Defensive tackle was easily one of the weakest positions on the roster for the Los Angeles Chargers following the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Between the draft and the process that follows in which teams sign undrafted free agents, the Chargers brought in four new defensive tackles (though Eurndraus Bryant has curiously disappeared from the team’s roster). Tom Telesco wanted to stockpile as much depth as he could in order to support Brandon Mebane and Justin Jones.
Reggie Howard is a 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive tackle who spent the latter half of his college playing career as a member of the Toledo Rockets. Prior to that, he was playing at the junior college level at a school in Kansas before transferring to the Ohio school ahead of the 2017 season.
Though he was only a starter for his senior season, he was an elite defender for the Rockets. He was the team’s best run-stopper and also found a way to register four sacks, which was second-most on the team and 15 tackles for loss, which led the team and was fourth-most in the conference.
Howard is on the smaller side of defensive tackles compared to what many team’s look for in today’s game, but he has quick hands and is able to blow by interior offensive lineman better than many guys bigger than him.
NFL Draft Scout shows him to have run a 5.07-second 40-yard dash at his official pro day while posting 31 bench press reps of 225 pounds, which is a respectable number.
Howard will have to show how much he wants it in training camp and exhibition games this summer as he will be buried beneath many experienced veterans on the depth chart.
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Chance to make final roster (1-10 scale): 3
The fact that Howard had only one year of starting experience at the major college level will likely hinder his chances of making the team. That said, he did make the most of that season so that could show that he is still progressing as a player and he could be a guy coaches could get a lot more from.
The absence of Bryant from the roster creaks the door open a little more of Howard, but that is a curious situation as there is no official transaction that shows he is no longer with the team.
Even if he’s not, you have to figure that Tillery, Mebane and Jones are basically locks to make the roster. If the Chargers keep four defensive tackles, seventh-round selection Cortez Broughton looks like a solid choice and the veteran Damion Square is back as well.
Howard will be on the outside looking in unless he really shows out in camp. He is likely competing for one of the 10 spots on the practice squad.