The strangest training camp has ended and the Chargers’ coaching staff will have a tough task of putting a final roster together without playing a preseason game.
They’ll have to make evaluations based on practice tape before deciding which players get to stay past Saturday’s 1 p.m. deadline to trim the roster from 80 players to 53. Based on this reporter’s own evaluations, there are only nine roster spots available, and soon to be 10 with Derwin James expected to go on injured reserve.
Below are lists of 44 players likely safe and 16 longshot players. That leaves 20 players on the roster bubble fighting for the nine or 10 available spots (if this reporter’s estimation is correct).
Here are notes for the 20 Chargers on the roster bubble:
1. Easton Stick, QB, 2nd season
Stick not making the final roster would be a surprise, but injuries have started to amass. The Chargers might opt to use this spot for other positions of need and add Stick to their practice squad.
Stick hasn’t seen too many valuable reps in practices playing behind Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, but he flashed his athleticism in the scrimmage. He knows how to create when all else fails. Also, Herbert might not be ready for the backup role after showing hiccups in the scrimmage and team drills. That could keep Stick on the active roster.
2. Darius Jennings, WR, 6th season
Jennings was trending on the safe side before sustaining a hamstring injury in last week’s scrimmage. The veteran wide receiver has versatility on his side as a kick returner, but the Chargers have rookie wide receiver Joe Reed for that.
Jennings could be one of the surprise cuts because of the many young wide receivers on the 80-man roster, but he’s developed practice chemistry with Taylor.
3. Quenton Meeks, DB, 3rd season
Meeks was the third longshot candidate competing with Nasir Adderley and Rayshawn Jenkins for the starting free safety job. He now has a legit shot at making the roster with Derwin James expected to be placed on injured reserve.
Meeks spent time on the Chargers’ practice squad last year, and played eight games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018.
4. Kevin McGill, CB, undrafted rookie
McGill is another longshot defensive back who could benefit from James’ absence.
With Desmond King expected to see many snaps at safety, that could create an opportunity for McGill with the cornerbacks. He made a handful of plays in training camp.
5. Darius Bradwell, RB, undrafted rookie
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn wasn’t pleased about Bradwell’s weight gain to start training camp, but he’s a fan of the “big boy” running back. Bradwell has had a few long runs in practices, but the position might be too crowded for him to avoid the goodbye handshake.
6. Derrick Gore, RB, 2nd season
Gore picked up where he left off last summer, when he impressed Lynn, a former running back. But the position might already be set with Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Gore could find a backdoor if Lynn views him as a capable fullback.
7. Tevaughn Campbell, CB, 2nd season
If the Chargers are looking for cornerback depth, Campbell could get the nod over McGill because of experience. Campbell spent 12 weeks on the Chargers’ practice squad last season and was on the active roster for two games.
8. Gabe Nabers, FB, undrafted rookie
Nabers is the frontrunner for the fullback job because of his versatility as a former tight end at Florida State. He’s also the backup long snapper. The Chargers love versatility and Nabers has it.
9. Bobby Holly, FB, undrafted rookie
Holly holds the edge over Nabers as a blocking fullback, which is an area of importance with the team shifting to a run-heavy offense. The Chargers have increased Holly’s reps in recent practices, but it seems it’s Nabers’ job to lose.
10. Donald Parham, TE, 2nd season
Parham has potential as a pass-catching tight end, but the Chargers also want a blocker. Lynn recently said he was surprised about Parham’s blocking skills, but the Chargers will need to ask themselves if his blocking skills are good enough to keep him over Stephen Anderson in the battle for the third tight end behind Hunter Henry and Virgil Green.
Parham has stood out with his 6-foot-8 size and he’s made many plays in camp.
11. Emeke Egbule, LB, 2nd season
The 2019 sixth-round draft pick will have a tough time making the roster because of the team’s depth at linebacker. With the Chargers only using two linebackers for long stretches in games, six linebackers might be one too many. Egbule is playing behind Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, Denzel Perryman, Nick Vigil and Kyzir White.
12. Scott Quessenberry, C, 3rd season
Quessenberry might be one of the surprise cuts Saturday. The UCLA product impressed coaches last year when he filled in at center after injuries to Mike Pouncey and Forrest Lamp.
But the Chargers have used Dan Feeney as the backup center along with being the starting left guard this summer. Pouncey hasn’t practiced much the past few weeks and is coming off neck surgery. That could sway the Chargers in keeping Quessenberry.
13. Breiden Fehoko, NT, undrafted rookie
Many “Hard Knocks” viewers became fond of Fehoko after his underdog story segment and energetic haka performance. But Fehoko is more than a feel-good story – he can play and has impressed coaches and teammates with his technique and confidence.
Lynn admitted it’s going to be hard for the LSU product to make the team because of the depth on the defensive line.
14. Ryan Groy, C/G, 7th season
Groy has experience and versatility on his side, but he’s a longshot to make the final roster.
He has played in 64 career games, including nine for the Chargers in 2019 during his first season with the team.
15. Storm Norton, OT, 3rd season
Lynn was impressed with Norton’s training-camp play. The former XFL L.A. Wildcat received steady snaps as the right tackle for the second team and was with the first team during Bryan Bulaga’s days off.
Norton doesn’t have versatility as an inside-outisde offensive lineman, but Lynn mentioned he could be the team’s swing tackle. Norton primarily played left tackle in the XFL and with the Minnesota Vikings, but now he can add right tackle to his resume.
16. Trent Scott, OT, 3rd season
Scott could be left out if the Chargers decide to hold only nine offensive linemen like they did last year.
He had a shaky 2019 season, when he started the first seven games at left tackle because of Russell Okung being out with a pulmonary embolism. But the Chargers liked Scott enough to try him out as an offensive guard.
Scott could stay on the 53-man roster if he proved to be a quality right guard for the second team.
17. Stephen Anderson, TE, 5th season
Anderson had a strong finish to training camp and developed chemistry with Herbert. He recorded many catches and is probably a better blocker than Parham.
Anderson was also playing special teams with the first team for kickoffs, which is often a good sign for players on the roster bubble. Anderson’s experience might give him the edge over Parham’s potential.
18. Tyron Johnson, WR, 2nd season
Johnson had a hot start to camp and was a sleeper candidate to win the Chargers’ No. 3 job because of his speed. But the deep-threat opening was won by Jalen Guyton. Now, there’s not a role for him on the Chargers’ 53-man roster.
19. Jason Moore, WR, 2nd season
Moore might have a role if Mike Williams misses games because of injury. He can fill the big wideout role with his 6-foot-3 frame, but he can also play as a slot wide receiver.
He might earn a spot if the Chargers decide to keep six wide receivers.
20. Isaac Rochell, DE, 4th season
Rochell would be the biggest surprise cut if he’s not on the Chargers’ final roster. He’s been Joey Bosa’s “big end” backup the past two seasons. The role likely still belongs to him, but the Chargers have used second-year defensive tackle Jerry Tillery as a defensive end this training camp.
If the Chargers decide to move Tillery to a full-time defensive end, then that highly unlikely scenario would leave Rochell without a role.
Dalton Schoen, WR; Jeff Cotton, WR; John Brannon, CB; Donte Vaughn, CB; Malik Jefferson, LB; Romeo Finley, LB; Cole Christiansen, LB; Asmar Bilal, LB; Josh Dunlop, OG; Nate Gilliam, OG; Cole Toner, C/G; Ryan Roberts, OT; Tyree St. Louis, OT; TJ Smith, DT; Jessie Lemonier, DE; Joe Gaziano, DE
44 LIKELY SAFE
Ty Long, P; Michael Badgley, K; Tyrod Taylor, QB; Justin Herbert, QB; Joe Reed, WR; Keenan Allen, WR; Jalen Guyton, WR; Desmond King, DB; Justin Jackson, RB; Rayshawn Jenkins, S; Nasir Adderley, DB; Chris Harris Jr., CB; Casey Hayward, CB; Joshua Kelley, RB; Brandon Facyson, CB; Austin Ekeler, RB; Alohi Gilman, S; Derwin James, S; Uchenna Nwosu, DE; Michael Davis, CB; Kyzir White, LB; Cole Mazza, LS; Drue Tranquill, LB; Denzel Perryman, LB; Mike Pouncey, C; Melvin Ingram, DE; Kenneth Murray, LB; Nick Vigil, LB; Dan Feeney, OG; Sam Tevi, OT; Trai Turner, OG; Damion Square, DT; Bryan Bulaga, OT; Forrest Lamp, OT; Trey Pipkins, OT; Mike Williams, WR; K.J. Hill, WR; Hunter Henry, TE; Virgil Green, TE; Cortez Broughton, DT; Justin Jones, DT; Linval Joseph, DT; Joey Bosa, DE; Jerry Tillery, DT