Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Easton Stick will look to prove that he belongs in the NFL, but how soon he actually sees the field as a starter, or if that even happens, remains to be seen.
Many fans and analysts felt the Chargers might take a quarterback in this year’s draft. Some of that thought went away after the team signed veteran Tyrod Taylor in free agency. Then the draft came around and the team chose Easton Stick in the fifth round, one of the biggest “projects” in the quarterback class.
That’s not a problem, having Philip Rivers and Taylor helps buy the Chargers all the time they need. But where fans could see a change is in a place most never think about.
When was the last time the Chargers carried three quarterbacks on the active roster? Cardale Jones spent last season on the practice squad after getting cut before the regular season started.
It’s not something Tom Telesco usually does, but neither is drafting a quarterback. Stick is just the second quarterback Telesco has selected as general manager of the team. With Rivers, he prefers to employ a veteran backup such as Kellen Clemens or Geno Smith on the off chance that they will have to go into a game or even make some starts.
That hasn’t been necessary due to the incredible health of Rivers.
But Stick isn’t going to be that guy, Taylor is. Stick is there to show what the future might hold at the quarterback position, which means he will likely make this year’s team. But that also means he will occupy a roster spot and there are only 53 of those to go around.
It may sound like 53 is a lot, but it’s really not and for a championship-level roster, every one of those spots counts.
Some will say stash him on the practice squad, but that’s probably not the best plan. The reason for that is a practice squad only extends a team’s roster, but the players on it are not protected. In other words, any other team in the league could pluck Stick right off of there.
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For a team, likely one with a far less certain quarterback situation and one that is not a major contender, why wouldn’t they grab Stick? That should force the Chargers to put him on the 53-man roster, which could cut out depth at a more important position.
Of course, there is the chance that Stick will be cut (he’s not taking the backup job from Taylor), but that would beg the question, why draft him? He’s not going to be able to show whether he’s a long-term answer in training camp alone and if he does impress the team, then you have the conundrum of him being on the active roster.
The Chargers would make him an inactive on gamedays as only 46 players are permitted to suit up, but the team would be stuck with what to do with him as it pertains to this season.
Stick is an intriguing player, but the Chargers will have to get creative with how to keep him around for years to come.