Spencer Pulley is entering his third season as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers and is coming off a season in which he started in all 16 games for the team.
So how does a player who started in every game and is still just 25 years old end up on the roster bubble coming into training camp? The optimistic Chargers fan would say that the team’s focus on rebuilding the offensive line would be the answer.
The Chargers planned for Max Tuerk to be their center of the future, but that didn’t happen. Plan B ended up being Pulley, who was a reliable player for the team. But recent transactions have made the offensive line stronger, likely leaving Pulley battling for a backup job.
The team signed free-agent center Mike Pouncey before using a fifth-round selection on another center, Scott Quessenberry. The return of last year’s second-round choice, Forrest Lamp, also hampers Pulley’s chances.
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The starting offensive line figures to be Russell Okung, Dan Feeney, Pouncey, Lamp and Joe Barksdale. If the Chargers decide to keep eight offensive linemen, that leaves Pulley battling for a reserve spot with the likes of Quessenberry, Michael Schofield, Sam Tevi, Chris Durant, Brett Boyko, Trent Scott and Zachary Crabtree.
Though Pulley would have to be ranked at or near the top of that second-tier list, he will still have his work cut out for him.
Let’s say the Chargers keep eight linemen. It stands to reason that Pulley would be one of those guys based on his level of play last year, right? The Quessenberry pick definitely muddies the water and Tevi is a guy the team seemed to like last year, so it’s certainly not a lock that he’ll make the roster.
Still, a guy who played in every game for the team last year and gained that playing experience is a valuable asset and that fact alone should give him better than a 50-50 shot of making the 53-man roster.