July 23, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Jarrett Lee (16) before the snap from center Stephen Schilling (center) as guard Charlie Bryant (77) and nose tackle Eddie Brown (73) wait for the snap as quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (6) looks on during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Unknown Players Club

“The best 53 players” has been the goal for Mike McCoy and company since the start of training camp. There are a handful camp battles and returning starters, then there are the obvious guys who will make the team despite not being a starter for specific needs, guys such as John Phllips, Clipboard Charlie and Jairus Wynn. What about those names that not many people have heard? There could be a couple of not so household names that can contribute in big ways if given the opportunity. Let’s take a look at a few intriguing prospects that could show flashes of potential and barely make the cut.

Bront Bird – This time last year, Bird had a strong pre-season and did some athletic things for us, ranked as one of the best (7th) inside linebackers in coverage. Does anyone else remember that sweet pick he made off Ben Roethlisberger on the December 9th game? When he isn’t playing football, which he wasn’t for a majority of 2012, he was busy working at the company he’s started building wastewater treatment plants. An opportunity presented itself when Jonas Mouton sustained an ACL tear, opening up the door, not that Mouton was contributing to the team much more than Bront was.

Jahleel Addae – There is already fierce competition for the strong safety position opposite of Eric Weddle. Marcus Gilchrist, Brandon Taylor and Darrell Stuckey are all trying to prove themselves to be the starter. Least we forget Addae who could possibly make the roster as a reserve or a special teams player. There’s plenty of potential in this kids tank, he was a two-time Central Michigan defensive player of the year. Addae had an excellent spring, but has yet to make headlines during training camp. We’ll see what he can potentially do come Thursday in the pre-season opener.

Dan DePalma – There’s no doubt the Chargers have a very deep group of wide receivers, but one more couldn’t hurt. During spring OTAs, DePalma was catching everything thrown his way, in route catching the attention of the coaching staff. Unfortunately for DePalma, Eddie Royal has been making the most of his opportunity during training camp as well. Essentially, four spots are taken with you should know by now, the fifth to Robert Meachem since it would be foolish to cut him when guaranteed money is involved. Only a very, very strong pre-season and beating out Royal and Richard Goodman will secure DePalma a spot by opening day.

Stephen Schilling – Not much is known about Schilling aside from being drafted in the 6th round in 2011. Schilling has never made it through final cuts, but many experts are projecting him to finally make the team upon opening day. Just like most other players, perhaps he finally caught the inspiration bug. In recent times Schilling has tried out from tackle to guard and for the first time in his life, center. Versatility is a huge plus and can go a long way to making the team. Schilling is doing the right thing by grasping every opportunity he gets thrown in his direction.

Michael Hill – Still not a lot of buzz during camp about Hill, but pre-season should give up a decent indication of what Hill is capable of. Hill will essentially be targeting Ronnie Brown’s job, so Hill will have to prove he can catch out of the backfield as well as rush. If Hill can do all the things that Brown can do, it could free up some cap space as well as have a youthful, reliable third option when if Ryan Matthews goes down. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post Hill averaged 7.0 yards per carry in addition to 16 touchdowns during his final year at Missouri Western. Impressive numbers, but these stats don’t mean anything unless it can translate at the next level.

Does anyone of these guys sound like a bona fide back-up or the next undrafted starter (aside from Schilling)? It’s not just the first 22 to make the team, we need everyone that makes the final cut to contribute right away.

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  • davacho

    i think bird has best chance of making roster- injuries and performance during preseason will be huge factors!

  • Gunnar Martin

    Fozzy!!!! C’mon man ;)

    But in all seriousness, Bird is practically a guarantee to make it, and Schilling definitely could. I know lots of people are high on Addae, but if we kept him, then we would be keeping more safeties than corners (Weddle, Taylor, Gilly, Stuckey, and then him vs. Cox, Wright, Patrick, and Williams). Not sure if that would be worth it. Also wonder if Jerideou will make it…

    • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

      If Addae plays better and learns the in&outs quickly than he should be given a spot and the under performing not, whoever it is.

      • Gunnar Martin

        I just think that even if he does do well, why waste a roster spot when he probably isn’t gonna play? He’s already under Gilly, Taylor, Stuckey, and apparently Cattouse too. When there’s so many others that could help the team out more, I don’t understand why we would keep him around. Maybe he could fit in on the practice squad.

        • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

          Yeah your right. Just would hate to see him excell in a different jersey. Hope they lock him in on the practice squad.

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

      And Cattouse was listed second behind Weddle, and ahead of Addae on the official depth chart. Although, Mike McCoy HAS told the players not to read to deep into the depth chart.

    • FitzWilly

      Damn Straight Brother
      In Fozzy we Trust

  • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

    I expect to see Jahleel Addae make things happen when given a chance. Same goes for Michael Hill. The quicker they get these two a shot the better. Definitely diamonds in the ruff.

  • arnie

    Steve does have shot, if he can prove he can play center. Why? Hardwick is not going to play forever, he has contemplated retirement, so looking for his replacement, NOW, is a good idea.
    If Hill makes the team, I think it will be on the practice squad. Brown could be the odd man out, with the production of Fozzy an Edwin “Rock” Baker.

    • cameronmm

      Pretty sure Molk is the bolts future at center.

      • arnie

        I can see that. but don’t bet on it.

  • RaycomAllStar

    I saw Michael Hill run the ball here in Montgomery at the Raycom College football All Star Classic and he was awesome. I’m not a Chargers fan, but you guys got something special , and after preseason Michael Hill will be known throughout the NFL. (People laughed at me last year when I made a similar post about Russell Wilson.)