The 2021 NFL Draft is officially in the books and on top of the nine selections that the LA Chargers made the team also brought in undrafted free agents as well.
The Bolts signed 10 UDFA following the draft. While most will end up being released or live on the practice squad, the hope is that one or two could turn into legitimate difference-makers for the team. And while Tom Telesco has a shaky track record in the mid-rounds of the draft, he is great with undrafted free agents.
Telesco signed Austin Ekeler, who is now one of the best dual-threat running backs in the entire league. Before Telesco was around, the Chargers struck gold on the likes of Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Kris Dielman.
This year, there is one UDFA that fans should be circling as the one that could make a massive impact on the Bolts.
Alex Kessman is the UDFA that could make a massive impact on the LA Chargers.
This is kind of a cheater answer, but Alex Kessman is the lone kicker that the LA Chargers signed as an undrafted free agent. The Chargers do not have a great history of having good kickers and that is still the reality today. Michael Badgley really took a step back last season for the team.
The signs of Badgley’s fall from grace were telling. Before he started missing kicks on a routine basis, we covered why the Chargers had an undercover kicking problem. Like clockwork, that problem started to show the light of day.
The big telling sign was the team’s hesitancy to use Badgley on long-range field goals. Badgley has not proven to have a great leg. He has made just three of nine attempts from 50+ yards and was 2-6 last season.
Kessman has a cannon of a leg. While his overall numbers from short-yardage were not fantastic, the Chargers are obviously picking him up because of his leg strength. Kessman only made 72.6% of his field goals in college but he showcased his powerful leg on numerous occasions.
Kessman has the longest field goal in Pitt history, a 58-yarder, and was 12-18 from 50+ yards in his four-year college career. He made four of five attempts from 50 yards out.
Kessman is going to compete for the kicking job with Michael Badgley and if he can show more accuracy from within 50 yards, on top of having the monster leg (which is also extremely valuable on kickoffs) then he will win the job.
Badgley arguably should not have the job as is and with a new coaching staff, he is not going to get the benefit of the doubt that he may have before. This is a wide-open job, folks, and if Kessman is as good as he can be then he could be a massive game-changer next season.
Just think about how many games the LA Chargers might have won last year if Badgley could consistently make kicks.