clearly one CB and S will make the Team.

    Cromartie has physical skills you want gamble on, and he’s supposedly an excellent gunner on special teams.