Final roster cuts have come and gone, and now all teams are down to 53-man rosters. There are often some surprises each year, especially if certain teams have competitive positions – and thus, teams had some tough choices to make. So let’s look at the Los Angeles Chargers roster cuts and some of the surprises and non-surprises or just notable decisions as the regular season approaches (including some of the surprising roster keeps).
Reacting to the 2021 Los Angeles Chargers Roster Cuts
Kicker Battle Ends With Newcomer Winning
Fans who have been distressed by Michael Badgley’s inconsistency from longer ranges should rest easy after hearing that the kicker competition has been won by Tristan Vizcaino. While he did not win it easily and had a miss or two of his own during the preseason, he at least does not have the problem of being held back by unreliability from longer distances. It’s hard to say whether Vizcaino is going to be around for a long time, but barring a horrific showing, he will have at least this year as the clear starter at kicker.
Easily the biggest surprise of the Chargers roster cuts was wide receiver Tyron Johnson. The Chargers chose to keep five instead of six at receiver; and with Josh Palmer, Jaylen Guyton, and K.J. Hill rounding out the five after starters Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Johnson was the odd man out. Still, he had shown a lot of promise down the stretch last year. And while there were signs that he was not going to be high on the depth chart this year (smaller usage during preseason), it is still rather surprising that a player with a lot of upside got axed.
On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest surprise was the release of cornerback John Brannon. He had a great training camp and preseason, and it seemed like he should be ahead of the likes of Brandon Facyson on the depth chart. However, Brannon did not make the final roster. Kemon Hall was the surprise undrafted free agent that made it at cornerback instead. It is possible that Brannon will go to the practice squad, as it seems hard to overlook his highlights from camp and preseason.
Other Notable Cuts and Keeps
Despite word that tight end Stephen Anderson was taking reps at fullback – which would have made actual fullback Gabe Nabers expendable – both Nabers and Anderson remain on the roster. That likely means Anderson will stick to his role as primarily a blocking tight end.
At quarterback, both Chase Daniel and Easton Stick did make the final roster. We do not know as of now who the actual backup is, but Stick’s overall strong preseason showing helped him make a case.
One undrafted free agent that made the roster was inside linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga. With Ogbongbemiga making the linebacker corps, outside linebacker Emeke Egbule was left on the outside looking in (though he made the practice squad).
Also of note was last year’s fifth-round wide receiver selection Joe Reed getting cut. This was not particularly a surprise; neither Anthony Lynn nor Brandon Staley could seem to find much of a use for him beyond special teams. Also, the wide receiver competition was quite tough this year. Even with none of this being a shock at this point, this is still notable for being an unusual complete whiff for Tom Telesco in the Draft at wide receiver. However, he did end up on the practice squad, thus not completely slamming the door on him yet.
Some of the standouts we saw that didn’t make the final cut will hopefully make their way to the practice squad in the end. But ultimately, the “surprise cuts” mostly just had to do with depth or backup roles. Tyron Johnson is the only one of the lot that might have been a bigger role player if he had stuck around. Meanwhile, some undrafted free agents made good impressions, and we will see if they and the other newcomers can contribute when/if their number is called upon.
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