COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers will cut their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here's a projection for the initial roster:
Jones outplayed fifth-round selection Easton Stick during preseason play. The Chargers could keep four quarterbacks if they do not want to risk losing Stick on waivers, but the North Dakota State product could pass through and be placed on the practice squad.
Expect Gordon to end his holdout in time to be on the Week 1 roster. Pope beats out Detrez Newsome here for the final running back spot.
FULLBACK: (1): Derek Watt
Watt appears fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery. His backup, Jeremy Cox, has a chance to make it on the practice squad.
Andre Patton has done enough during training camp and preseason play to make the team, but could be the odd man out with the recent addition of the veteran Inman.
Culkin has shown growth as a pass-catcher and run blocker in his third NFL season. The expectation is the Chargers will run more two-tight end sets this year partially due to Culkin's growth at the position.
Russell Okung likely begins the year on the non-football injury list due to the pulmonary embolism he suffered earlier this offseason, and does not count toward the 53-man roster. The Chargers also could look to add a veteran tackle during final roster cuts due to lack of depth at the position.
Undrafted rookie Chris Peace had a good camp and will likely be a practice squad addition if he clears waivers. Patrick Afriyie is a good special teams player and could make the final roster. Defensive line is one of the deepest groups on the Chargers' roster.
This group was one of the most competitive positions in camp. Nick Dzubnar and Kyle Wilson could make sense here because of their ability to play special teams. The Chargers want to make sure they have depth at this position because they ran out of healthy bodies last year.
James has to be on the active roster for 24 hours for the Chargers to place him on the injured reserve to start the season, so undrafted rookie Roderic Teamer Jr. could replace the Florida State product on the active roster if he clears waivers. At corner, Trevor Williams dealt with knee issues last season and has been limited during training camp, so he's the odd man out here. The Chargers have some versatility because Watkins can also play cornerback.
For a third straight season the Chargers mix things up with the specialists group, letting go of nine-year veteran long snapper Mike Windt in place of Mazza. The Chargers also added CFL standout Long, who specializes in directional kicks and can serve as the Bolts' kickoff specialist.