After selecting seven new players in the draft, the Los Angeles Chargers loaded up in the undrafted free-agent process, signing 21 other players to contracts.
The Chargers have had uncanny success at finding production out of undrafted players as the team holds an league-leading active streak of 21 straight seasons in which at least one undrafted rookie has made the final roster.
So since it’s pretty much become a given that one player will do just that, which one (or more than one) of these 21 names will have that honor this year?
Nic Shimonek, QB, Texas Tech: We’ll start with the quarterback, a position many fans expected the Chargers to go after in the draft. Nick Shimonek had just one full season as the starter at Texas Tech, throwing for 3,963 yards and 33 touchdowns. He looked good in the East-West Shrine Game, completing 12-of-18 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, but that wasn’t enough to get him drafted. He’ll try to beat out either Cardale Jones or Geno Smith for a roster spot but if the Chargers choose to only keep two quarterbacks, he’d have to beat them both out.
Tony Brown, CB, Alabama: fifth or sixth-round grade onIt’s not often you see a player out of Alabama go undrafted, but here’s one. Tony Brown is a 6-0, 199-pound defensive back who NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had a.
B.J. Clay, CB, Georgia State: A 6-0, 190-pound cornerback with three interceptions during his career at Georgia State. He will be a long-shot to make the team.
Marcus Edmond, CB, Clemson: Another cornerback from a big-name school, Marcos Edmond played in just two games last season due to injury and just a total of 13 during his career with the Tigers.
Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech: Facyson has one of the more impressive resumes of any of the undrafted free agents signed by the Chargers and several analysts were likely surprised to see him go undrafted. He has good length and playmaking ability and could remind fans of a an undrafted free agent that looked last summer by the name of Michael Davis.
D’Juan Hines, LB, Houston: D’Juan Hines played in 23 games over the last two seasons for the Cougars and had a 110-tackle campaign in 2017.
Bijhon Jackson, DT, Arkansas: Bijhon Jackson started all 12 games for the Razorbacks last season but dealt with weight problems during his playing days and will come into came around the 340-pound mark.
Steven Richardson, DT, Minnesota: Steven Richardson finished his college career with 12.5 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss. At least among the undrafted defensive tackles, I’d rank Richardson well above Jackson, for whatever that’s worth.
Albert Havili, DE, Eastern Washington: It’s hard to get noticed in the Big Sky Conference, but Albert Havili did his best to do just that as the team’s only full-time starter on defense in 2017. He was chosen as a member of the All-Conference second team last year.
Tevin Lawson, DE, Nicholls State: Tevin Lawson played three seasons at TCU before transferring to Nicholls State for his senior season. He wasn’t incredibly productive at either school, registering just 2.5 total sacks.
Zachary Crabtree, OT, Oklahoma State: An offensive tackle who is going to get his shot in L.A. or somewhere else due to his size (6-7, 310 pounds), Zachary Crabtree flashes potential, but is a long-term project at best.
Chris Durant, OT, William & Mary: Chris Durant probably doesn’t have an NFL future, but he has a bright future elsewhere as he majored in kinesiology at William & Mary and is a member of multiple A capella groups.
Trenton Scott, G, Grambling State: Trenton Scott played tackle in college but will likely move inside to guard at the next level. He had an impressive streak of not allowing a sack, but that did come at Grambling State, which included games against Prairie View and Clark Atlanta.
Zack Golditch, G, Colorado State: This guy played in 43 games at Colorado State, making 38 starts. As a senior, he was a member of the All-Conference team in the Mountain West. But the story you likely haven’t heard, that he was the survivor of a mass shooting at a Colorado theater, is better than any of that.
Cole Hunt, TE, TCU: At 6-7, you’re not going to miss this guy in camp this summer. A great blocking tight end, Hunt could gain some pointers from Virgil Green, an outstanding blocking tight end in his own right, and potentially make a push for the practice squad.
Ben Johnson, TE, Kansas: One of the more experienced undrafted free agents the team signed, Ben Johnson played in 45 college games, catching 61 passes for the Jayhawks. With Antonio Gates out of the picture, there is an opportunity for a young tight end on this team.
J.J. Jones, WR, West Georgia: Just 5-10 and 173 pounds, J.J. Jones is going to find it hard to make an NFL roster but he might get a chance on special teams as a return man.
More from Bolt Beat
- LA Chargers: 3 early takeaways from 2021 minicamp thus far
- LA Chargers: Drue Tranquill takes a jab at Gus Bradley’s defense
- LA Chargers second-year players: Nothing to lose and a lot to gain
- LA Chargers: Why running back could be a big issue for the Bolts
- LA Chargers: Chris Rumph’s upside is Melvin Ingram-like, but better
Kent Shelby, WR, McNeese State: The exact opposite of Jones, Kent Shelby stands 6-3 and weighs in at 208 pounds. He caught 48 passes for 625 yards last season.
Detrez Newsome, RB, Western Carolina: The Chargers have a thing for these smaller running backs as Newsome stands just 5-10, but he is like a tiny stick of dynamite. He set multiple records at Western Carolina, including scoring 46 career touchdowns and putting up 6,969 all-purpose yards. Because the Chargers don’t have a ton of depth at the running back position, this will be an interesting player to keep an eye on this summer.
Anthony Manzo-Lewis, FB, Albany: A fullback/tight end combination, Manzo-Lewis is the kind of guy who will become a fan favorite during the preseason but his chances of making the roster will be pretty slim.
Shane Tripucka, P, Texas A&M: The Chargers must really like the kicking game at Texas A&M. Current punter Drew Kaser and former placekicker Josh Lambo both came from that school and now Tripucka, with a 44.3-yard career average per punt, joins that group. Shane’s uncle, Kelly Tripucka, played for the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz and Charlotte Hornets in the NBA.