Three bubble players ready to burst through

Training camp in San Diego will be brimming with competition. The Chargers have one of the deepest teams in the league, meaning several talented players will have to scrap for their roster spots. With camp now less than a month away, it is time to examine the bubble players with the best chances to stick.

Greg Camarillo beat the odds last season by making the team, getting activated for four games and registering three tackles on special teams. The odds are even more daunting this season, as the Chargers cut one receiver (Keenan McCardell) but drafted two more (Craig Davis and Legedu Naanee).

However, Camarillo is a difficult player to cut. He works hard, runs precise routes and may have the best hands on the team. His contributions on special teams are vital as well; as he hunts down kick returners like the paparazzi do Paris Hilton.

Another fringe player who will push for a roster spot is Kelly Griffeth. There are a couple of comparisons that come to mind when discussing Griffeth: Jason Peters of the Buffalo Bills and the Chargers' own Kris Dielman. Both Peters and Dielman played tight end in college before parlaying their aggressive blocking styles into starting roles on the offensive line.

Griffeth is a versatile player who could see time as an offensive tackle in elephant packages, or as a blocking tight end in short-yardage situations. No matter how he is deployed, such gritty individuals are hard to keep off the field.

A third player who could surprise by winning a roster spot is cornerback Gabe Franklin. Since signing with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2005, Franklin has done the one thing that all undrafted players strive to do: stick around.

Franklin (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) is undersized, but he makes up for it with quickness and anticipation. Also, his work ethic has wowed his coaches on every level.

"He has no problem on an island. He's very competitive and hardworking," said Franklin's secondary coach at Boise State, Marcel Yates.

Camarillo, Griffeth and Franklin have a lot working in their favor. Each is driven, semi-experienced and fortunate enough to be fighting for a winnable position. Although that may not keep these bubble players from seeing their NFL dreams burst, it is enough to earn them a long look and a fair shake - something all three will take full advantage of.


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