Predicting the San Diego Chargers' 53-Man Roster

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystAugust 31, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 18:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers gestures to the sideline during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium on August 18, 2012 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 28-20.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

A.J. Smith and Norv Turner will huddle after the final preseason game and finalize the 53-man roster.

Every team will have to cut from 75 to 53 players on Friday, and the San Diego Chargers have plenty of difficult decisions to make.

A few players will rejoin the team on the practice squad after being released, but many others will be poached by other teams looking to improve their 53-man rosters.

The construction of the 53-man roster in San Diego is certainly unique in the AFC West and is probably one of the most interesting in all of football. 


Quarterbacks (2)

In: Phlip Rivers, Charlie Whitehurst

Out: Jarrett Lee (Practice Squad)

Nothing surprising at the quarterback position, and there's really no reason to keep three in San Diego. Lee will go to the practice squad to help the Chargers on the scout team. 


Running Backs (3)

In: Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley

Out: Jackie Battle, Edwin Baker (Practice Squad)

Mathews' injury might have saved Brinkley's spot on the 53-man roster. Battle had an opportunity to win a roster spot but has failed to impress. Brown looks like he has a few miles on his tires, and the Chargers have been resting him since Mathews went down.


Fullbacks (2)

In: Jacob Hester, Le'Ron McClain

McClain can help in the running game, and Hester knows Turner's system and contributes in several areas.


Wide Receivers (5*)

In: Robert Meachem, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal, Michael Spurlock, Richard Goodman

Injured Reserve: Vincent Brown

Out: Mike Willie (Practice Squad)

The NFL announced that each team will be allowed to place a player on injured reserve that can be activated in the same season. Brown is a good candidate for this distinction. 

Until Brown returns, it makes sense for the Chargers to keep Richard Goodman around for depth.


Tight Ends (4)

In: Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael, Dante Rosario, Ladarius Green

Out: Kory Sperry

The Chargers aren't going to subject Green to waivers and risk losing him to another team. That means keeping four tight ends. That would be unusual if the Chargers didn't use their tight ends so much in the passing game.


Offensive Linemen (9)

In: Jared Gaither, Nick Hardwick, David Molk, Rex Hadnot, Tyronne Green, Louis Vasquez, Mario Henderson, Jeromey Clary, Michael Harris

Out: Colin Baxter, Charlie Bryant, Anthony Davis, Stephen Schilling

The Chargers have to keep nine offensive linemen until they get clarity on Gaither's ailing back. Henderson can play on the right or left side, making him the ideal swing tackle.

Molk over Baxter is a tough call, but there is no reason to keep both players by trying to stash Molk on the practice squad.


Defensive Ends (4)

In: Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, Vaughn Martin, Jacques Cesaire

Out: Logan Harrell

Leaving Cesaire off the 53-man roster would leave the Chargers a little thin at defensive end if they have an injury. Liuget, Reyes and Martin will be in the primary rotation. 


Nose Tackles (3)

In: Antonio Garay, Cam Thomas, Aubrayo Franklin

Keeping three nose tackles is a product of the position being a key to the 3-4 defense. Garay is 32, so he could start to break down, and if so, the Chargers would need other options. Hard to imagine that Franklin was just a camp body, so if one of these players is getting cut, it's Thomas.


Outside Linebackers (5)

In: Melvin Ingram, Antwan Barnes, Larry English, Jarret Johnson, Shaun Phillips

Out: Ricky Elmore, Darryle Gamble 

English seemed to be on the bubble at the start of camp, but he's solidified his spot on the roster with a good preseason. The other plays were always virtual locks to make the 53-man roster.


Inside Linebackers (4)

In: Takeo Spikes, Donald Butler, Jonas Mouton, Demorrio Williams

Out: Bront Bird, Andrew Gachkar

Gachkar is a tough cut, but the Chargers can only carry so many linebackers. Gachkar's ability on special teams will make this a tough choice, and it wouldn't be surprising if he does stick at the expense of an older veteran.


Cornerbacks (4)

In: Antoine Cason, Quentin Jammer, Shareece Wright, Marcus Gilchrist

Out: Gregory Gatson, Arthur Hobbs, De'Andre Presley

The Chargers will be thin at cornerback and could sign a couple of players to the practice squad or find one on the waiver wire. At least the four players the Chargers will keep are capable of starting if the Chargers have an injury or two. 


Safeties (5)

In: Brandon Taylor, Eric Weddle, Atari Bigby, Darrell Stuckey, Corey Lynch

Out: Sean Cattouse

The lack of cornerbacks on the 53-man roster likely means the Chargers will keep an extra safety. Lynch is good on special teams and will be a good depth player for the Chargers.


Specialists (3)

Kicker: Nate Kaeding

Punter: Mike Scifres

Long Snapper: Mike Windt

Out: Nick Novak (K), Robert Malone (P)

The kicking competition wasn't much of a competition, and Kaeding easily won the job. 


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