One of several new linebackers on the Los Angeles Chargers roster, Elijah Zeise looks to find his way through the competition to earn a spot on the roster.
Zeise played his college ball at Pittsburgh and though the team hasn’t challenged for national championships, it has been to a Bowl game in 10 of the last 11 seasons. That included each of Zeise’s years with the team.
Zeise was not a statistical monster for the Panthers, but he did begin his career as a wide receiver. During his sophomore season, he was moved to the defensive side of the ball and he started at linebacker in each of the team’s games during his junior and senior seasons.
He was not much of a threat to reach the quarterback as a pass rusher but did manage to pile up 97 tackles in two seasons. He played wide receiver and cornerback in high school and at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, he looks more like a wide receiver or defensive back in pads.
He will need to bulk up to handle the duties of a linebacker at the professional level but he does offer some pass coverage ability due to his days as a defensive back. Still, there isn’t much room for him to land a spot on the roster unless he just kills it on special teams this summer.
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Chance to make final roster (1-10 scale): 1.5
I’m not sure what this guy can offer the team that it can’t get in a variety of other ways. The team focused on the linebacker position this offseason and should be much better in that department than last year, but Zeise, who really looks more like a defensive back than a linebacker, won’t figure into that.
The Chargers seemed to be collecting as many linebackers as possible and likely saw Zeise as a guy who could come in and perhaps offer something different. But there are only 53 spots on an NFL roster and there are just too many more talented players on the team.
He might get a shot as a practice squad guy, but that’s even hard to imagine with the level of competition on this team.