This position has been crucial throughout the team's history. They have had two of the greatest tight ends in NFL history in Kellen Winslow Sr. and Antonio Gates. Both players should have their numbers in the rafters.
It seemed like Hunter Henry would be the next big-time tight end for the Chargers, but management let him walk in free agency and sign with the New England Patriots. The Bolts then signed free-agent tight end Jared Cook. He happens to be a huge redzone target that quarterback Justin Herbert will look for any time they are in the red zone.
Lock: Jared Cook, Tre' McKitty, Donald Parham Jr.
On the bubble: Stephen Anderson, Matt Sokol, Hunter Kampmoyer, Matt Seybert
Three locks: It is straightforward why Cook and McKitty are locks. One is a player who was just signed and is talented that could help the offense. The other was just drafted in the third round to help the offense and possibly special teams. Parham was signed last season, and there was some hesitation to placing him on "lock," but he is a developmental player who took some positive strides in 2020. He practiced with Herbert last training camp, and they had good chemistry. Parham is around 6 ft 8 inches and blazing speed for his size, so offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will probably find different ways to use him this season.
Bubble: Anderson is one that is teetering from making the roster and on the bubble. He showed some positive strides last season, but it might come down to him versus Parham. He got better at blocking as the year progressed and even made some excellent plays in the season's final two games. Watch out for Kampmoyer because he is a former Oregon Duck and could have a connection with Herbert. It seems like the Bolts have one or two undrafted free agents, so he could be a guy to watch in training camp. Sokol has been here for a couple of seasons, so he will be looking to show the coaching staff he improved. Seybert was a Spring League player who signed with the Bolts in June, so he will be trying to make the roster.
Analysis: The Chargers weakest position may be the tight end spot. If Cook happened to be injured, they would not be in a good spot. They were rumored to be in the Zach Ertz sweepstakes before free agency started. They should look into it again if it is true. A team can never have too many weapons, especially with Herbert at quarterback. Having Cook and Ertz would improve their chances of making the playoffs. They could also be taking him away from an AFC opponent in Buffalo, who has been rumored to trade for him possibly. Ertz is an all-pro tight end who could be returning home and making an impact on and off the field.