Breaking Down The Chargers Practice Squad

So far the Chargers have announced the signing of 9 players to their practice squad. Only one player, linebacker Joseph Jones, wasn't with the team during camp. The group so far is a mixture of guys who were on the practice squad or active roster last year, and 2017 UDFA's with good measurables and supreme athleticism. With 1 spot still to fill, here's a look at who they've signed so far:

LB Joseph Jones: Jones signed as a 2017 UDFA out of Northwestern with the Cowboys and spent the summer in Dallas before being waived on cutdown day. Jones didn't contribute on defense until his senior season with the Wildcats, but is a superb athlete and boasts extremely impressive measurables. Had he been invited to the combine, his 40-yard dash time (4.49) would've been 2nd among all linebackers behind only first rounder Jabrill Peppers. He also would've been in the top 5 in the vertical jump, 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuffle, and 60-yard shuffle. Although he's good in pass coverage, his downsides include his lack of playing-time in college, limiting what he was able to put on film. He didn't show enough as a playmaker, rarely making highlight plays, but also limiting mistakes and rarely getting exposed. While he may not be ready to contribute on an NFL defense for a while, his athleticism alone makes him a great practice squad stash with the potential for long-term positive development.

CB Craig Mager: Mager is perhaps the biggest name on this list, and the one with the highest draft pedigree. Mager has been a disappointment since being drafted in the 3rd round out of Texas State in 2015, and ultimately found himself on the outside of the roster bubble, despite starting 8 games last season. Across 11 total games last year he notched 31 tackles, 4 pass breakups, and an interception before suffering a season ending shoulder injury. Mager was forced into starting duty due to Jason Verrett's torn ACL, and struggled mightily at times. On the practice squad, the Chargers hope something will finally click for the former #83 overall pick.

WR Geremy Davis: Davis was signed off the Giants' practice squad late last season and appeared in 3 games for the Chargers, but didn't catch a pass. The Giants' 2015 6th round pick, Davis was a stand out at UCONN where he set school records for career receptions and receiving yards. Davis is a big target good at making contested catches and a decent route runner, but is ultimately not quick enough on his feet to create separation against NFL corners. With WR being the Chargers' deepest position, and Davis being one of three receivers on the practice squad, it's unlikely he ever contributes for the Chargers.

OL Brett Boyko: A 3rd year undrafted lineman out of UNLV, Boyko spent most of last season on the Chargers' practice squad. He was initially signed by the Eagles out of college in 2015, spent that year on Philadelphia's practice squad, and has never appeared in a regular season game. Boyko offers nice versatility as he can play both guard and tackle, and will likely see time on the active roster if the Chargers suffer injuries on the O-line. He has good length but struggles to make an impact in run-blocking and lacks the quickness to keep up with edge rushers. Ultimately he's decent depth but unlikely to ever make much of an impact at the NFL level.

CB Michael Davis: Davis signed with the Chargers in May as an UDFA out of BYU. He has blistering speed (4.34 40-yard dash), and earned high praise from coaches throughout the summer. He was waived as part of final cuts despite reportedly having a great camp. He struggled when the lights came on however, getting repeatedly torched during preseason action, likely leading to his release after looking poised for a 53-man roster spot. In the Chargers first preseason game against the Seahawks, Davis was targeted relentlessly, giving up 144 yards on 5 deep balls. Despite his struggles during the preseason, his solid camp and good size/measurables make him an interesting developmental prospect.

WR Andre Patton: Patton also signed with the Chargers in May, as an UDFA out of Rutgers. Patton had a relatively quiet college career, amassing only 1,164 yards over his 4 years there, but lit up his pro-day, running a 4.40 40-yard dash, which would've been 3rd among all WR's at the combine. He has decent hands, but has struggled as a route runner. Buried behind one of the most stacked WR depth charts in the league, Patton would likely need a string of injuries to get a chance to contribute (something which can never be discounted with the Chargers). Like many of the Chargers practice squadders, he was signed for his plus measurables/athleticism and long-term upside.

DE Whitney Richardson: Richardson is an interesting case. Signed just two weeks ago, Richardson is an UDFA out of ultra-small D2 school Lane College. Despite barely being on the field for the Chargers, Richardson apparently showed enough over the final week of camp to earn a spot on the practice squad. A D2 All-American, Richardson dominated in the 4th and final preseason game, securing his spot on the squad. Not a ton is known about Richardson and not a lot of tape of him is out there, and as such he will be one of the most intriguing players to keep an eye on and watch develop.

WR Artavis Scott: Scott, a 2017 UDFA, was Mike Williams' teammate and fellow WR at Clemson. He left Clemson as the Tigers' all-time leader in receptions. The Chargers are extremely deep at WR, and he struggled to get playing time even in the preseason, registering 0 catches. The Chargers appear intent on stashing as many receivers as they can, with Scott the second of three wideouts added to the practice squad.

RB Andre Williams: Of all the practice squad guys, Williams is the one with the most NFL experience, with 323 career carries. A 4th round pick of the Giants in 2014, he came to the Chargers just before the start of last season after being waived after just two seasons in New York. He spent the first few weeks of last year as a game-day inactive before being waved and stashed on the practice squad. With numerous injuries in the backfield late in the season, he earned a call up for week 17 and rushed for 87 yards on 18 carries (4.8 YPC) against the Chiefs. He will now go back to the practice squad and be the first man up if there are any injuries to Chargers running backs.


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