UFA IMPACT REPORT #2

After several weeks of watching camp and one scrimmage against Seattle, there are several undrafted rookies that are making a name for themselves. Let's take a look at who is making the biggest push to make this San Diego Chargers roster.

1. Phil Bogle-G/T Did I say making a push? Well, that is exactly what Phil is doing thus far in camp. He has shown that he is versatile, playing both guard and tackle positions. He displays very quick feet for a big man and does not lunge to make his blocks. He also has some fire and attitude. Who can recall him pumping his fists and shouting as he pushed aside Marcellus Wiley during the Oklahoma drill at Fan Fest? He is almost a lock to make this team.

2. Omari Hand-DE He played the Seattle game with a reckless abandon. Not quitting and making plays on the opposite side of the field will get the coaches attention during film sessions. At 6'3" 270 he has the right combination of size and speed that you look for in a Defensive End. Omari was also one of the stronger DE's coming out of the draft putting up 225lbs. an impressive 34 reps.

3. Nick Maddox-RB Nick made the most of his opportunity during his first NFL action. Rushing for a team high 72 yards. He also catches the ball well coming out of the backfield which is something that most backs don't always do coming right out of college. One area that he needs to improve is shedding would be tacklers. But, as long as he can get into the open field, he should have success at the next level. Another positive is that he can also return kickoffs.

4. LaMarcus McDonald-OLB Too slow in the 40. Too light to play at the next level. I am sure that LaMarcus has heard it all before and I am sure that he uses it to his advantage. Coming into the draft, he was rated high on some boards and low on others. The bottom line is that he is a true competitor in the sport of football. He plays the game like it should be, with his mind and with his heart.

5. Antonio Gates-TE Antonio ranks this high because in my opinion he has improved the most since camp began. He was also the biggest unknown to the average Charger fan. That hasn't stopped him from getting better each and every day. Even though it is still early, he has already made some acrobatic catches and crushing blocks that aren't going unnoticed. A prototypical TE, at 6'4" 260, it will be exciting to watch just how far he can come.

6. Kassim Osgood-WR Kassim would have been ranked higher at this point if it wasn't for his thumb injury. He had been separating himself from the rest of the WR pack in the battle for the #5 position. He is another player that experienced the let down of the draft because he was too slow in the 40 and could not get off the line. Well the Chargers will be the last ones laughing when he puts it all together on the field.

7. Mackenzie Hoambrecker-K There is just something about this kid that tells me he has what it takes to play at the next level. In case you haven't noticed, most of the more accurate kickers in the league are lefties. He has shown very good accuracy from 50 yards and in to this point in practice, now let's see how he handles the pressures of a game situation.

8. Brian Sump-WR/KR He made a rookie mistake trying to field a punt on a bounce in the Seattle game. He should have known better, but had he scooped it up and gone for 30 we would have been a little more forgiving. Brian is a smarter player than that and he will bounce back and prove it before this preseason is over. However, he is going to have to make some big plays to make this team.

9. Kris Dielman-DE/DT Yes he rolled an ankle and had to leave the game, but he has also shown some flexibility to his game by playing both DT and DE in practice. The coaches love his size (6'4" 310) and his motor. He is still new to playing D-line having played TE for half of his college career. Based on that alone, I would say that he has a major upside. Let's just hope that it's with the Chargers.

10. Grant Mattos-WR Surprised? I thought so. So am I. The first time that I took a look at Grant in practice I thought he better enjoy this while it lasts. After one game, he is the leading scorer on this team. One thing that he will give you is effort on every down that he plays. Whether it is blocking, which he does very well, or running his routes all out even if he is the #4 or #5 option in the pattern. Will he make this team? Stick around.

Kenny Williams can be reached at kennay_28@yahoo.com

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