San Diego Chargers: Predicting the Final 53-Man Roster

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San Diego Chargers: Predicting the Final 53-Man Roster
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We all make predictions, whether it's sports, politics or absolutely anything else, we all do it.

Why? Well, the feeling of being right, or even partially right, can be especially satisfying. So let's get on to one of my favorite predictions of the year: the 53-man roster.

Predicting the final 53-man roster is tough on account that it's, well, unpredictable. There are always those moves that we just can't predict.

I'll try my best anyways. 


 

OFFENSE

Quarterback (2)

1. Philip Rivers
2. Brad Sorensen

The Chargers will keep rookie Brad Sorensen, who was drafted in the seventh round this year. Sorensen has had a great preseason, completing 63 percent of his passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns through three games. His 114.4 quarterback rating is much higher than Charlie Whitehurst's 68.9 as well. 

 

Running Back (4)

Harry How/Getty Images

1. Ryan Mathews
2. Danny Woodhead
3. Ronnie Brown
4. Fozzy Whittaker

Barring injury, Mathews will serve as the every-down back for the San Diego Chargers. His excellent play this preseason has made Charger fans all excited once again to watch him out of the backfield.

Woodhead was brought in this offseason to fill the void that was left when Darren Sproles went to New Orleans in 2011. He should be a great addition to the offense as Rivers loves to check down to his running backs. Brown is the veteran of the backfield and his pass-blocking and pass-catching skills will earn him a spot on the roster.

Now for the surprise. Whittaker has absolutely played his way onto the Chargers' final roster. If Mathews does go down with an injury, Whittaker is capable of becoming the featured back with Woodhead and Brown primarily playing on passing downs.

 

Fullback (1)

1. Le'Ron McClain

Although McClain has been rarely used in the preseason, he will make the roster. His spot was at risk when the Chargers brought in Chris Gronkowski, but after Gronkowski was placed on injured reserve, McClain locked up a spot. 

 

Wide Receiver (5)

1. Malcom Floyd
2. Vincent Brown
3. Eddie Royal
4. Keenan Allen
5. Seyi Ajirotutu

Goodbye Robert Meachem and goodbye Richard Goodman. Both players are no longer needed in San Diego. Although the Chargers could easily keep more than five receivers, these two players aren't the ones. Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown will be Philip Rivers' favorite targets, with Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen contributing quite nicely throughout the season.

I also think that Seyi Ajirotutu will have a great season. His size at the position is highly needed. 

 

TE (3)

Harry How/Getty Images

1. Antonio Gates
2. John Phillips
3. Ladarius Green

Antonio Gates has been absolutely dominant since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2003, and it looks as if he's finally past the plantar fasciitis that troubled him last year.

John Phillips, who was brought in as a free agent this offseason, is not the No. 83 we all wish was in San Diego, but he's pretty good as well. His 6'5'', 251-pound frame makes him an ideal target in the middle of the field for Philip Rivers and the Charger offense.

And to top it all off, Ladarius Green will also be available. Green has been incredible this preseason, catching eight passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the team in all three major categories. Green also has the ability to play wide receiver, making it more likely for the Chargers to use him this season. 

 

Offensive Line (9)

LT: King Dunlap
LG: Chad Rinehart
C: Nick Hardwick
RG: Jeromey Clary
RT: D.J. Fluker

7. Michael Harris (T)
8. David Molk (C)
9. Johnnie Troutman (G)
10. Rich Ohrnerger (G)

The starting offensive line is set. King Dunlap will be the starting left tackle, leaving the Chargers with a decision to be made on Max Starks. Unless they want to test him at the right tackle position, thereby moving Fluker to right guard, there's no point in paying your backup tackle $2 million. Michael Harris is the better option in this situation. 


 

DEFENSE

Defensive Line (6)

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

DE: Corey Liuget, Kendall Reyes, Damik Scafe, Jarius Wynn.
DT: Cam Thomas, Kwame Geathers.

The defensive line may be one of the strongest areas for the Chargers in 2013. But that will be the case only if the starters are healthy. The drop off from Liuget and Reyes to Scafe and Wynn is tremendous. It's something the Bolts cannot afford.

 

Linebacker (10)

OLB: Dwight Freeney, Jarret Johnson, Thomas Keiser, Larry English, Tourek Williams.
ILB: Donald Butler, Manti Te'o, D.J. Smith, Andrew Gachkar, Bront Bird. 

On paper, the Chargers linebackers look phenomenal.

Well, their starters do at least.

A lineup of Dwight Freeney on one side and Jarret Johnson on the other, with standout Donald Butler and rookie sensation Manti Te'o in the middle is one for Charger fans to look forward to this season.

Thomas Keiser, Tourek Willams and Larry English should be viable backups though Melvin Ingram is out for most, if not all, of the season. The depth at inside linebacker could be better, but all three backups have talent and potential to produce. 

 

Cornerback (5)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

1. Derek Cox
2. Shareece Wright
3. Richard Marshall
4. Johnny Patrick
5. Marcus Cromartie

Wright, who missed six games in 2012, is the only returning cornerback for the Chargers. Cox was signed this offseason after spending his first four seasons in Jacksonville. Disregarding injuries, Cox is a definite improvement over Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer. He should be the best cornerback for San Diego since Antonio Cromartie in 2007.

Marshall, an eight year veteran, was just signed by the Chargers after being released by the Miami Dolphins. Patrick has performed very well this preseason. He's primarily played as the nickel cornerback, but after suffering two concussions in as many weeks, he may be off the field for a while.

That opens the door for Marshall, as well as Marcus Cromartie. Cromartie should make the team and solidify both the cornerback position and special teams unit.

 

Safety (5) 

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

FS: Eric Weddle, Darrell Stuckey, Jahleel Addae
SS: Marcus Gilchrist, Brandon Taylor

Led by the best safety in the NFL in Eric Weddle, the Chargers secondary will be much better than it was in 2012. Gilchrist has been moved to strong safety and could start alongside Weddle, unless Brandon Taylor secures the spot himself. Stuckey and Addae provide depth, but are mainly on the roster for their play on special teams. 


 

SPECIAL TEAMS 

Punter (1)

1. Mike Scifres

There is no surprise here. Scifres will be the punter for the Chargers for the 10th straight season. 

 

Placekicker (1)

Harry How/Getty Images

1. Nick Novak

The Nate Kaeding era is over. Nick Novak is now the full-time kicker. It's a definite drop-off from one of the best regular-season kickers ever, but Novak should do just fine.

 

Long snapper (1)

1. Mike Windt

After releasing David Binn last year, Mike Windt became the Chargers' new long snapper. It's tough to replace a player who played 256 games and 17 seasons in San Diego.

 

Kick Returner: Fozzy Whittaker

Punt Returner: Eddie Royal


 

Last Four to Make Roster

1. Rich Ohrnerger (G)
2. Marcus Cromartie (CB)
3. Thomas Keiser (OLB)
4. Fozzy Whittaker (RB)

 

First Four Players to be Released during Final Cutdown

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1. Max Starks (T)
2. Charlie Whitehurst (QB)
3. Robert Meachem (WR)
4. Richard Goodman (WR)

 

 Potential Practice Squad Players

1. Luke Tasker (WR)
2. Michael Hill (RB)
3. Nick Becton (T)

 

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