Predicting San Diego Chargers' Training Camp Standouts
Training camp for the San Diego Chargers begins this week, and it shouldn't be long until standouts emerge from practices.
The following players have been included in this list because they exhibit qualities that should get them noticed at Chargers Park. More than a few were rookies last season, and in the limited snaps given to them, they flashed. So much so that they got us talking about what Year 2 has in store for them. And for the players on this list entering their very first year, they were selected based on how they performed last season in college.
So, here are five players expected to be standouts in training camp.
Perhaps the most anticipated performance at camp will be that of Gordon, who, along with Todd Gurley, helped end a three-year drought of running backs not selected in the first round. The Chargers traded away multiple picks to move up two slots and take Gordon with the 15th pick, and it seems almost certain that he will be given the chance to lead San Diego's stable of running backs.
According to Eric Williams of ESPN.com, Gordon looked the part in offseason workouts and is one of two rookies in line to start next season. How he fares in camp will be a good indicator of whether he's ready to take on the duties of a bell-cow back. The Chargers plan to use multiple backs next season, but Gordon has the potential to grow into a featured starter.
Now that his dodgeball days are behind him, Perryman can resume his quest to become a starter on the Chargers defense. As Chris Wesseling of NFL media hinted in this piece, Perryman will be competing with Donald Butler and Manti Te'o for one of two spots at inside linebacker.
But even if Perryman doesn't win a starting job in camp, he'll still be in line for ample playing time as part of a rotation. San Diego didn't have a pressing need for an inside linebacker going into the draft, but Perryman's physical demeanor was too good to pass up as GM Tom Telesco looked to bring in players fitting of the hammer theme. Miami's big-hitter will reveal his true self as soon as the pads come on during camp.
A confident Attaochu arrived to rookie minicamp last year with the intention of becoming an amazing player and a fixture of the Chargers defense for years to come, per Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune,
However, despite an impressive debut in Week 1, he spent a good chunk of his first season nursing an injured hamstring. The career sacks leader at Georgia Tech missed five games due to injury and finished with just two sacks, but now is as good a time as any for him to be that amazing player he said he would be.
The Bolts saw two veterans at outside linebacker depart in the offseason in Dwight Freeney and Jarrett Johnson, and that has Attaochu primed for a starting role alongside the injury-prone Melvin Ingram. He'll get reps with the first team in camp, which should give him the opportunity to shine before the season starts.
Carrethers was a late bloomer in 2014 as he needed more time than most learning the playbook, which ended up costing him the first three games of the season. Once he settled in, it was easy to see why the Arkansas State product had gotten the attention of the Chargers in last year's draft. His strength at the point of attack was difficult to contend with and made run blocking a pain for interior offensive linemen.
Definitely going into that first Chiefs game I could tell I found my element. I found myself. I discovered the technique that works for me, and I felt myself building week to week. I put a lot of work into studying my technique and leverage, and trying to gain a better understanding of the game. That kind of improvement only comes over time with repetition.
But before Carrethers was able to capitalize on those gains, his season was ended by a dislocated elbow with seven games left on the schedule. Assuming he can come back healthy for his sophomore season, Carrethers should be able to pick up where he left, and that could start as early as camp.
Like Carrethers, Verrett also had his progress impeded by injury, only his came sooner. The 2014 first-round pick suffered a torn labrum five games into his rookie season and still managed to play the first half of the next game before shutting it down for the rest of the year.
In the games he did play, however, Verrett showed a lot of potential as a starter despite the knock on him about his size.
As Michael Gehlken pointed out in a recent article for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Verrett is "an obvious candidate for the Chargers' top breakout player of 2015" and "health is all that separates him from establishing himself as a true shutdown corner."
Such high praise can only be validated with a fitting performance, which Verrett is no doubt capable of but requires more than six games to accomplish. He should be mostly, if not fully, healed by the start of camp, and that should allow him to be one of the early standouts.