The Chargers have a rich history of undrafted players making their 53-man roster. Usually, there is a player or two who stand out and make the squad. Some players, for example like tight end Antonio Gates, receiver Malcolm Floyd, and current running back Austin Ekeler.
This is a new coaching staff coming in, and it seems like new head coach Brandon Staley will be looking closely to see if there are any diamonds in the rough. During OTA’s and even mini-camp, he used both practice fields to give all 85 players a chance to show out.
The Chargers signed ten undrafted free agents, so here are three who could make the 53-man roster.
DL Forrest Merrill- Arkansas State
The Chargers have some holes on the defensive line, so they could have openings. Merrill is a big defensive tackle weighing in at about 340 pounds. He has a play shown below where he faces two Georgia offensive linemen, and they don’t get any push on him. He is a big defensive tackle that could help the Chargers defensive line improve.
They will be facing a lot of very good running backs and will need to get push upfront, which is an area Merrill could help. The question will be if he can impress over Christian Covington and other defensive tackles. Also, there still hasn’t been much said about how Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill will use their defensive tackles, so it is hard to guess.
Merrill collected 117 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks in his time at Arkansas State. If the defensive staff coaches him up, he could end up helping against the numerous talented running backs the Bolts will face this season.
LB Amen Ogbongbemiga- Oklahoma State
The young linebacker only started playing football a couple of years ago and should have been drafted but wasn’t. One of the ways he can make the roster will be by being an anchor in special teams.
Special teams coach Derius Swinton mentioned him during his press conference a couple of weeks back. He mentioned that Amen is a player he is looking at, especially because of his ability to play special teams. The Bolts have a bit of a crowd at the linebacker position, so Amen will need to be a team player and devote himself to working hard at special teams.
He is a stud player who in 2019 received the Leslie O’Neal award for the best defensive player after having 100 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks. (*Fun fact O’Neal played for the Chargers back in the late 80’s/early 90s) If given a chance, Amen could make some strides and get himself on the field as a linebacker.
K Alex Kessman- Pittsburgh
This one is obvious. The Chargers need a lot of help in special teams, whether it is coverage or kicking. Kessman will be competing with Michael Badgley and Tristan Vizcaino, which could go the distance until the day 53-man rosters are turned in.
Kessman is a kicker that has a big leg. In college, he made 12-18 kicks from 50-yards plus, which even includes a 58-yarder. The problem is that his mid-range game is below average, hitting 23-35, but he could improve, especially if he has help from an expert. Kessman will be in a dome stadium for half of the games, which could help him improve, but he will be facing a lot of competition.