As the Chargers look to shape their roster throughout training camp, the coaches will be paying close attention to the safety position, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic. Obviously, Derwin James is cemented into a starting safety spot, but there is expected to be competition both for the starting job next to him and for a potential fourth safety spot on the roster.
With former starting safety Nasir Adderley retiring upon the expiration of his rookie contract, the starting safety job next to James is wide open. Alohi Gilman enters camp as the expected starter, but second-year player JT Woods will have every opportunity to take the job out from under Gilman. Gilman has nine starts over his first three seasons and has made some significant contributions to the Los Angeles defense in that time. Woods had one start in ten appearances during his rookie year but is expected to take a leap forward in his sophomore season.
Both Gilman and Woods are locks for the 53-man roster, but Popper predicts that only one other safety will join James, Gilman, and Woods in September. He’s boiled that battle down to Raheem Layne and Mark Webb. After signing as an undrafted free agent last year, Layne appeared is six games as a rookie, standing out in training camp and carving out a role on special teams. As a 2021 seventh-round pick, Webb’s rookie season was cut short by injury before he spent the whole of last year on the practice squad. Popper believes that if Webb can stay on the field during camp, he has a serious chance at pushing Layne for that final roster spot.
Here are a couple other rumors coming out of LA:
- After watching the struggles of backup offensive lineman Brenden Jaimes through his first two seasons, the Chargers appear ready to work out other options. The team seems to be high on Zack Bailey as a more reliable backup guard than Jaimes, according to Popper. Bailey appeared in his first NFL contest last year after going undrafted in 2019, but Los Angeles believes he can be a strong secondary option on the interior. Backing up starting center Corey Linsley is expected to be veteran Will Clapp. Clapp started three games in place of Linsley last season and seemingly has done enough to lock up the backup center job.
- The final roster battle to watch in camp is at wide receiver, according to Popper. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, and rookie Quentin Johnston are no brainers to make the final roster. Fellow TCU rookie Derius Davis has a really good chance to make the team due to his return abilities. Popper believes that the team could take one more wideout. Jalen Guyton‘s deep-threat ability and size could make a strong case for the job, but he’s coming back from a torn ACL, which could factor into the decision. His main competition is likely Keelan Doss. Doss got regular work this spring with the first-team offense while Williams and Palmer were absent. He made enough noise in OTAs and minicamp that he has a strong chance of pushing Guyton for a final roster spot.