Every year, there are certain roster cuts on every team that are completely shocking. With new general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy, the Chargers are already a completely new team. 2009 was the last year San Diego won the AFC West. They had won four straight at that point. Currently, only 10 players remain on the roster from that season.
We've been accustomed to A.J. Smith and his decisions for years now, so when Telesco decides on the final 53-man roster, many may be surprised. So far, Telesco has done an outstanding job with the team. From the draft to free agency, the Chargers look poised for a great, comeback season.
Here are five players who are fighting to make the team.
Aubrayo Franklin and Antonio Garay have been the defensive tackles for the Chargers in recent years, and they both were fairly consistent. Garay had a great year in 2010 but has been slowed by injuries ever since. Franklin was a Charger for only one season but did a solid job in 2012. Garay is now with the New York Jets, and Franklin signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
The position now belongs to Cam Thomas, who has been on the team for three years now. Thomas will be given every opportunity to secure the starting spot during the season, but one player may have his number. Kwame Geathers was signed by the Chargers after the 2013 NFL Draft. He's by far one of the biggest players you will ever see. Geathers is 6'5'' and 342 lbs.
The dude is a monster.
Every year, the Chargers keep at least one undrafted free agent on the 53-man roster, and Geathers will be one of them. He has an enormous ceiling and should be an absolute steal for San Diego.
You had to know this one was coming. It's unusual to say, but the wide receiver position is the Chargers' deepest area. Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd will be the starters, with Vincent Brown and Keenen Allen behind them.
Both Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem seem to have no place on the roster. That is unless they'd like to use them primarily on special teams or when there are injuries. I would be very surprised if the Chargers keep both Meachem and Royal. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut both of them.
Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem have never been consistent players. They have made an enormous number of big plays in their careers but aren't worth the money they're due from the Chargers.
Don't count on Royal and Meachem being around come September.
Ryan Mathews, in only his fourth season, is facing a make-or-break season. He'll have a brand new offensive line and will be playing in a balanced system under Ken Whisenhunt, but he will still have to become a consistent runner to remain the Chargers' lead back.
Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown will play behind Mathews next season. Both players will primarily be used in the passing game or as backups. Woodhead doesn't have the ability to be an every-down back, and Ronnie Brown's prime has passed.
Will the Chargers only keep three running backs? Or will a fourth be kept?
Well, if more than three backs are kept, Michael Hill will be one of them. Hill runs a lot like Ryan Mathews but with less explosiveness. He has a strong work ethic, and his talent ceiling is enormous. Hill may be worthy of a roster spot, but it will be decided upon the number of running backs San Diego will keep.
From starting nine games in your rookie season after going undrafted to possibly being cut by the same team, Mike Harris is a player on the roster bubble. Harris had to fill in for the "injured" Jared Gaither multiple times in 2012, allowing him to sustain a roster position. Had the Chargers signed more depth at the left tackle position in free agency, Mike Harris would not be in San Diego today.
With Max Starks and King Dunlap at the position, the Chargers should not use a roster spot on Mike Harris. He did his best last year, but it just didn't cut it.
With Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem possibly being cut, a door may open to Dan DePalma.
According to the official Chargers website, DePalma has done an outstanding job so far in minicamp. He has incredible hands, which makes him a player worth keeping. If the Chargers cut Royal, DePalma will make the team. San Diego needs a slot receiver, and DePalma may be the next Wes Welker—who the Chargers cut.
Coaches are telling him to continue what he's doing, hinting at their intent to keep him. DePalma will most likely take Royal's spot, mainly based on price.