NFL Draft

Five Undrafted Free Agents with a Real Shot to Stick


San Diego is a premier destination for undrafted free agents, as at least one undrafted rookie has made the team in each of the last 18 seasons. Four such rookies made the squad a season ago, including PK Josh Lambo and WR Tyrell Williams.

Who will beat the odds this time around? These five players — who have underrated skills and undeniable opportunity — have the best chance to get it done.

CB Terrell Chestnut– West Virginia

Chestnut shared a secondary with third-round pick Daryl Worley and, often times, Chestnut looked like the better player. The former four-star recruit finished his senior season with three interceptions and 11 pass breakups, but went undrafted primarily because of his injury history, which includes two shoulder surgeries and a knee surgery.

Chestnut will compete for the No. 5 corner spot with Steve Williams and Greg Ducre.

OT Tyler Johnstone– Oregon

Johnstone is another player who went undrafted largely due to injury concerns. He tore his ACL in Oregon’s 2013 Alamo Bowl win, then tore the same ACL again during the first practice of the 2014 season. He returned last season and started every game at left tackle for the Ducks, although the athleticism and explosiveness he demonstrated pre-injury were missing. Another year removed from surgery, Johnstone has a chance to stick around if those traits return.

Johnstone will have to beat out an undrafted free agent from last year, Tyreek Burwell, to earn a place on the 53-man roster.

S Adrian McDonald – Houston

As the roster stands now, San Diego’s top backup safeties are FS Adrian Phillips and SS Darrell Stuckey. If that doesn’t scream “open competition,” nothing does.

Enter McDonald, the safety from Houston with good speed and coverage ability. He is also a strong blitzer, which is important to defensive coordinator John Pagano. McDonald is undersized and not an enforcer by any means, but he will have a chance to carve out a role in San Diego’s sub packages.

OLB Chris Landrum– Jacksonville State

Much of Landrum’s opportunity depends on what the Chargers do with versatile draft picks Joey Bosa and Jatavis Brown. For now, the plan is to play Bosa at defensive end, while Brown has the pass-rushing skills of an outside linebacker but the build and instincts of an inside ‘backer. As long as neither of those players makes the full-time move to outside linebacker, Landrum has a chance.

Landrum, who transferred from Auburn to Jacksonville State in 2011, has dominated for the Gamecocks at the Bandit position (a defensive end/linebacker hybrid). As a senior, he racked up 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. His skill-set is tailor-made for San Diego’s 3-4 front.

DE Carlos Wray – Duke

Even with the addition of Bosa, there is room for another defensive lineman after the Chargers parted ways with Kendall Reyes and Ricardo Mathews earlier this offseason. There is also a strong chance veteran Sean Lissemore, who is in the final year of his contract, will not make it out of training camp.

Wray is not a box-score standout, registering just 2.5 sacks in his four-year career, but his game film is impressive. He posted 125 tackles in 49 games, including 25 starts, and played a major role in Duke’s recent resurgence. He also stood out at Duke’s Pro Day, helping him draw interest from the Rams, 49ers, Bills, Saints and Colts before ultimately deciding his best opportunity was with the Chargers.

The other undrafted free agents signed by the Chargers are Georgia Tech LB Tyler Marcordes, Oregon State CB Larry Scott, Penn State CB Trevor Williams, Marshall OG Sebastian Johansson, Montana WR Jamaal Jones, Ohio OG Mike McQueen, Colorado Mesa OT Zeth Ramsay, Marshall WR Deandre Reaves, Vanderbilt OC Spencer Pulley, Navy running back Chris Swain and Washington State wide receiver Dominique Williams.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *