5 Takeaways From Chargers’ Initial 53-Man Roster

Breaking down the Chargers’ initial 53-man roster.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers finalized roster cuts on Tuesday, going from 80 players to 53.

With 27 players being waived or released, there’s a lot to dissect in evaluating the Chargers’ initial 53-man roster.

Here are five takeaways that are reflective of the team’s roster moves:

Michael Bandy was a victim of the numbers game 

The Chargers finished the preseason with Michael Bandy leading the team in receptions (18), receiving yards (172) and receiving touchdowns (2). Yet, his strong three-game performance wasn’t enough to crack a spot on the Chargers roster.

With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Jalen Guyton and DeAndre Carter all in front of him, it was always going to be a tall order for Bandy from the jump. And in the end, the Chargers had to do what was in the best interest of the club – keep the five best pass-catching options.

“We felt like, the five that we kept, those were the right guys to keep,” head coach Brandon Staley said following roster cuts. “I feel like all five of them had really quality training camps. I think that was the thing that really stood out to us. All five of those guys are improving. Mike and Keenan are leading the way for us.”

The best ability is availability

There weren’t many surprising roster cuts on Tuesday, but the decision to waive second-year player Mark Webb was probably the biggest shocker. Webb, drafted last year in the sixth-round out of Georgia, has dealt with injuries for the greater part of his small time at the pro level.

“Certainly, it’s not an indictment on his talent or his ability. But, you have to be out there,” Staley said of Webb. “We’re hoping to keep working with him, for sure. That’s just part of the NFL. I think that if Mark can be out there on a consistent basis, then we know that he has a lot of the stuff that you’re looking for in the secondary.”

The best ability is availability, and unfortunately for Webb, he just hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough. He missed 10 games last year as a rookie and has dealt with lingering injuries off-and-on throughout training camp. I’d expect Webb to be a priority practice squad signee for the Chargers.

Chargers confident at edge rusher with minimal depth

The Chargers only kept three true edge rushers: Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa and Chris Rumph. But the team feels that with two star pass rushers in Mack and Bosa coming off the edge, they’re poised to take the bulk of the snaps, making the depth at the position not as worrisome.

“We feel good about the players that we have that can play in those positions, that maybe are not in the EDGE position group,” Staley said. “I think we can borrow from a couple of other positions to fill in that spot. The reality is, my experience with premium edge players, is that they play over 80 percent of the time. If you take a look at any of the historically good tandems, they’re playing well over 80 percent, [maybe] more closer to 90 [percent], if you’re as good as Joey and Khalil.”

Kyle Van Noy is another option the Chargers can utilize off the edge. While he’s expected to serve the starting role at inside linebacker, Van Noy is a proven NFL pass rusher with steady production. Van Noy has has recorded at least five sacks or more in each of his last three seasons.

Every draft pick made the roster

The Chargers made eight selections in this year’s draft and each one made the team. But that’s not the case every year. There’s times in which draft choices fall short of cracking the initial 53-man roster.

“I think that they have the makeup that we’re looking for, number one,” Staley said of his 2022 draft class. “That’s what you’re after, is that they fit in with your football team. I felt like last year, we got off to a quality start with that group. I think that group is improving. Then, this group came right in and added a lot of competition, a lot of depth. They have a good head on their shoulders, and they have the right toughness, the right mindset for this.”

Deane Leonard was about the only draftee where it was unclear if he would make the team. Ultimately, he did as the team opted to carry six cornerbacks on the roster.

Breiden Fehoko earns a role in the Chargers’ competitive defensive line group

The interior defensive line group of the Chargers was a particularly deep unit. They kept six players and still, there were serviceable options that are worthy of making an NFL team, who were left on the outside looking in.

After being cut twice in his career beforehand, Breiden Fehoko has made the initial 53-man roster. He edged out Christian Covington, Joe Gaziano, Andrew Brown and Forrest Merrill.

“He has a lot of the things that you look for in a football player; toughness, physicality,” Staley said of Fehoko. “He’s really smart for a D-lineman, just in terms of how he can really be a general in the middle, be a commander.”

More from Charger Report

Breiden Fehoko Beats Out Christian Covington and Others to Make Chargers’ Initial 53-Man RosterChargers Cutdown Day: How the Initial 53-Man Roster is Taking ShapeChargers 2022 Roster Cut Tracker: The Road to 53 PlayersChargers Waive Preseason Standout WR Michael Bandy3 Chargers Players Who Improved Their Stock the Most This Preseason

Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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