Bolts Pick Versatile, Imbalanced Roster

The San Diego Chargers made a flurry of roster moves this weekend to pare their roster down to 53 players. The final result left the team with 29 players on defense and 21 on offense, an imbalance that may not last until the regular season.

The Chargers released 23 players on Saturday. Among those getting cut were two veterans (Josh Reed and Nathan Vasher); two draft picks (Jonathan Crompton and Dedrick Epps); and a couple rookie standouts, namely receivers Jeremy Williams and Seyi Ajirotutu.

Among those making the cut were WR Patrick Crayton, who was acquired in exchange for a conditional draft pick on Friday, and CB Fred Bennett, who was claimed off waivers on Tuesday.

Crayton represents the latest attempt to offset the absence of Vincent Jackson, as the experiment with Reed fizzled. Crayton will compete with Buster Davis to be the team's third receiver. Crayton has at least 35 receptions in each of the last four seasons, while Davis has less than 35 receptions in his entire three-year career.

It's interesting that a couple months ago, the Chargers signed Reed and Tra Thomas to prepare for the holdouts of Jackson and Marcus McNeill. Now, neither Reed nor Thomas is on the roster. Thomas' retirement last month opened the door for undrafted rookie Ryan Otterson to make the team. He and LB Brandon Lang were the only two undrafted players to survive the final round of cuts.

Lang is probably safe, although Otterson's spot appears tenuous, as the Chargers will be on the lookout for veteran depth at offensive tackle.

Of course, the Chargers could elect to release a defensive player to make room for help on the O-line. San Diego kept eight more players on defense than offense, an imbalance that would be tough to maintain throughout the regular season. But in the meanwhile, it provides the team stellar depth at all three levels of the defense.

Ron Rivera was able to hold onto fringe players like Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Dante Hughes. The team also kept developmental players such as Vaughn Martin, Lang and Brandon Hughes. James Holt and C.J. Spillman, both of whom made the team as undraftred free agents last season, successfully defended their roster spots.

What did you think of San Diego's roster moves? Discuss in the message boards.

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. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories