3 Undrafted Signings To Keep An Eye On For The Chargers
Now that the 2020 NFL Draft has come to an end, many players who didn’t get drafted are hoping that one team gives them an opportunity and signs them as an undrafted free agent just so they get one shot to prove that they should have been drafted and belong in the NFL. Although the odds are against these players, there has been a long history of successful UDFAs in the league. Some of them include Hall of Famers Warren Moon and Kurt Warner, as well as Tony Romo, Wes Welker, and plenty of other names.
In fact, the Chargers have had some great undrafted free agent signings who contributed highly to the success of the team including future Hall of Famer Tight End Antonio Gates and current electric do it all back Austin Ekeler. Undrafted free agents have a lot of potential and in this article, we examine 3 free agent signings to keep an eye on for the Chargers.
Josh Dunlop – Guard (University of Texas-San Antonio)
One of the most crucial needs of the Chargers which they didn’t address in the draft was the offensive line. This makes their pick up of Joshua Dunlop, a guard out of UTSA, very intriguing. At the guard spot, the Chargers currently have Dan Feeney, Trai Turner, and Forrest Lamp. Besides Trai Turner, none of the options are proven and reliable options so having depth there could be a huge bonus especially with a new quarterback behind center this year.
Dunlop had an excellent career at UTSA and capped off his senior year with an All-Conference USA selection. Many of the rushing performances that occurred behind his offensive line are amongst the greatest in UTSA history. He also has a vast amount of experience starting for over 30 games. Dunlop was also a key cog on the line behind which Sincere McCormick broke the UTSA single-season record for all-purpose yards. His size and ability to create holes are a huge reason why.
He is an absolute mauler standing at 6 ft 7 and 305 pounds. He would immediately bring a lot of size and power to the offensive line which is huge for an offense that just lost their starting quarterback and running back. Dunlop also has the versatility to move around and play tackle if necessary. With the myriad of injuries that have struck the Chargers in recent years, especially on the line, the ability to slide around the line would be huge and will likely ensure him a spot on the team.
Cole Christiansen – LB (Army)
One of the positions that the Chargers addressed in the first round, through a trade, was linebacker Kenneth Murray. This is definitely a position of need as the Chargers have lacked great production consistently from their linebackers over the years.
Denzel Perryman has flashed signs of greatness but has dealt with the injury bug throughout this career.
Thomas Davis was a nice pick up last season but he was clearly showing age and was only supposed to be a temporary option which is why he is no longer on the team.
Cole Christiansen can be someone who competes for snaps while also being a great contributor on special teams similar to how Nick Dzubnar was.
Cole Christiansen was one of the better linebackers in the college ranks this past season. He is a two-time All-Independent Selection as well as a semifinalist for the LOTT impact award. He was a true leader on the Army defense being selected as a team captain two years in a row and also leading the team in tackles with 112. He was also 21st nationally in average tackles per game at 9.3.
Kenneth Murray is a great linebacker, but his strengths lie in blitz packages, Christiansen could be a huge contributor in the second line of the defense while allowing Murray to play to his strengths.
While one may be worried about the lack of competition Army plays, when they did play top teams, Christiansen always stood out. Against Number 7 ranked Michigan, Christiansen racked up 12 total tackles as well as forcing a fumble. At 6 ft 2 and 225 pounds, he has good size and also good speed which will make him a great special teams contributor as well. Christiansen doesn’t get after the quarterback too much as he only registered 2.5 sacks this past year. However, his ability to always find himself involved in the play will allow him to create a nice role wherever he lands.
Bobby Holly – FB (Louisiana Tech)
One of the bigger under the radar losses the Chargers suffered this offseason behind Rivers and Gordon was the loss of fullback Derek Watt. Derek Watt played a huge role in the success of both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler and replacing him would be in the Chargers’ interest. This is where Bobby Holly would fit in nicely. At 6 ft 1, 252 pounds, he is a good 20 pounds heavier than Watt and would be a great fit in the backfield.
He doesn’t provide much value outside of special teams and fullback duties, but he did tally two receiving touchdowns last year in the red zone. This shows he can be utilized in short-yardage situations which could allow some creativity on the offensive end. The Chargers were 23rd in the NFL when it came to scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The Tennessee Titans paced the NFL in that category and that was in large part due to the monster that is Derrick Henry; perhaps adding a large body like that can improve the fortunes near the goal-line.
Bobby Holly has a very real chance of making the roster mostly because of the need for the Chargers. Derek Watt played an important role but he is now a member of the Steelers.
The justification by these undrafted free agent signings being ones to keep an eye on is the fact that they play a position of need for the Chargers. The Chargers didn’t address the offensive line in the draft, their linebacker corps has had depth and injury issues, and their fullback just left in free agency. These three guys could come in and potentially compete for a role.
What do you think, who has the best shot to make the roster?