The Los Angeles Chargers have a good thing when it comes to the tight end position. In fact, it’s a better thing than most teams have in the department.
Antonio Gates is one of the best tight ends in NFL history and Hunter Henry is one of the most exciting young players in the league. Having them in the same offense, with Henry learning from Gates, is pretty exciting.
But realistically, there’s no sure thing at that position on that roster.
The team has Jeff Cumberland, who spent all of last season on injured reserve. Then there’s Sean McGrath, who showed promise as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs but has caught a grand total of two passes for the Chargers.
So what about undrafted free agent Sean Culkin?
At 6’6″ and 250 pounds, Culkin has the size to play tight end at the next level, but does he have the ability?
While at Missouri, his assignments on the field usually involved being a blocker. Culkin wasn’t a guy that the Tigers threw the ball to, as he had just 61 catches in four college seasons and found the end zone just two times.
However, a blocking tight end is always useful for an offense, particularly in the running game. But the Chargers have their bases covered in that area, as Henry is a strong blocker and both Cumberland and McGrath can hold their own in the blocking department. Unless Culkin can somehow become a strong force in the passing game—and based on his playing history, that’s unlikely—than he may be nothing more than a guy who gets to spend a summer in sunny California.
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I don’t see much of a fit in L.A. for Culkin as the Chargers will likely keep only three tight ends. Unless Cumberland gets hurt again, he’ll have the inside track on that job. At this point, McGrath is a better option than Culkin and the team also has veteran tight end Asante Cleveland.
Culkin will likely earn some good experience playing for the Chargers this summer, but his future career probably includes something other than playing on a football field.