Five Undrafted Free Agents Who Have A Chance

The Bolts can always count on an undrafted free agent making a contribution. Last year, it was Jyles Tucker (3.5 sacks, 2 FF, 1 TD). In 2007, it was Steve Gregory (12 tackles and a pass breakup). Who will emerge from this year's pack? Team expert Michael Lombardo breaks down the five leading candidates with the help of former pro scout Tom Marino.

1. Tyler Luellen, OT, Missouri – Luellen has a shot because he plays the thinnest position on San Diego's roster. However, he will have a hard time ousting seventh-round pick Corey Clark or holdover Tony Pape.

Former pro scout Tom Marino, who has more than 30 years experience in the league, says this of Luellen: "He Looks the part physically but is marginal in terms of athletic movement. He played rigid and lacks feet and body control. He had problems with speed out on the edge and with the quick inside counter. He's a try-hard kid."

Luellen will be joined in camp by fellow Missouri alum Greg Bracey. However, San Diego is loaded with talent at receiver, so Bracey will be fighting for game film or a possible spot on the practice squad.

2. Brian Bonner, S, TCU – The Chargers failed to land a safety in the draft, although the selections of Antoine Cason and DeJuan Tribble all but guaranteed Paul Oliver's move inside. Still, the Chargers have no true safeties behind Clinton Hart and Eric Weddle, as Oliver and Steve Gregory are both converted corners.

Bonner is a hard worker and a force on special teams, which will certainly help his chances. However, his limitations in coverage may remind the team a bit too much of Marlon McCree.

Here's what Marino has to say about Bonner: "He was used primarily as a nickel back and special teams player. He was also a steady punt returner. He is versatile and plays very hard, but does not have the hips or direction-change skills to factor as an inside cover guy. I don't see the speed and/or burst to run down the field with an inside receiver. You have to like his effort but his limitations are going to follow him to the next level."

3. Andrew Crummey, OG, Maryland – The Chargers re-signed backup guard Scott Mruczkowski to a new three-year contract earlier this offseason, but the Chargers can play the versatile Mruczkowski at center or tackle if Crummey (6'5", 301 pounds) wins a spot on the interior line.

Here is our scout's take on Crummey: "He is big, smart and experienced player with know-how. He comes out of a balanced stance (adequate on his get-off), but was not a consistent finisher. He is not a power player or mauler. His feet tended to stall on contact. In pass pro, I didn't think his feet were very quick. He played rigid and didn't get consistent lock-out. Overall, I didn't see special skills, but I believe he has shown enough good things to make a club in a backup role."

4. Eric Bakhtiari, OLB, USD – There is room for improvement behind Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. Marques Harris lacks the bulk to hold up against the run; Carlos Polk is a liability in coverage; and Jyles Tucker remains a question mark. Bakhtiari has the hustle and athleticism to surprise some people.

Here's how Marino views him: "He's a good looking athlete physically with range and playing toughness. He chases plays backside, showing no quit or lack of playing effort. He has good leverage and use of hands. He'll need to get stronger (doesn't play big), but he's a high-effort guy."

5. Lamar Divens, NT, Tennessee State – TSU drew unprecedented attention from scouts this offseason due to the presence of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. However, the Chargers were looking at more than Antonio Cromartie's cousin. Divens (6'3", 325 pounds) is the only player on the roster with the size and strength to push Brandon McKinney for the right to back up Jamal Williams.

The other defensive lineman to sign as an undrafted free agent, Central Florida's Keith Shologan (6'2", 287 pounds), is a former Canadian wrestling champion who plays with great leverage. However, his skills are still raw, so he's considered a practice-squad candidate at best.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.


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