As the Los Angeles Chargers entered the offseason, it seemed that tight end was a position the team needed more depth at. Not much has transpired to change that notion.
Following the draft, the Chargers headed toward training camp with seven tight ends on the roster. That number has been whittled down to five.
The Chargers released undrafted free agent Daniel Helm before the preseason began and during the team’s first preseason game, Andrew Vollert tore his ACL. He will miss the rest of the season. Vollert caught one pass for 25 yards in the preseason opener and showed some speed after making the grab. He had looked good in camp so far as well.
That is unless either Matt Sokol or Vince Mayle can recognize the opportunity and step up to steal that last spot. There will likely never be a more opportune time for one of them to do so.
Sokol saw some action in the game against the Arizona Cardinals but was pretty quiet. With only 31 receptions during his college career, Sokol isn’t much of a receiving threat and since Green is entrenched as the team’s blocking tight end, the Chargers need a guy who can spell Henry.
Culkin is a decent option but is there any way Mayle could overtake him?
Mayle was actually drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Cleveland Browns. He came into the league as a wide receiver before being converted to tight end. He has had a quiet career, one that at times seems to be teetering on no longer being an active playing career.
Mayle has been cut by three different teams, but could Los Angeles be the place for him? He caught one pass for 14 yards against the Cardinals but has yet to show any reason as to why he should make the team over a guy like Culkin.
Though he does have a rushing touchdown to his credit, Mayle is still looking for his first reception in a regular-season game. Culkin has one career catch.
The Chargers have a terrific option in Henry and perhaps the league’s best blocking tight end in Green, but depth is needed, especially considering what happened with Henry a year ago.
Of course, there’s always a guy named Antonio Gates just waiting in the wings. We’ll go ahead and start stirring that never-ending pot now.