Chargers Looking For Depth

There is an old adage in football that goes a little something like this: while it is hard for a team to go from bad to good, it is even harder to go from good to great. The Chargers are preparing to undertake the latter of those challenges this season, but they would like to add some talented young depth to their offensive line before they do.

Michael Roos is used to taking on new challenges. While a football player overcoming adversity is hardly a fresh story, this one comes with a twist. Roos did not have to adjust to a new line coach or a new position; he had to adjust to life in a new country. Up until 1992, he lived a life of poverty in Estonia.

"My parents had just gotten divorced a couple years earlier," recalled Roos, remembering the time prior to the move. "My mom was raising three kids- my older brother, me and my younger sister- by herself and really couldn't have provided much for us there. So her sister, my aunt, already was living in the States. She kind of helped bring us over and give us a better life."

After arriving in the United States, Roos did not start playing football until his senior year of high school. Even then he played tight end and wide receiver. After being recruited to Eastern Washington University, he began his collegiate career on the defensive line before eventually finding a home as an offensive tackle. It was here that he realized he might have a future in the game of football.

"I started playing against better competition and started realizing it could happen," Roos said. "Then coach (Paul) Wulff telling me I have potential and he believed in me helped a lot. Then as the season progressed and at the end of the season it really became evident."

Even after proving to himself that he could hold his own against the best the college game had to offer, he knew that he would have to continue improving if he were maintain his success on professional level. The Chargers rely on the run to set up everything in their offense, and so Roos would have to improve his power and in-line blocking to crack their starting line-up.

Other prospective buyers of Roos' draft stock have already made it clear to him what he needs to work on this off-season. "I need to get stronger and probably put on a little more weight," acknowledged Roos. "I'm athletic enough. Upside is the big word that everybody uses."

His upside is easy to see, as not many men who are over six-and-a-half feet tall and weigh 320 lbs. possess the kind of athleticism shown by Roos. He also has quick feet and good agility, which will allow him to play either tackle position on the pro level. If it were not for the fact that he played at Eastern Washington, not exactly a hotbed for NFL draft activity, he may have gotten even more recognition. This, however, was not something he allowed himself to worry about.

"The whole time I was just trying to play football," Roos said. "Just do the best I could do and kind of hope somebody sees me and notices I can play."

With draft day nearing, it is safe to say he has been noticed. The Chargers are known for finding offensive lineman in the middle rounds, so he is likely on their radar. Although the Chargers do not have a third-round pick, they have two first-round selections and few glaring needs, so they could be frequent movers up and down the draft board. Should they find Roos available at a spot they like, they would have a great chance to steal a player who could definitely help them keep moving up.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at

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