3 UDFAs to watch closely during Chargers training camp

Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout
Los Angeles Chargers OTA Offseason Workout / Harry How/GettyImages

The LA Chargers are welcoming an exciting 2024 draft class that hopes to kick off the new era under head coach Jim Harbaugh. These drafted rookies may not be alone, though, as the Chargers brought in a long list of undrafted free agents to compete for a roster spot during training camp.

Some UDFAs end up playing a few preseason games only to never be seen again. Some make enough of an impression to land a practice squad spot with the chance of being elevated to an NFL roster. A select few can earn a roster spot as a UDFA and turn into big-time contributors.

Typically teams will know the ceiling of an UDFA during training camp before preseason games even begin. For that reason, there are several UDFAs with big-time potential that fans should keep a closer eye on.

Chargers fans must watch these UDFAs closely during training camp:

Zach Heins, TE

Zach Heins is the most exciting UDFA the Chargers brought on after the 2024 NFL Draft. Heins is very similar to a current Chargers tight end Donald Parham with his six-foot-seven frame and extreme length.

Heins checks off the physical tools and just needs NFL-level coaching to elevate his game. While his route running and physicality in the passing game may need work, he has the skill set to come into the league as a viable red-zone target instantly.

Unlike Parham when he came into the league from the XFL, Heins comes to the Chargers with a strong foundation as a run-blocker as well. He by no means is someone who can block every down in Greg Roman's offense but as a heavy package tight end inside the 20, Heins has a lot of potential.

Karsen Barnhart, OL

The Chargers drafted two players from Michigan in the 2024 NFL Draft and added another as an undrafted free agent with Karsen Barnhart. Barnhart has an obvious head start over other UDFAs as he has direct experience playing with Harbaugh as recent as last season.

While coming out of Michigan definitely helps his cause, it is not the only reason why Chargers fans should pay attention to Barnhart. The starting offensive line group might be finalized but the depth behind that room certainly is not.

Barnhart's biggest strength is his versatility as he showcased the ability to play both guard and tackle for Harbaugh at Michigan. Having someone who can play multiple positions at the back of the offensive line depth chart is extremely valuable, giving Barnhart a fighting chance of making the 53-man roster.

Akeem Dent, S

Akeem Dent might have the best chance of making the 53-man roster of the three players on this list. The Chargers did sign veteran safety Tony Jefferson after working him out during minicamp but Dent still has a good chance of making the cut.

The safety room is not the deepest in Los Angeles and Dent is an intriguing young player who could add something to the Bolts. Dent's versatility to play anywhere in the secondary in nickel and dime packages is very valuable, as is his potential impact on special teams.

Dent is a hard-hitting tackler who should be able to make a difference on special teams as early as his rookie season. If it comes down to Dent vs AJ Finley for this last safety spot, Dent has a good chance of making the roster.