2021 Los Angeles Chargers Roster: Final Projections

Los Angeles Chargers Roster
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With two weeks of the preseason out of the way and the regular season being right around the corner, it’s time to do a final projection of the 53-man roster for the Los Angeles Chargers. Final cuts are on August 31, shortly after the final week of the preseason. A few months back a “way too early” projection was done; now we can compare and see what changes there are since then. Without further delay, let us get into the final Los Angeles Chargers roster projection.

2021 Los Angeles Chargers Roster Projection: Final Version

Quarterback (3)

Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, Easton Stick

As of this writing, third-year quarterback Easton Stick made a push for the backup quarterback spot behind Herbert, which was originally thought to be veteran Chase Daniel’s. Regardless of who wins the backup job now, one has to think there will be three quarterbacks on the roster because of Covid and needing more reserves.

Running Back (4)

Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III

There is one surprise here. Originally it was assumed that fullback Gabe Nabers would remain on the team, but with tight end Stephen Anderson getting fullback snaps during training camp and the preseason, his roster spot suddenly may be in jeopardy. It is still not clear who Ekeler’s primary backup will be, though rookie Rountree made a good case for himself in the preseason.

Wide Receiver (6)

Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton, Josh Palmer, Tyron Johnson, K.J. Hill

With the two top receiver spots firmly cemented, the main question was who would be the third receiver this year – because there was quite a bit of competition there. Based on preseason targets, rookie Josh Palmer looks to have the inside track. Jalen Guyton may still have a role as a deep threat, though. It looks like Tyron Johnson and K.J. Hill’s spots are safe as well as depth; as predicted earlier this year, last year’s fifth-rounder Joe Reed looks to be the odd man out as he has only been seen sparingly on special teams. The best-case scenario for him looks to be the practice squad.

Tight End (4)

Jared Cook, Donald Parham, Tre McKitty, Stephen Anderson

Cook is still obviously the starter with Parham still looking to be the primary backup. McKitty has not gotten much preseason action and does not look to have a favorable spot on the depth chart early on; however, as a third-rounder, it is extremely unlikely he would get cut right off the bat even if the Chargers are thinking they struck out on him. As mentioned earlier, Anderson may be playing some fullback, which helps ensure his roster spot.

Offensive Line (9)

Corey Linsley, Bryan Bulaga, Rashawn Slater, Matt Feiler, Oday Aboushi, Brenden Jaimes, Scott Quessenberry, Storm Norton, Trey Pipkins

Not really any surprises here. There were not any breakouts during camp, and the only question at this point was who the other starter at offensive guard would be beside Feiler – and right now Oday Aboushi looks to have the inside track. Trey Pipkins could be on the bubble due to having a quite poor preseason, but the problem is there do not look to be any better options on the depth chart; Tyree St. Louis is the only other option that might squeak his way in.

Defensive Line (6)

Jerry Tillery, Linval Joseph, Justin Jones, Christian Covington, Cortez Broughton, Breiden Fehoko

Note that the edge-rushers who would have been listed as defensive ends in the past are essentially being moved to “outside linebacker” now. Without them, Tillery, Joseph, and Jones are expected to be the guys starting on the line. After keeping Covington as a veteran presence, it’s a little bit of a guessing game between Broughton, Fehoko, Joe Gaziano, and Forrest Merrill for the last one or two spots. Assuming they keep two, Broughton and Fehoko have had solid preseasons so far and look to have an inside track – but Merrill has not been a slouch either. This may be one of the few competitions that still needs another week to get a clear picture. Whoever misses the cut could easily go to the practice squad.

Linebackers (9)

Joey Bosa, Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill, Uchenna Nwosu, Kyler Fackrell, Emeke Egbule, Nick Niemann, Chris Rumph II, Kyzir White

With the edge rushers moving out to “outside linebacker,” that beefs up the linebacker count a little bit. Joey Bosa is obviously the main starter of the edge rushers, with Nwosu expected to be the main one opposite him – though Fackrell could fight for some time as well. Murray and Tranquill are expected to be the starters on the inside. There is plenty of good depth to back all of these guys up too.

Cornerbacks (5)

Chris Harris, Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr, Tevaughn Campbell, John Brannon

Harris and Davis look to be the starters on the outside, to little surprise. If Harris is in the slot, Asante Samuel Jr is the most likely candidate to play opposite Davis on such plays. John Brannon was a breakout player in training camp and the preseason and is making a strong bid for the final roster. That leaves Tevaughn Campbell and Brandon Facyson to presumably duel for the final spot. Facyson, who has always been only a backup and has not contributed much in the preseason. Campbell is a bit inconsistent and has gotten burnt in coverage at times, but he is also capable of nabbing the odd interception here and there.

Safeties (4)

Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, Mark Webb, Alohi Gilman

The safeties lineup still has the issue of having very little depth. Derwin James has been injury-prone and though Brandon Staley has a lot of faith in Adderley, he struggled last year. That leaves Webb and Gilman as backups, and nobody else ever got signed (aside from an undrafted free agent). Fans should probably hope James does not get injured again.

Special Teams (3)

Tristian Vizcaino, Ty Long, Cole Mazza

The kicker competition is still unsettled, but we are still predicting Vizcaino – mostly because it would not seem reasonable to keep a kicker like Michael Badgley that is completely unreliable from beyond 45 yards. Meanwhile, Ty Long still has the punter position locked down. For now, we will assume that Cole Mazza will remain long snapper too – however, he is currently dealing with a shoulder injury of unknown seriousness. If he were to end up on injured reserve for any length of time, Matt Overton looks to be next in line.

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