Every player's dream gets real with their rookie training camp. After making the biggest transition of their life regarding the sport, every rookie will now compete to make the 53-man roster.
The Chargers currently have 24 rookies on the roster and each one will get an opportunity at their first preseason game on Thursday.
San Diego has players making noise at training camp and while making an impact in training camp is huge, coaches are starting to anticipate what they can do in the real spotlight.
With the first game for every rookie just a couple days away, here are the first report-card grades.
The headline surrounding the 21-year-old running back is that he is being outplayed by another rookie at the same position. Edwin Baker is in a roster battle with Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley and Michael Hayes for the last two spots.
Baker is still young and has talent, but his chances at making the Chargers this season are slim to none.
Jason Barnes isn't making his name known at all. No one is talking about him. He's 6'3'', which is an ideal height for a receiver, especially for Philip Rivers. He's in a tough position battle, but for him not to make any noise whatsoever at his height, Barnes' chances are starting to fade.
It's gonna be tough for any of the four rookie wide receivers to make the team. Malcom Floyd, Robert Meachem, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Richard Goodman, Micheal Spurlock and Roscoe Parrish have made the position battle very tough.
Colin Baxter and rookie Dave Molk continue to split second-team reps at center. Cordell Bell working with 2s at right tackle.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) July 29, 2012
Cordell Bell is in the most open position battle on the roster. After having such a horrible front line last season, the Chargers are searching for players ready to improve it by the first game.
Bell was an undrafted rookie the Chargers invited to camp. Although Bell is probably just as good/bad as Jeromey Clary, however you'd put it, it's likely that he won't end up making the team.
Like Jason Barnes, Eddie Brown just isn't standing out. He's the only rookie defensive tackle on the roster and with Antonio Garay, Aubrayo Franklin and Cam Thomas ahead of him, there's no way he's making the team.
Good news is he is just a rookie. Keep working, Eddie Brown, your time will come.
Some rookies have a tough time adjusting to the NFL. Sean Cattouse, rookie safety out of the University of California, didn't travel far to join the Chargers training camp.
Cattouse was actually predicted to go in the seventh round of the draft. I even had San Diego taking him in the last round. After the Chargers took Brandon Taylor in the third round, another safety was unlikely.
Eric Weddle, Atari Bigby, Brandon Taylor, Darrel Stucky and Corey Lynch are the other safeties on the roster. Sean Cattouse needs to become a special teams star to have a chance at making the team.
Like most of the other rookies, John Cullen isn't doing enough to get people's attention. He has the opportunity to help improve the offensive line. Cullen is a offensive tackle out of Utah who was an undrafted rookie acquisition.
John Cullen has a month to prove he can protect Philip Rivers this season. He hasn't done that so far.
Antonio Gates said this is the first year he's seen so many talented tight ends in Chargers training camp. Alongside Gates, Randy McMichael, Ladarius Green, Dante Rosario, Kory Sperry, Brad Taylor and Patrick Doyle are the other tight ends on the roster.
Four of them will make the team at most, and that's pushing it. Doyle also plays fullback, but Le'Ron McClain and Jacob Hester will both make the team.
The statement Gates made about the talented tight ends includes Doyle. He should continue to grow and try to compete elsewhere.
Taylor Embree is another 6'3" receiver. He was brought in as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA. His position battle is compacted, but some like what they see in Embree.
Taylor Embree? RT @bftb_chargers: Who’s 84? Looks like a young Floyd. Odd, but great, body control.— Richard Wade (@RichardWade) August 4, 2012
His best shot at making the team is to play better than both Spurlock and Parrish in preseason and try to become the next Bryan Walters for the Chargers.
Gregory Gatson is a fan of injuries, just not to himself. Injuries open up opportunities. Because of the recent minor injuries of Antoine Cason and Michael Gilchrist, Gatson has been getting first-team reps.
He hasn't proven he can be a consistent starting cornerback, but his training camp has been better than expected.
Ladarius Green was the fourth-round selection by the Chargers. Kevin Acee believes that he isn't having the best training camp. He also says that he seems to not be ready for the NFL.
Reports are saying that Dante Rosario is outplaying the former Louisiana-Lafayette star.
Although Green isn't performing at his best in camp, he'll end up making the team. He should be one of four tight ends to make the 53-man roster.
Nick Guess is in a one-on-one competition with Mike Windt. The Chargers brought Guess into camp for that reason alone.
Long snappers aren't really a hot topic, but there is only one spot on the team, and that spot will be taken by Mike Windt.
The Fresno State standout is opening eyes at Chargers training camp. Logan Harrell is trying to make the team at a position filled with talented veterans.
In an article written by Kevin Acee and Michael Gehlken, they have Harrell listed as their No. 5 player on the top undrafted free agents.
Mike Harris is having the best training camp of any rookie. Norv Turner is very pleased with the production and improvement he's shown so far, saying, according to Marty Caswell, "He’s improved every day...I’ve been impressed - from a mental standpoint and more importantly from a physical standpoint"
Jared Gaither's injury concerns could land a spot on the roster for Mike Harris. He has a great chance at extending the Chargers seasons with an undrafted free agent making the roster.
After getting first-team reps and practicing at both the left and right tackle position, Mike Harris' name is becoming known around California.
Michael Hayes has been making a strong case to make the team. As mentioned earlier, Hayes is outplaying the other rookie running back, Edwin Baker.
Baker isn't the only player he's outplaying. Some say he is playing better than Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley. Hayes is "fast and tough to tackle," according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Undrafted RB Michael Hayes standing out early in camp. Breaks off pair of inside runs for long gain with second-team offense.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) August 2, 2012
Arthur Hobbs is another cornerback that is getting opportunities because of injuries. Unlike Gregory Gatson, Hobbs isn't getting first-team reps.
Hobbs will have a tough time making the team and with the other rookie cornerback outplaying him, his chances are very little.
Melvin Ingram could be the steal of the draft. When the Chargers saw him at No. 18, they didn't waste any time. The highest rated linebacker in the draft, Melvin Ingram landed in the right place. Big things are already being expected from Ingram.
He's already turning into a force on defense at camp. Not only is his physicality outrageous, his mental capacity is as well. Ingram is a player who recognizes plays and reacts quickly. His presence alone is going to wake up offensive lines.
Get ready to see Melvin Ingram this Thursday against the Packers.
The former Louisiana State quarterback is having a solid training camp. He's been getting a vast amount of reps and is capitalizing. Because of the injury to Charlie Whitehurst, Lee has been featured more at practice.
Although he's having a better camp than assumed, Jarrett Lee will more than likely end up not making the team.
David Molk is in a camp competition with fellow center Colin Baxter. Both of the players are splitting reps at backup center. Molk has been praised by coaches and teammates. Nick Hardwick said that he is "working his tail off" and is "very focused."
Only one center will be Nick Hardwick's backup. David Molk still has a shot at making the 53-man roster.
Phillip Payne is just like Jason Barnes. Both are extremely talented and very tall, but they just aren't doing enough to entice anyone. Payne joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV.
Simply put, Payne has no chance at making the roster unless his preseason is absolutely outstanding.
De'Andre Presley is having the same offseason as Arthur Hobbs. Both cornerbacks are competing for a roster spot. Their biggest chance is to excel in special teams.
Unless Antoine Cason and Michael Gilchrist sustain major injuries, Presley will not be needed.
The second-round selection by the Chargers is "coming along." Kendall Reyes has talent, but he needs time to grow.
He's getting better and better every day and with Corey Liuget sidelined a day last week, Reyes worked with the first team at defensive end.
If Liuget continues to get injured throughout the year, Kendall Reyes may see many opportunities.
Brandon Taylor needs experience. With veterans Eric Weddle and Atari Bigby, that's exactly what he's been getting. He's also received some first-team reps with Bigby missing practice. Taylor has a lot of talent and should be the Chargers' future strong safety.
As of now, he's on the road to success.
Johnnie Troutman is on the PUP. After having surgery on a torn pectoral muscle in April and injuring his left knee before that, Troutman will likely miss most of his rookie season.
He may be ready sometime during the year, but the Chargers will likely not call upon Troutman.
Mike Willie is the third rookie wide receiver. He's also 6'3'' like Barnes and Embree.
After missing most of last week with an injury, Willie returned to practice Monday. His grade is higher than Barnes for what he did at OTAs.
Michael Gehlken and Kevin Acee have Willie as their No. 4 player on their list of top undrafted rookies. Watch out for him this preseason.