Putting an NFL roster together is like assembling a 53-piece puzzle without knowing what the final portrait is supposed to look like.
For Chargers new general manager Tom Telesco, he has the task of not just figuring out who the final 53 players will be, but also determining which eight additional players will be on the practice squad.
Even though the final cut date is more than a month away (August 31) and no preseason games have been played yet, the roster is already starting to take shape.
Obviously a lot of assumptions are being made as to how many of each position will be on the final 53. Assume each position will have a first- and second-string player, except fullback. That makes 43 players. Next, assume the team will keep three tight ends, four running backs and six wide receivers. That is 50 players. Add in a long snapper, kicker and punter, and you have a 53-man roster.
Teams are not allowed to put just anyone on the practice squad. As per the collective bargaining agreement, teams can only assign players to the practice squad if they have less than two years of practice squad experience and less than one year of an accrued NFL season (they have been on the active 53-man roster for less than nine games.)
The eight names expected to be on the practice squad will not include running back Ronnie Brown or wide receiver Robert Meachem because of those eligibility restrictions, no matter how much some fans want those two off the active roster.
So which eight will comprise the practice squad? Entirely filled with rookies, some names may be familiar to Chargers fans. There are also names of players who just missed the cut and will be, ultimately, cut from the Chargers.