Depth could lead to a surprise cut, Part II

Depth is a cherished commodity, one that makes life easier for coaches and general managers. In fact, the only anti-depth member of the football world is the Turk, who hates telling talented football players: "The coach wants to see you…and bring your playbook." The Turk is in for another unpleasant fall in San Diego, as he may have to send home one of the team's draft picks.

Legedu Naanee, a fifth-round pick from Boise State, will need a strong training camp and preseason to earn a roster spot. It is not a lack of talent that will lead to his downfall, rather a lack of opportunity. Naanee projects as no better than the No. 6 wide receiver and will have a difficult time earning snaps at a loaded tight end position.

It is hard to fathom Naanee suffering from a lack of opportunity, since Norv Turner has been designing special plays for him throughout the offseason. However, Naanee has his work cut out for him if he hopes to be active on game days.

"The big challenge for (Naanee) will be when the pads get on and he's doing some of the protection stuff, some of the run blocking. If he can do that we'll be able to get him involved in the passing game," Turner said.

But if Naanee is activated and added to the pass-catching arsenal, whose spot will he take? Vincent Jackson, Eric Parker, Craig Davis and Malcom Floyd are locked into the top four spots, respectively. Kassim Osgood is guaranteed to be active as well because of his contributions on special teams.

If the team decides to keep six receivers, Greg Camarillo may have the inside track on that final position. Although he lacks the size and athleticism of Naanee, Camarillo has better hands, runs precise routes and excels on special teams. Since the No. 6 receiver is unlikely to do more than cover kicks, it is hard to argue that Naanee is more qualified for the job.

Of course, Naanee can contribute as a tight end as well. Unfortunately, that position is just as loaded. Antonio Gates, Brandon Manumaleuna and Scott Chandler are locked into the top three spots, and if the team keeps a fourth it may very well be blocking specialist Kelly Griffeth.

Still, Naanee does not appear too worried about life on the bubble.

"It takes a lot of stress off knowing that Coach Turner is designing different packages for me. I think he wants to move me around and try to create some mismatches," Naanee said.

The odds still favor Naanee making the roster, which would mean Greg Camarillo gets released and Scott Chandler is inactive on game days. However, at least one draft pick has failed to make the active roster every year since 2003. Don't assume that streak is over just yet.

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