Do they really have a chance?

The San Diego Chargers added twenty-six undrafted free agents the day after the Draft. Looking around the NFL, the Bolts added more than any team. Does this give more a legitimate shot? Before we get into who will make the team we have some preliminary work to do.

Fifty-nine rookies who were not drafted made opening-day rosters a year ago. Forty-three undrafted free agents were considered starters. Of the 262 players drafted, 43 were not at the Combine.

Let's take a look at the roster.

Addition vs. Subtraction

First we must calculate how many roster spots are available to these rookie free agents. Without that knowledge speculation will quickly come to an end. The final roster consists of 53 players. That is known. Five players go to the practice squad.

The Chargers currently have 62 players on their roster, NOT including any of the undrafted free agents.

Breaking that down further by position and who is likely to stay we find there are:

Punters- 2

Odds are unlikely that two punters will be kept on the roster. Spending a 5th round pick on a player pretty much ensured that. Plus, Mike Scifres can kickoff, an added benefit. We may see the end of Darren Bennett.


Kickers- 1

This spot better be up for grabs…


Long Snapper- 1

Quarterbacks- 4

One quarterback is camp fodder, another is over in NFL Europe. Neither are locks to make the team come fall.


Running Backs- 2

LT is the only sure bet here. Chatman was a free agent pickup last year. He will have to prove himself again.


Fullbacks- 3

Goodspeed could be on the block. He has played well on special teams, but the team needs a blocking back who can take over in short yardage. Pinnock was a 7th round draft pick and will have to fight it out with some new additions. -2

Wide Receivers- 7

Tough to call this spot. Only three are locks at this time due to money and time. Parker, Charles, Gilliam and Baker all have to fight it out with the new recruits.


Tight Ends- 3

Injury concerns and height have hurt Norman, and Peelle is a blocking tight end. One will stay.


Centers- 3

No room at the office here Dr. Jones. Even if one goes, there is no room for more.


Guards- 4

Three stay, one goes to the bubble. Backups on the offensive line are valuable, the Chargers found that out last season.


O-Tackles- 3

This position is as-is. Take it, since you cannot leave it. More players will be added here from the undrafted, Hudson Houck will see to that.

Defensive Ends- 4

Three positions here are set in stone for the year, although a surprise could happen June 1st…


DT's- 6

Who said we needed a defensive tackle! We have six of them! Two spots appear up for grabs here. Pospisil has yet to make an impression worthy enough to keep him and there is sure to be open competition for the other spot.


Linebackers- 6

With Ruff and Seau gone it is likely one spot remains up for grabs as they addressed one spot with the addition of Wilhelm.


Cornerbacks- 8

No room at the inn. Even if two spots are gone, six is likely all they will carry on the regular roster, not a good sign for the one undrafted rookie brought in.


Safeties- 5

Another position with little room to expand. Take out Ligon, the NFL Europe trainee.


Total roster spots that need further evaluation: -20

62-20= 42 spots are all but guaranteed leaving 11 spots up in the air potentially, and then five get added to the practice squad. Potentially being the key here. There are players who have contributed in the past that need to be unseated. Eight rookies from the Draft, most of which have been included in the 42, although a few may have to fight for a roster spot. The numbers crunch is on.

Positions not holding any auditions for new blood from the undrafted include safety, punter, cornerback, center and long snapper. Every other position has a chance, even if it is ever so slight a chance to bring in an undrafted rookie free agent to compete.

So who has the best chance? Find out in the coming days as we take an early look at the breakdown of each position including some interesting subplots from players who will make the roster.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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