The San Diego Chargers conducted their first full pads training camp practice of the preseason in front of 3,000 excited Chargers fans on Saturday.
Fans lined up as many as four deep to get a glimpse of their favorite Chargers players. The entire viewing section surrounding the Chargers' three practice fields was packed with people sporting the powder blue, navy blue and gold colors of their beloved Bolts.
Seats in the bleacher viewing area were completely packed.
I arrived at Chargers Park before the massive line of fans (young and old) gathered outside the Chargers training facility were allowed to enter.
It gave me the chance to view some of the drafted rookies and undrafted free agents get some practice in before the first and second teams took the field.
I have to admit I was quite impressed with some of these young players and the amazing football potential they possess.
A few players that stood out were second-round draft pick (50th overall) defensive back Marcus Gilchrist and second-year wide receiver Bryan Walters.
Gilchrist delivered a vicious hit to Walters, who made an amazing catch from undrafted free agent rookie quarterback Scott Tolzien.
Tolzien has been getting extra time with the second team offense while Chargers backup quarterback Billy Volek (who tested the free-agent market) was finalizing a two-year contract that will keep him with the Chargers through the 2012 season.
Volek has been the Chargers backup quarterback for the last five seasons.
Sixth-round draft pick (183rd overall) running back Jordan Todman displayed some impressive skills running up the middle similar to another Chargers running back, the Human Bowling Ball, Mike Tolbert.
Another surprising and possible breakout star is third-round draft pick (82nd overall) wide receiver Vincent Brown (one-half of the V-Twins combo). Brown showed impressive route running skills, solid hands and the ability to make difficult catches.
With Malcom Floyd having departed, Brown could definitely contend with second-year man Seyi Ajirotutu for the third wide receiver spot.
Patrick Crayton was impressive as well, and looks to be the No. 2 wide receiver behind Vincent Jackson.
One of the biggest highlights of the afternoon came at 4 pm when practice began and Philip Rivers was announced. Thunderous applause and cheers greeted the Chargers quarterback as he trotted onto the field with the first-team offense.
Rivers looked composed and extremely well rested. The players-only workouts he scheduled during the lockout seemed to pay off.
The defense looked incredibly sharp under the direction of new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Manusky has taken command of a defense that was ranked first overall in 2010 and looks to keep the defense on top by instilling a solid skills and a hard work ethic.
One important player to keep an eye on is second-year linebacker Donald Butler, who lost the entire 2010 season after suffering an Achilles tendon injury during training camp last year.
Butler, a third-round draft pick in 2010, who was drafted to help bolster the Chargers linebacker corps, looked fresh with no lingering effects from the injury while participating in drills with the defense.
The Chargers will continue training camp on Sunday, that will be open to public again. Gates open at 3 pm and practice begins 4 pm and runs until 6 pm. Fans will have a chance to get autographs from some of the players once practice concludes.