Three Months & Counting: Depth Chart Picks

Now that the Chargers have established the roster they will bring into August, it's time to take a look at which players will actually make it out of training camp. Team expert Michael Lombardo lays out a projected depth chart, which is without one of the team's draft picks and one current defender who started 16 games last season.

As far as Norv Turner's task as Turk is concerned, this year should be easier than most. He has at least 45 players who must be considered locks to make the roster, a rare luxury that comes with returning 20 of 22 starters from last season.

The toughest choices will come on defense, where there is excessive depth at linebacker and in the secondary. The depth chart below has the Chargers keeping 10 linebackers, and that doesn't account for Stephen Cooper, who will not occupy a roster spot during his four-game suspension to start the season.

The Bolts also face some tough choices in the secondary, where keeping sixth-round pick DeJuan Tribble could come at the expense of either Cletis Gordon or Steve Gregory. Both third-year players have shown marked progress, which has the team reluctant to give up on them. This projection has San Diego keeping all three players, which would put an unwieldy 19 players in the defensive back eight.

Promising players like WR Malcom Floyd and OT Tony Pape, both of whom have been scrapping for years to earn a permanent spot on the roster, appear destined to be caught in a numbers game.

Active Roster

QB: Philip Rivers, Billy Volek, Charlie Whitehurst
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Marcus Thomas
FB: Andrew Pinnock, Jacob Hester
LT: Marcus McNeill
LG: Kris Dielman, Scott Mruczkowski
C: Nick Hardwick, Cory Withrow
RG: Mike Goff
RT: Jeromey Clary, L.J. Shelton
TE: Antonio Gates, Brandon Manumaleuna, Scott Chandler
WR: Chris Chambers, Buster Davis, Legedu Naanee
WR: Vincent Jackson, Eric Parker, Kassim Osgood

DE: Luis Castillo, Jacques Cesaire
NT: Jamal Williams, Brandon McKinney
DE: Igor Olshansky, Ryon Bingham
OLB: Shawne Merriman, Jyles Tucker, Carlos Polk
ILB: Matt Wilhelm, Brandon Siler
ILB: Derek Smith, Anthony Waters, Tim Dobbins
OLB: Shaun Phillips, Marques Harris
CB: Antonio Cromartie, Antoine Cason, DeJuan Tribble
CB: Quentin Jammer, Cletis Gordon
SS: Clinton Hart, Paul Oliver
FS: Eric Weddle, Steve Gregory

K: Nate Kaeding
P: Mike Scifres
LS: David Binn


ILB Stephen Cooper

Practice Squad

OT Corey Clark
FB Mike Tolbert
WR Gary Banks
DE Andre Coleman
DE Keith Grennan
OLB Eric Bakhtiari
SS Tra Battle
K/P Billy Vinnedge

What is your take on this projection?

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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the 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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