Chargers undrafted rookie spotlight: Dillon DeBoer
By Travis Wakeman
Remember when the Los Angeles Chargers’ didn’t have any good options at the center position?
It wasn’t that long ago that Chris Watt was struggling at the position, but last season, free-agent acquisition Matt Slauson stepped up in a big way. He was so good that the Chargers didn’t even have to worry about using rookie Max Tuerk, who is looking to make a much bigger impact this season.
Through the first round of OTAs, Spencer Pulley was being placed at center and drew solid reviews from the coaching staff. Suddenly, the Chargers have a plethora of options at the center spot and that doesn’t even include undrafted rookie Dillon DeBoer.
Name: Dillon DeBoer
Weight: 302 pounds
School: Florida Atlantic
DeBoer did not receive an invite to the scouting combine, but he posted a 5.35 40-yard dash and 25 bench press reps at his official pro day.
Prior to playing at Florida Atlantic, DeBoer attended East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida. He’s not the only current Chargers player who attended that school, as fellow undrafted rookie, wide receiver Artavis Scott was there as well.
Current Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee graduated from the school as well, as did Major League Baseball players Chris Coghlan and Ryan Snare.
As a member of the Owls in college, DeBoer was asked to do a little bit of everything at the small school in Conference USA. His natural position is center, but he was asked to play both guard spots and during the 2016 season, even lined up at left tackle, giving the team everything he could.
NFL teams love versatility out of their offensive linemen and the Chargers will be familiar with those kinds of players, especially since Slauson wasn’t initially brought in to play center last year.
The fact that the Chargers now have options at the center position extends across the entire offensive line. Easily the team’s biggest weakness the last two seasons is turning into one of its strengths.
DeBoer will fit nicely witin the unit, but there may be just too many players in front of him for him to make a significant impact this summer.
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I think you have to like DeBoer’s versatility, but playing at Florida Atlantic likely didn’t provide him with the best level of competition. Teams typically only keep seven or eight offensive lineman on the final 53-man roster and there are at least that many ahead of DeBoer on the depth chart.
I think he will be shooting for a spot on the practice squad but with the depth the Chargers have assembled on the offensive line I feel that even that is unlikely.
Can DeBoer prove people wrong? Keep an eye on him this summer in camp and preseason games.