Nelson Spruce makes the 53-man roster
From the files of moves that fly completely under the radar, the Los Angeles Chargers recently signed free-agent wide receiver Nelson Spruce.
Spruce is a guy who around 95 percent (or more) of NFL fans have never even heard of, but he set the record for the most receptions in Pac-12 Conference history during his time at Colorado University. He’ll come to Los Angeles buried on the depth chart, but he has the skills to quickly work his way up the ladder.
Though he’s just 6-1 and 205 pounds, Spruce plays much bigger than his actual size with a great ability to use his body to shield defenders and make plays in the passing game. He doesn’t have the speed to burn, but he runs solid routes and knows how to get open.
He’s a gritty player, similar to a guy like Wes Welker, who just understood how to find open spots in the defense. Spruce played mostly outside at wide receiver in college and though he’s not the talent that Welker was in the slot (who is?), I see him as a slot receiver for the Bolts.
He’s versatile and is the kind of player who does what is asked of him. Plus, he’ll recognize that an opportunity exists with this team.
Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams are going to make the team. Travis Benjamin most likely will too, but let’s be honest, it’s not as though Benjamin is expendable.
Behind them, the other wide receivers on the roster are sixth-round pick Dylan Cantrell, Geremy Davis, Artavis Scott, Andre Patton, J.J. Jones and Justice Liggons. I have no trouble seeing Spruce being able to leapfrog every one of them.
His reliable hands would make him a player Philip Rivers would develop trust in and he could also help the team as a punt returner.