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3 Chargers That Can Win A Roster Spot In Preseason Week 3

In Week 3 of the 2023 preseason, these Chargers will have one last audition to prove why they have a strong case to make the 53-man roster.
Chargers Roster

This year more than ever, the Chargers roster is very deep and competition is rampant everywhere. Los Angeles has plenty of players who can create a very intriguing case for their spot on the roster. Tom Telesco, Brandon Staley, Ed McGuire, and company will have plenty of tough decisions to make in the coming days. In Week 3 of the 2023 preseason, these players will have one last audition to prove why they deserve a job in the NFL.

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3 Chargers Fighting For A Roster Spot In Preseason Week 3

Zack Bailey

Zack Bailey has made a strong case to make the Chargers 53-man roster. All throughout the offseason and preseason, the 6′-6″, 300-pound mauling right guard has shown his ability to run defenders over both in the pass and run game. Bailey, a former undrafted free agent from South Carolina, signed with the Buccaneers in 2019. After a few different stints, Bailey ended up with the Chargers, earning the right to fight for a reserve offensive line spot.

Based on the early returns, Bailey has done enough to prove that he belongs on the Chargers 53-man roster. Throughout two preseason games, he has 91 total snaps, 63 pass blocking, and 28 run blocking. On these snaps earning an overall 86.2 offensive PFF grade, 84.1 PFF run block grade, and 81.0 pass blocking grade.

For more tangible statistics, he has only given up one sack, due to Easton Stick’s heroball tendencies in Week 2. He also has only given up two pressures in the two games, demonstrating his ability to protect the quarterback at a constant rate. Look for Bailey to beat out former fifth-round Brenden Jaimes for the reserve interior offensive line spot next to Will Clapp and Jordan McFadden.

Stone Smartt

Stone Smartt was an undrafted free agent in 2022 coming from Old Dominion, starting off as a dual-threat quarterback who ended up moving to receiver his senior year. Now as a tight end for the Chargers, Smartt had a year to train as a tight end under Joe Lombardi’s offense on the practice squad. There was a lot of buzz from the coaches on his development, and excitement from the fans to see what this converted quarterback could do for the Chargers as a swiss army knife.

This season, Smartt is finally getting his chance to show off what kind of juice he brings to the Chargers tight end room. Speaking of the tight end room, it is in a state of despair, as Gerald Everett is the only player who has shown any sort of promise this offseason. With the starter locked down, the Chargers need at least two more depth pieces on the roster, one of which will be allocated to the injury-prone Donald Parham Jr. Parham dropped a touchdown pass in Week 2 of the preseason and has been very uninspiring both in the run and pass game thus far.

With an uninspiring performance from Parham, you would hope the Chargers third-string tight end would have any promise, especially as it is the former third-round selection, Tre’ McKitty. McKitty has been completely awful in his tenor with the Chargers, not showing any promise as a receiver, and struggling with drops. As a blocker, he has shown some ability, but has mightily regressed and looks completely lost when put out there.

That leaves Stone Smartt as one of the only viable tight end options left on the Chargers roster. With Parham and McKitty both not doing anything this offseason, the Chargers are in desperate need of tight end depth. Insert the former quarterback, ready to use his smarts, 4.6 speed, and 40-inch vertical to put pressure on defenses.

Smartt’s ability has shown throughout this preseason, as in week two he had four catches for 32 yards. In his ability to block in the run game, in his minimal snaps he earned a very average 59.0 PFF grade. While it’s far from a guarantee, Stone Smartt could earn a spot on the Chargers final roster with another strong preseason performance.

Elijah Dotson

The 6’0″ 200-pound back, hailing from Sacramento, concluded his final collegiate season as a member of the Northern Colorado Golden Bears, where he has showcased his skills across two of the three main phases of the game. On the offensive front, he acquired an exceptional 933 yards gained from rushing, accompanied by six touchdowns. Additionally, Dotson contributed with 300 receiving yards, securing two more touchdowns. His involvement extended to kick return duties for the Northern Colorado team, culminating in an impressive average of 19.4 yards per return over 13 attempts.

Elijah Dotson quickly rose up the ranks for Charger fans after his immaculate Week 1 preseason performance. Dotson earned a very impressive 90.0 overall grade, gashing the Rams for 92 yards and two touchdowns on only six attempts. This impressive performance led to the release of Larry Roundtree, thus more snaps for Dotson. In Week 2, Dotson had six attempts for just 21 yards, but a lot of this had to do with the blocking in front of him. Dotson had a nice eight-yard run in which he completely bowled over the tackler, gaining more yards after contact.

Unfortunately, this showing ended in a very crucial drop from Dotson, leading the Chargers offense to stall out. If Dotson has a solid performance in Week 3 of the preseason, look for the Chargers to keep four running backs on the roster.

One Final Fight For the Chargers Roster

For the three previous names, all it may take is one more solid game for them to make the final 53-man roster. These are all in positions of need as well, so the path is clear. Whether it is a complete lack of depth, becoming the strongest option for depth, or purely having a spot available if earned, all three Chargers will be looking to make their impact known in Week 3 of the NFL preseason.

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Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports


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