SAN DIEGO -- Here are some thoughts on the San Diego Chargers after watching the fourth of the team's 10 organized team activities on Monday.
Tight ends impress: With Antonio Gates not attending offseason workouts, Ladarius Green benefited by getting the lion’s share of the reps with the starters. Green did not disappoint, making three touchdown catches in red zone work and another nice play on a crossing route in team drills. Also, a member of San Diego’s practice squad last season, University of Oregon product David Paulson also had two touchdown catches in red zone work. A seventh-round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 draft, Paulson was added to the practice squad in November last season after the Steelers waived him during final roster cuts. At 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds, Paulson projects as more of a movement tight end, so when training camp opens he’ll have to prove he can contribute as a blocker in the run game.
The rebirth of Donald Brown: Chargers general manager Tom Telesco’s top free agent addition in 2014, Brown averaged a disappointing 2.6 yards per carry last season. However, on Monday Brown appeared more explosive through the hole and on outside runs. Perhaps Brown dealt with some nagging injuries last season that limited his production, but so far he looks like the runner who averaged 5.3 yards per carry for the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.
Crawford’s big play: There’s another San Diego native in the Chargers’ secondary that’s making plays. No, we’re not talking about safety Jimmy Wilson, who appears to be making the adjustment to a new team well. Richard Crawford of Oceanside’s El Camino High intercepted a Brad Sorensen pass and took it back for a touchdown. Crawford’s play brought everyone from the defensive sideline over to the end zone to congratulate him. Also, recent free agent addition Patrick Robinson is working as the slot defender when San Diego goes with five defensive backs.
King Dunlap is back: With Dunlap back at offseason workouts playing left tackle, D.J. Fluker moved back at right tackle, with Orlando Franklin at left guard, Trevor Robinson at center and Johnnie Troutman at right guard. Joe Barksdale played right tackle with the second unit, with Chris Hairston at left tackle, Kenny Wiggins at left guard, Chris Watt at center and Jeremiah Sirles at right guard.
Melvin Gordon getting comfortable: The Wisconsin product appeared more comfortable and decisive running the football, showing quick feet inside the hole and his trademark explosive burst once he reached the open field. I’m interested to see how Gordon does once training camp gets here in July and players put the pads on.
Undrafted rookie free agents making noise: Two undrafted rookie free agents that have looked good included Ohio State inside linebacker Curtis Grant and Ball State running back Jahwan Edwards. Grant is playing inside linebacker next to Kavell Conner on the second-unit defense, while Edwards has displayed a decisive, hard-charging running style in team drills.