Fri, Sep 18, 2015

Chargers Fill Out Practice Squad

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RB Dreamius Smith. Photo by Shana Siler,

There is a lot of strategy that goes into picking a team's 10-player practice squad. Some players are signed to provide depth at a thin position. Others are added because the team is committed to overseeing their development throughout the season. Whatever the reason, joining the practice squad is a great opportunity for young players who narrowly missed out on making the final 53-man roster.

The Chargers began assembling their practice squad on Sunday, with the following moves revealed so far:

1. WR Javontee Herndon: The second-year receiver emerged as an explosive playmaker this offseason, ripping off some big gains as a receiver and punt returner. If the Ravens hadn't released Jacoby Jones, making him available to the Chargers, Herndon would still be on the roster right now. For more on Herndon, click here.

2. OG Michael Huey: The former Arena Football League star made a lot of progress throughout the offseason program. He has a great chance to spend some time on the active roster before the season is over, depending on Johnnie Troutman's health and D.J. Fluker's progress. He may have to usurp Craig Watts, though, once Watts returns from suspension.

3. DT Damion Square: The Alabama product is not an elite athlete, but he's a gritty defender with some positional versatility. With a year of development on the practice squad, he should be ready to compete for a roster spot in 2016, when Kendall Reyes and Ricardo Mathews will be free agents.

4. FS Adrian Phillips: The second-year safety spent last season bouncing back and forth between the practice squad and the active roster; he can expect a similar journey in 2015. He may be the only person in San Diego excited about Eric Weddle's impending departure from the team.

5. CB Greg Ducre: The speedy Ducre spent time with the Redskins and Chargers last season. His presence on the practice squad provides some insurance in case Jason Verrett's shoulder can't hold up to the rigors of a 16-game schedule.

6. LB Ryan Mueller: The former college defensive end made quick progress in his transition to outside linebacker. His knack for getting to the quarterback won over defensive coordinator John Pagano, who is eager to oversee Mueller's development. For more on Mueller, click here.

7. RB Dreamius Smith: A skeptical person might believe Smith would be on the active roster right now if not for Tom Telesco's relationship with Donald Brown from their time together in Indianapolis. Either way, underpaid overachievers (like Smith) usually beat out overpaid underachievers (like Brown) before it is all said and done. For more on Smith, click here.

8. QB Brad Sorensen: UT San Diego's Michael Gehlken reports the Sorensen will return to the practice squad, where he spent some time last season. The 2013 seventh-round pick played better this offseason than last and appears to have his arrow pointed back in a positive direction.

9. TE Alex Bayer: The former Rams tight end will also join San Diego's practice squad, according to Gehlken. The Bowling Green product appeared in six games in St. Louis last season and will provide some insurance at a position that's not as deep as it used to be given the suspension of Antonio Gates and the release of John Phillips.

10. OG Michael Ola: The Chargers faired so well with CFL exports Dontrelle Inman and Cordarro Law that they decided to add another in Ola. The versatile guard spent two seasons with the Montreal Alouettes before joining the Bears last season. He started 12 games for Chicago, appearing at every position except for guard. His versatility and experience were enough to earn him the final spot on this year's practice squad.

What are your thoughts on the practice squad signings? Discuss in our message boards!

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

Adrian Phillips, Alex Bayer, Brad Sorensen, Damion Square, Dreamius Smith, Greg Ducre, Javontee Herndon, Michael Huey, Ryan Mueller
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