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LA Chargers: K.J. Costello-part training camp body, part reclamation project

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On Sunday, the LA Chargers added quarterback K.J. Costello to their training camp roster:

Costello was a participant in the team's June minicamp when the coaching staff got a chance to look at him. It's worth pointing out that the coaches had four days to look at the Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, and Easton Stick trio prior to this signing. August 2nd is the Chargers' first padded practice of this camp season.

Four quarterbacks isn't anything new to the Chargers and how they operate at this stage of camp. It was a little different in 2020 camp considering the cuts that had to be made early due to the pandemic, but the team had Philip Rivers, Geno Smith, Cardale Jones, and Nic Shimonek before they made cuts in 2018. In 2019, it was Rivers, Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick and the aforementioned Jones again early on.

Costello figures to be someone that either fights Stick for the QB3 spot on the depth chart or perhaps the first practice squad spot. As of now, I happen to believe they're fighting for the latter. With an established starter and backup combo like Herbert-Daniel, there's not much of a reason to keep a third on the active roster. There's no ambiguity like the final year of Rivers' contract in 2019 or the decision on whether Herbert was the guy entering 2020.

Costello is a effectively a training camp competition body at this stage. However, I also find Costello's history in college rather interesting. Back in 2019 and even before his 2020 season, the quarterback received a lot of early round draft buzz. In his first two seasons at Stanford, he threw for 43 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

In 2019, Costello was limited to just five games as a starter at Stanford due to multiple injuries. This would eventually lead to a Mississippi State transfer where he would start the season off as Mike Leach's quarterback. The opportunity was there for Costello to build back some of that draft capital he lost in an injury-plagued season.

In the first game of the season against LSU in 2020, Costello threw for 623 yards, an SEC record. As some might guess based on the fact that he went undrafted, the rest of the season did not go that way. The Stanford transfer was benched after throwing six touchdowns and 10 interceptions in four games. It proved to be fatal to any NFL draft hopes.

There's no doubt he looked rough outside of that historic LSU game, but it must've been a tough season for him in some regards. He was a transfer to a new team learning an offense from a coach (Mike Leach) that was just hired. On top of that, it's hard to discuss anyone's individual 2020 college football season without bringing up the effects and pressure of the pandemic.

Costello threw for 55 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in his college career despite his final three games. If a team could ever get him back to his Stanford level, it may be worth a look. The skills and ability are there if he can make some tweaks to his game.

In all likelihood, Stick will probably be the practice squad/QB3 for the Chargers. But for him to make it to the practice squad, he'd have to clear waivers. In today's NFL, there's never a guarantee that's the case. Costello seems like an insurance policy in that regard.

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While he probably won't be more than a blip on the radar in the grand scheme of things, Costello's story and potential do interest me enough to give him a small look during training camp and potentially the preseason.

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