Chargers Training Camp: Chris Rumph Gaining Steam

The Chargers are about to close their second week of training camp, and Chris Rumph II's development has been a key discussion point.

Steven Haglund
Chargers Training Camp: Chris Rumph Gaining Steam

Later tonight, the Chargers will have their first scrimmage of training camp, which will also wrap up the second week of practices. Obviously, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack will steal the show when it comes to creating pressure off the edge, but I wanted to touch on a very crucial aspect of these practices which is the development of the younger players behind the two-star players and specifically Chris Rumph II. Especially since Kyle Van Noy has primarily been working as an inside linebacker while Kenneth Murray recovers from his offseason ankle surgery.

Chris Rumph Graduates To Asparagus Status

The Chargers drafted the former Duke Bluedevil in the fifth round last year as a developmental edge rusher and as such, was a little buried on the depth chart last year. Bosa, Uchenna Nwosu, and Kyler Fackrell dominated the snaps for most of the season. Then there was that weird Rumph/Murray split after Fackrell got injured late in the year.

Still, Rumph needed to develop physically. After all, it was early on in the 2021 training camp that Bosa dubbed Rumph as a “string bean” because he was so skinny. When asked about where he is this year, Bosa responded that Rumph has graduated to “an asparagus stalk” because he was able to put on some good weight in the offseason.

Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill has spoke earlier in this week about Rumph’s development: “Chris has been doing a great job. I can feel the weight on him right now. When he goes to a power move, it’s on display a little bit more. Last year if he went to that move, they probably would have grabbed him up and we wouldn’t get any push on the pocket. He’s doing a good job right now, and you can tell that he’s really worked on his pass rush game. He’s really got some setups that’s working.”

The Chargers clearly feel comfortable enough with where Rumph stands, otherwise, they’d be rotating Van Noy at edge rusher more often. Even with Murray’s health status up in the air, their depth at linebacker is a little more proven than it is on the edge. They’re showing some good faith in Rumph and allowing him to push through some growing pains, at times even working with the first team defense while Bosa and Mack resting. These reps are very valuable for Rumph as he gets to work against Rashawn Slater and some of their interior blockers.

Sophomore Expectations

The third edge rusher is a borderline starter in this kind of scheme, especially with how often they like to kick their two stars inside to rush against guards. Fackrell would have probably logged over 500 snaps last season had he not gotten hurt and missed four games. Van Noy is obviously the X-Factor in that regard but it sounds like the Chargers want him playing more linebacker and less on the edge, which means Rumph’s development is all that much more crucial as this would free up about 400 snaps for him in his second season.

Fackrell wasn’t exactly incredible last season but the Chargers will need Rumph to take a sizable leap forward if that is their current plan. He was only able to produce four total pressures, one sack, and had a pass rush win rate of 7.4%. All numbers that were near the bottom of his rookie class.

A comparison on the more positive side for Rumph could be Chicago Bears’ edge rusher, Trevis Gipson. Like Rumph, Gipson was drafted in the 5th round as a long-term developmental pass rusher behind Mack and another established veteran Robert Quinn. Gipson even got to learn under Jay Rodgers and has a similar athletic profile overall.

Gipson barely played as a rookie and was only able to force four total pressures and had a pass rush win rate of 7.0%. In 2021, Gipson took a big leap forward in his development and totaled 27 pressures, and 10 sacks and increased his win rate to 13.0%. Now, Gipson did get to work as a starter for the majority of the season after Mack was placed on injured reserve so those numbers are probably a little rich for Rumph’s sophomore season (especially the sack production) but I like discussing the potential ceiling for these players first and foremost. They also don’t need him to reach quite that level, assuming positive health for Mack and Bosa this season, and again Van Noy will help ease the burden somewhat on Rumph as well.

If Rumph has improved as much as the coaching staff believes, there’s no reason not to think he couldn’t approach 20 pressures, three or four sacks, and increase his win rate to around 11 or 12%. I would consider that outcome a very positive sophomore season. As long as the positive flashes are more frequent and Rumph is a serviceable backup, his career is on course, which seems to be the case right now.

Chargers Training Camp: Chris Rumph Gaining Steam

Chargers Training Camp: Chris Rumph Gaining Steam. Photo Credit: Ty Nowell