Chargers Bubble Watch: Will Craig Mager be on the outside looking in?
By Travis Wakeman
The Los Angeles Chargers will open training camp in less than three weeks, starting a period in which a handful of players will be fighting for their professional lives.
One of those players will be Craig Mager, a defensive back entering his third season with the team.
Drafted in third round of the 2015 draft, Mager looked like a nice sleeper pick coming out of Texas State. However, he’s been a disappointment through his first two seasons.
For his career, Mager has just one interception to go along with 40 tackles. He has blown coverages so badly it’s hard to imagine how he reached the professional level at times and as a result, finds himself one the bench more often than not.
But can he still be turned into a productive player?
Mager is only 25 years old and could certainly still have his best football in front of him. Perhaps the philosophy that will come with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will be the jolt he needs. Or maybe he’s just not cut out to be a cornerback at the pro level.
Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward are the clear-cut starters at cornerback, so the battle will be for players looking to work their way into the team’s defensive sub packages and for added depth behind those two players.
Trevor Williams and Trovon Reed will both be back and the team signed for undrafted rookies, Brad Watson, Michael Davis, Brandon Stewart and Ryan Reid.
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This creates an interesting, wide-open competition this summer and if you think that Mager is just going to get a pass, think again.
Through camp and preseason games, Mager will have to show improvements in several areas, most notably his reactionary skills and the fact that he just allows too much separation in coverage. Essentially, Mager will need to treat this camp as though he’s on the outside looking in when it comes to roster cuts.
With that said, he will have to do something to make an impact, even if that impact is made on special teams. If not, he will be let go and the team will go in another direction.
What’s your opinion? Will Mager make the team this year?