Charles vs. Osgood

The fight for the fifth wide receiver spot should be exciting. The prospects of a potential red zone threat makes ones mouth water. Fade route to the back of the end zone…touchdown! Kassim Osgood or was that Terry Charles! Who cares, the San Diego Chargers take a huge lead! They care…

Terry Charles spent last season on injured reserve. A fifth round pick out of Portland State in 2002, Charles impressed the coaching staff early on and it would be safe to say he would have been cemented in the lineup if he stayed healthy. Instead he will face some hefty competition.

Kassim Osgood was disappointed that he did not get drafted, but had prepared himself for that scenario after a painfully slow 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combines. He was in San Diego with friends watching the festivities at a barbecue.

"I'm pretty surprised that I was able to stay in San Diego," he said. "They said they're looking for me to come in and battle for the backup position to David Boston. I'm just anxious to get into camp and prove I can make the team."

It is nice to see the role was defined, although one can envision the "big" formation down around the end zone.

Charles was a three-year starter for Portland State and finished his collegiate career as the holder of seven school records, including most touchdown catches in a season and a career, most 100-yard receiving games and most 200-yard performances. He ranked second on the Vikings' career record list with 3,155 yards receiving and third with 180 catches. As a senior eading the Big Sky in receptions (71) and yards (1,096) per game. He ranked 10th in the nation at the 1-AA level in receptions and 13th in receiving yards.

Charles impressed the scouts as he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and performed well in all drills during workouts before the draft.

A long-striding wide receiver who is an excellent downfield route runner, Charles is known for being able to go up high for balls, make big plays and having great hands in close quarters.

Charles suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament against Eastern Washington in 2000 costing him the rest of that season and hurt his knee again in 2002 tearing the same ligament just a week after the Draft. The Chargers put him on injured reserve for the year after he impressed during the first weekend of workouts.

"It's really unfortunate because he was doing quite well," said Marty Schottenheimer.

"I'll be back,'' was all Charles could say at the time. And he is. Charles will essentially be making his first impression again.

Kassim Osgood, meanwhile, only had 108 receptions for 1,552 yards with eight touchdowns playing for SDSU. His senior year brought his NCAA-record setting combination with fellow receiver JR Tolver for 236 receptions and 3,337 yards.

One thing to remember is Oz played just two games in his junior season before transferring from Cal-Poly to San Diego State.

A lot has been made of his slow 40 times, and that is among the reasons he dropped out of the draft. A good 40 could have catapulted Osgood into the top three rounds. One thing that is overlooked is he ran a 4.49 just before the season began in campus agility tests.

No matter what the real numbers are he gets open with regularity. There is no other way to explain 108 receptions. Couple those numbers with his height and the Chargers may have a steal. The two are very similar players as Osgood also has solid hands and will go up for a ball in a crowd.

"People might see you and think you're a rookie free agent and you didn't get drafted, so maybe you're not that good," Osgood said. "They might assume you have a little more to prove than some of the other players. But once you get out there and demonstrate your skills, their doubts are quickly silenced."

Charles must prove he can stay healthy through the preseason and he must continue to impress as Osgood offers the same size (actually a bit taller), without the health concerns.

They both have something to prove. Charles is looking to dispel the demons creating from injury and justify his fifth round selection last year. Osgood is attempting to make everyone forget about 40 times and look at his play on the field. He has a chip on his shoulder from not getting drafted.

This tantalizing battle could come down to the final week before the regular season begins.

It is hard to get an accurate handle on this battle. Osgood has ties to the community and is a fan favorite to make the squad. Charles was a fifth round pick, and money has been invested in him in a three year deal he signed last July.

The bet is it comes down to who catches the most touchdowns. Another option is always welcome and the Chargers should be in position to score often.

Barring injury, whoever gets put on the practice squad will be picked up quickly by another team. Can anyone see Jacksonville, searching for an option next to Jimmy Smith taking a flyer on one of these guys?

We lay the odds on Osgood to win the battle. He does not pose as big an injury concern in the future and is a local hero; a little PR the Chargers might need, especially if the 90 day window expires.

Not only that but he is a talent that has been scouted heavily and the Chargers feel that they have a known commodity having seen him over the last year, something that cannot be said about Charles.

Did you know?

Terry Charles was featured in ESPN the Magazine by Mel Kiper Jr. as a "Late Bloomer" for the NFL draft.

Did you also know?

Kassim Osgood was listed as the most underrated player in the country at his position by The NFL Draft Report.

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