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Making The Most Of Their Opportunities

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  • Making The Most Of Their Opportunities

    These are the guys I respect the most. They were undrafted players who through hard work, perseverance and dedication have blossomed into solid, and in some cases elite, NFL players. The Chargers have more than a few on the roster. The most obvious being:

    Austin Ekeler - An undersized RB from the wilds of rural Colorado who played on a podunk college team that probably many big city high school teams could beat. Everything he has accomplished he has had to earn through extremely hard work and dedication to his craft. Five years into his improbable NFL career he led the league in scoring.

    Donald Parham - Another guy who went to a tiny school (Stetson), this one in Florida, and was cut by two NFL teams. He got his chance with an upstart spring league that had to shut down mid-season due to the pandemic. The Chargers saw enough to take a chance on him, and when got that opportunity he made the most of it. I've been reading about him - he is fully recovered from his concussion and anxious to get his career going again. I'm not the only one who feels Parham is going to be a breakout player in 2022.

    Jalen Guyton - Signed as a UDFA in 2019 out of North Texas by the Cowboys, he was cut after TC. The Chargers signed him to the PS in October and late in 2019 and later that season he was promoted to the roster. In 2020, he and Justin Herbert connected on their first NFL TD pass/reception for either of them in Herbert's first game, against KC. Guyton benefitted from taking reps from Herbert on the 2nd team in TC. In two full seasons wit the Chargers he has produced about 1,000 yds and 6 TD passes. He is the Chargers WR with sub 4.4 speed and has proven himself as a deep threat. I think he is the best 4th-5th WR in the league. He's No. 4 on the WR depth chart, but when you consider Ekeler is the No. 3 receiver, Guyton really is the 5th option. The only thing what is and will continue to hold him back is lack of opportunities, with so much talent ahead of him on the depth chart.

    J.C. Jackson - Jackson's college career at Florida got derailed by a season-ending shoulder injury in his first game, and an armed robbery charge, for which he was acquitted. Belichick took a chance on him as a UDFA, and he quickly blossomed into one of the best cover corners in the league. Nobody has more INTs than Jackson over the last two seasons. He may be the most accomplished player on this list, but I put him below the top 3 because he built himself into an elite player with another team.

    DeAndre Carter - He has been in the league since 2015 and has bounced around a number of NFL rosters. At one point he was substitute teaching at a school here in Sacramento. He played football at Sacramento State, and may be the only Sac State Hornet in the NFL right now. After bouncing around for years, he finally broke out as a returner for Washington last season. He also showed he can play WR on the NFL, catching 24 passes for 300 yds and 3 TDs in 2021. And remember he was catching passes from Taylor Heinicke. I think he was 2nd on the team in TDs scored; he scored one TD on a return. I think Staley wanted him over Andre Roberts because he can contribute as a WR. He is another undersized guy from a small school who has persevered in the NFL by not giving up. It will be interesting to see what he does in 2022.

    Michael Davis - Yes, he showed last season that being an NFL starting CB was probably too big for him, at this stage of his career anyway. Davis' college career at BYU wasn't that remarkable, but the Chargers took a chance on him in 2017, signing him as a UDFA, based on potential - mainly his sub 4.4 speed. He took that opportunity and has built a solid NFL career for himself, even if he is only the 3rd best CB on the Chargers' roster. It will be interesting to see how he performs in a new role in Staley's defense this season.

    Storm Norton - OK, I can feel the derision coming from some members here. But Storm is another one of those guys who came into the league as a UDFA (2017), got cut by several teams and then got his chance to play in the XFL's LA team, where he was declared the best XFL's best OL by PFF before the pandemic shut things down in 2020. The Chargers took a chance on him, and despite his struggles, he has played well enough to not only stay on the roster but become a starter due to injury circumstances. Storm may not make this season's roster cuts. But he has developed into a good enough player to continue his career as a back up in the league somewhere.

    There are probably a few more I could list (Fehoko?), but these are the guys who stand out as overlooked players who had to work extra hard to be noticed and persevere to get their opportunities to develop their talent in the NFL. I don't know if the Chargers have more of these types of players than other teams, but the Chargers have had a knack for developing UDFA talent. I just wanted to give them some acknowledgement. I really respect them.

  • #2
    I'd add Tranquil as a guy I admire overcoming all the injuries and really making an impact at a devalued position with the modest physical tools he has.
    Family*Trust*respect
    Classic 'Roo > time

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    • #3
      Good list and agree. Guyton certainly is a good option to have but there are several good 4th and 5th WRs out there. Guyton really is a 4th WR.

      Every team has a RB who catches the ball out of the back field but they are still a RB. When a WR goes down, Ekeler isnt going to replace them out wide, Palmer is and then Guyton is.

      I really like TB WR Tyler Johnson. I wanted us to draft him. He has an arrow pointing up and with AB gone, will get more targets.

      Isaiah McKenzie is a little guy but a real speedster for Buffalo

      Amari Rodgers in GB ,,,not sure he will be a 3 or 4 there.

      KC still has Josh Gordon and is listed as a #4 and they have Rookie Skyy Moore but we dont know how he will be as a NFL WR.

      Braxton Berrios had 46 catches last year for the Jets, listed as #4.

      Marquez Callaway is listed as #4 for the Saints with Thomas coming back this season.

      I could make a big list of players for WR in those depth areas.
      Not taking away anything from Guyton as im happy with him at #4 but he is in some very good company in that slot and some have better stats.
      Last edited by Boltjolt; 06-09-2022, 01:45 PM.

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      • #4
        Sebastian Joseph-Day was a 2018 LAR 6th round draft pick who has done pretty well. I like his demeanor & fit here.

        I'm pulling for the Chargers 2022 picks. A bunch of diverse guys, good character, hard workers.
        I'd like to say that where they were drafted, or not, doesn't matter but it does. Regardless, once on the roster they have a shot.
        They're all my guys.
        We're going to cut some good players this year.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by sonorajim View Post
          Sebastian Joseph-Day was a 2018 LAR 6th round draft pick who has done pretty well. I like his demeanor & fit here.

          I'm pulling for the Chargers 2022 picks. A bunch of diverse guys, good character, hard workers.
          I'd like to say that where they were drafted, or not, doesn't matter but it does. Regardless, once on the roster they have a shot.
          They're all my guys.
          We're going to cut some good players this year.
          Yeah, I originally meant to include late round picks and UDFAs, but when I finished the list they were all UDFAs, so I didn't mention late round picks. I didn't know SJD was a 6th round pick. I would have included him in this list if I had known.

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          • #6
            Moms Mabley. She went a long way with no teeth.

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