Jimmy Wilson working with starters at safety

SAN DIEGO – Jimmy Wilson appears to be the early leader in the competition for the starting strong safety job left vacant when Marcus Gilchrist joined the New York Jets in free agency.

Wilson paired with Eric Weddle as the San Diego Chargers’ safety combination with the starters on Tuesday, with Jaheel Addae subbing in when the defense switched to nickel and dime in passing situations.

Of course, it’s early, and as defensive coordinator John Pagano has said the reps will be evenly distributed so all players can be fairly evaluated with the starters. But Wilson has been around the ball a lot in workouts open to reporters so far this offseason.

That Melvin Ingram is pretty good: The South Carolina product demonstrated why the Chargers are hopeful 2015 will be the breakout season. During team drills, Ingram leaped high and batted down a Philip Rivers pass directed to the flat, nearly holding onto the ball for an interception. Ingram has been an active pass rusher and has looked fast in pursuit. Now, he just has to find a way to stay healthy.

Jason Verrett turning heads: Another player creating a buzz with his consistent play is cornerback Jason Verrett. He’s explosive, plays fast and with anticipation. Verrett’s play has caught the attention of Rivers when he faces the first-team defense. “He has the potential to be one of the top few corners in this league,” Rivers said about Verrett. “Not to put added pressure on him, but he’s been probably the most impressive guy on the field this offseason, just his quickness in and out of breaks, and the way he’s played. I know for him, he wants to stay healthy and be out there all 16 (games), because with him out there healthy, he can have a big impact on our team and on our defense.”

Young corners making their mark: Along with Verrett, two young cornerbacks who made plays on Tuesday were Greg Ducre and Richard Crawford. Ducre jumped an out route intended for Dontrelle Inman and corralled the ball for an interception. Crawford battled another couple passes down during team drills, and he seems to make a play at every workout open to reporters. The Chargers are much deeper at corner from the first season general manager Tom Telesco took over in 2013.

Odds and ends: Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon in the backfield at the same time? Yes, please -- a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. ... Undrafted rookie receiver Tyrell Williams made a nice catch on a skinny post for a big gain in team drills. He looks the part. ... Free agent offensive lineman Joe Barksdale worked at right guard and right tackle, as the Chargers try to figure out what his role will be. Craig Watts also worked at guard and tackle. ... With Brandon Flowers limited in practice, Steve Williams and Patrick Robinson have worked with the starters at cornerback opposite Verrett. ... The Chargers signed tackle Forrestal Hickman, a tryout player at rookie minicamp, and waived defensive lineman Ricky Tjong-aTjoe. The Bolts now have 14 offensive lineman on the 90-man roster.