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LA Chargers: UDFAs will face adversity with new training camp rules

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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Undrafted free agents face an uphill battle to make the LA Chargers’ roster with new coronavirus roster restrictions on the horizon.

Things are going to be difficult for the undrafted free agents on the LA Chargers.

As training camp approaches, Adam Schefter has dropped a report about training camp size being impacted by coronavirus:

In an effort to combat COVID-19, NFL teams are likely to bring fewer than the regular 90 players they ordinarily bring to training camp, per league sources. One source is predicting 80 per team, another 75, but no one is expecting 90. More coming up on https://t.co/rDZaVFhcDQ.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 2, 2020

The Chargers currently have 86 players on the roster. This includes the 19 undrafted free agents they signed, as well as their seven draft picks. 80 players would only require the Chargers to release six players, but 75 would require a pretty serious cut-down.

This news, as well as the increasing likelihood that there likely won’t be a preseason, adversely affects all of the Chargers’ undrafted free agents.

Every year, there’s usually one or two that make the team. Without preseason and training camp, there would likely be no Antonio Gates or Austin Ekeler in Chargers’ history. Current key contributors like Michael Davis and Roderic Teamer probably wouldn’t have come close to making the team either.

If the Chargers have to cut 5-11 players before even starting training camp, there’s no doubt that almost all of those players would come from their pool of 19 undrafted free agents. Surprise releases of some of the more established Chargers could come closer to the final roster cuts, but it isn’t happening now.

Which LA Chargers’ undrafted free agent has the best roster chances?

Bobby Holly probably has the best odds to make the team in these circumstances, given that Derek Watt left in free agency to join the Steelers. The team needs a fullback, and it might not take long in training camp for Holly to prove his strength and blocking ability.

Undrafted wide receivers are probably the least likely to make the team. The Chargers already have Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Andre Patton from last year. Plus, they drafted Joe Reed and Ohio St. star K.J. Hill. Jeff Cotton and Dalton Schoen were already facing uphill battles in making the team, but their paths to the roster just became more difficult with this news.

While this report is bad news for undrafted free agents, there is some good news. Last month, Mike Garafolo and Judy Battista of NFL Network reported that the NFL could expand practice squads to 16 players due to the possibility of positive coronavirus tests on the main rosters. Some of the undrafted free agents who don’t make the roster could very well end up there.

Next. Why a salary cap drop could help the LA Chargers

There’s still a lot of time to see how this all plays out, but it unfortunately doesn’t look good for undrafted free agents attempting to make the team. In addition to training camp cuts, there may be no preseason at all. On the bright side, practice squad expansion could help some of these guys get signed with the team for the future.

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