RB Marcus Thomas
General Manager A.J. Smith's logic was clear: He lost a running back (Turner) and a fullback (Lorenzo Neal), so he drafted a running back (Thomas) and a fullback (Jacob Hester). However, with Hester spending the majority of his time at halfback, Thomas' search for playing time has become increasingly daunting.
Hurting Thomas' odds all the more is the development of undrafted rookie FB Mike Tolbert, who has wowed coaches this off-season and has emerged as a serious candidate to stick on the active roster. In that scenario, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Hester would play halfback, while Andrew Pinnock and Tolbert man the fullback slots.
Thomas will still likely make the active roster, mainly because he wouldn't last long on the practice squad before being snatched up by a more needy team, but he is hardly a lock at this juncture.
CB DeJuan Tribble, Sixth Round, Boston College
CB DeJuan Tribble
The top-four cornerback slots are locked up: Antonio Cromartie, Quentin Jammer, Antoine Cason and Cletis Gordon. The top-four safety positions also seem secure: Clinton Hart, Eric Weddle, Paul Oliver and Steve Gregory. The ninth spot, if the team chooses to keep that many DBs, is Tribble's to lose.
Working against Tribble is the versatility of the players in front of him. Oliver and Gregory can play safety and cornerback, which could make Norv Turner comfortable keeping only eight DBs. On the other hand, Tribble's raw talent and special-teams skills make it easy to justify spending a roster spot on him.
It's easy to envision the Chargers putting Tribble on the practice squad to make room for another linebacker or defensive lineman; nonetheless, a team planning to compete with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts can never have enough quality cornerbacks.
OT Corey Clark, Seventh Round, Texas A&M
OT Corey Clark
San Diego's starting five is all set and the team has veteran backups in place at every position: Shelton at tackle; Scott Mruczkowski at guard; and Jeremy Newberry and Cory Withrow at center.
With so much veteran talent on hand, Clark will likely have to spend his rookie season on the practice squad and work his way up, much as Jeromey Clary has done over the last two seasons. Clark will battle fellow practice-squad candidate Tyler Luellen for the right to called "next in line."
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.