Chargers' 53-man roster projection has three QBs and deep linebacker corp

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers open training camp July 25 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Here’s our projection for the 53-man roster heading into training camp.

QUARTERBACK (3): Philip Rivers, Tyrod Taylor, Easton Stick

In his third season with the team, backup quarterback Cardale Jones has to play well during the preseason to earn a roster spot over Stick, a fifth-round selection by the Chargers in this year’s draft. Taylor gives the Chargers insurance should the league’s most durable quarterback in Rivers succumb to injury.

RUNNING BACK (4): Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Detrez Newsome

Perhaps the deepest position on the roster, Gordon, supposing he doesn't go through with his holdout or trade demands, will once again serve as the team’s bell-cow running back. However, Coach Anthony Lynn wants to make sure that Gordon is fresh for another potential postseason run, which means Ekeler, Jackson and Newsome could get more touches earlier this season.

FULLBACK: (1): Derek Watt

The Wisconsin product is recovering from shoulder surgery, so his availability at the start of the season is a question mark. Jeremy Cox is the backup for Watt.

WIDE RECEIVER (5): Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, Geremy Davis, Artavis Scott

The Chargers will miss vertical threat Tyrell Williams, who signed with the Oakland Raiders in free agency. However, Mike Williams will fill the void. Benjamin should be more involved in the offense and Davis showed improvement last season. Scott has ability to make plays after the catch.

TIGHT END (3): Hunter Henry, Virgil Green, Sean Culkin

A year removed from ACL knee surgery, Henry performed well during offseason work and appears ready to resume his role as the team’s No. 1 pass-catching tight end. While currently not on the roster, the Chargers have not closed the door on a possible return of Antonio Gates.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Russell Okung, Dan Feeney, Mike Pouncey, Michael Schofield, Sam Tevi, Forrest Lamp, Scott Quessenberry, Trent Scott, Trey Pipkins

The uncertain health status of Okung heading into training camp is a major concern for the Chargers, particularly because of the inexperience behind the Oklahoma State product at the tackle position. Feeney and Lamp will compete for time at left guard.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8): Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Brandon Mebane, Justin Jones, Jerry Tillery, Damion Square, Isaac Rochell, T.Y. McGill

The Chargers have perhaps the best pass-rushing edge duo in the NFL in Bosa and Ingram. Tillery, a first-round selection in this year’s draft out of Notre Dame, should help push the pocket as an interior pass rusher in obvious passing situations.

LINEBACKER (7): Denzel Perryman, Thomas Davis, Uchenna Nwosu, Kyzir White, Drue Tranquill, Jatavis Brown, Nick Dzubnar

Due to a lack of depth at the end of the season last year at this position, the Chargers predominantly played seven defensive backs in the postseason. So expect the Bolts to keep an overflow of linebackers this year to protect from a repeat of that happening in 2019.

SAFETY (5): Derwin James, Adrian Phillips, Nasir Adderley, Rayshawn Jenkins, Jaylen Watkins

Expect to see James even more at the line of scrimmage with the Chargers selecting rangy free safety Adderley in the second round of this year’s draft. Jenkins had a good offseason and will compete for playing time at free safety with Adderley.

CORNBERBACK (5): Casey Hayward, Michael Davis, Trevor Williams, Desmond King, Brandon Facyson

After hobbling through 2018 with a balky knee, Williams looks healthy and will compete for the starting cornerback job with Davis, while King is one of the best slot defenders in the NFL.

SPECIALIST(3): Michael Badgley, Ty Long, Mike Windt

The Chargers finally found a consistent kicker in Badgley, who made 15 of 16 field goals last season, including a franchise-best 59 yarder.