Colin Kaepernick, after two years away, may find himself on an NFL roster when the 2020 season begins. That team may be the Chargers, who may be in the market for a veteran quarterback to pair with Justin Herbert and Tyrod Taylor. In fact, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn recently said that Kaepernick "fits the style of quarterback that we want" while not ruling out the possibility of signing him.
While Kaepernick is one player Chargers fans should keep an eye on this summer, Los Angeles has several other position battles worth keeping tabs on heading into Week 1. With training camp on the horizon, we decided to project what the Chargers' starting lineup and 53-man roster will look like when Los Angeles kicks off the 2020 regular season against the Bengals.
Rookies will be denoted with a (*). Without further ado, let's jump right into it.
|QB||Tyrod Taylor||Justin Herbert*||Easton Stick|
|RB||Austin Ekeler||Joshua Kelley*||Justin Jackson|
|LWR||Keenan Allen||Andre Patton|| |
|RWR||Mike Williams||Joe Reed*|| |
|SWR||K.J. Hill*||Darius Jennings|| |
|TE||Hunter Henry||Virgil Green|
|LT||Sam Tevi ||Trey Pipkins |
|LG||Dan Feeney||Ryan Groy|| |
|C||Mike Pouncey||Scott Quessenberry|| |
|RG||Trai Turner||Forrest Lamp|
|RT||Bryan Bulaga ||Trent Scott || |
Unless he really wows the Chargers' coaching staff during training camp, Justin Herbert will begin his rookie season watching Tyrod Taylor from the sideline. Joining Herbert on the sideline may be Kaepernick, who would be able to give Herbert a veteran's perspective while helping Herbert adjust to life as an NFL quarterback. Kaepernick could also compete for the starting job if Taylor struggles and/or Herbert isn't ready to play early in the season. If that move doesn't materialize, Easton Stick should serve as the third quarterback, perhaps even QB2 while Herbert gets up to speed.
The Chargers should have some interesting position battles at running back and receiver. While Austin Ekeler is the team's unquestioned starter, there will be competition behind him between Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley, a 2020 third-round pick who rushed for 2,303 yards and 24 touchdowns during his final two seasons at UCLA. At receiver, rookies Joe Reed and KJ Hill will look to complement Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who both went over 1,000 receiving yards during the 2019 season. Reed and Hill will have to earn playing time over veterans Andre Patton and Darius Jennings.
The Chargers made a pair of key offensive line additions by signing Bryan Bulaga and trading for Trai Turner to shore up the right side of the line, but with Russell Okung now in Carolina, who plays left tackle is the biggest question for the team to answer heading into 2020. Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins appear to be the best options unless someone else is thrown into the mix.
|LDE||Joey Bosa||Isaac Rochell|| |
|NT||Linval Joseph||Damion Square|| |
|DT||Justin Jones||Jerry Tillery|| |
|RDE ||Melvin Ingram ||Uchenna Nwosu ||Joe Gaziano*|
|SLB||Nick Vigil ||Malik Jefferson |
|MLB||Drue Tranquill ||Denzel Perryman |
|WLB||Kenneth Murray*||Kyzir White |
|LCB||Casey Hayward ||Brandon Facyson|| |
|RCB||Michael Davis ||Quenton Meeks|| |
|SCB||Chris Harris ||Desmond King |
|FS||Rayshawn Jenkins ||Nasir Adderley |
|SS||Derwin James||Roderic Teamer||Alohi Gilman*|
The Chargers have added several new faces to a defense that finished fifth in the league in pass defense last season as well as 14th in the NFL in points allowed. Linval Joseph comes in to take Brandon Mebane's role anchoring the middle of a line that includes plenty of talent on the edge. 2019 first-round pick Jerry Tillery will look to push Justin Jones for a bigger role in 2020.
Los Angeles traded up in the first round to select former Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, one of the top-rated off-ball linebackers in the 2020 draft. He could factor in the middle or on the weakside, but either way he should stay on the field for most snaps. Nick Vigil was another free-agent addition, and he'll battle for the third linebacker role next to Murray and Drue Tranquill.
The biggest free agency addition for Los Angeles comes in the form of cornerback Chris Harris, a four-time Pro Bowler who won a ring as a member of the Broncos' defense in 2015. He should slide into the slot corner role, with Hayward and the emerging Michael Davis on the outside. Free safety is a battle to watch between Jenkins and 2019 second-rounder Nasir Adderley. In the sixth round, the Chargers selected former Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman, who will look to make an impact in the Chargers' secondary as well as on special teams in 2020.
|K||Mike Badgley|| |
|P||Ty Long|| |
|LS||Cole Mazza|| |
|KR||Desmond King||Darius Jennings|
Mike Badgley is coming off of a 2019 season that saw him make 81.3% of his field goal attempts and each of his 19 point-after attempts. Long, who also saw time as the Chargers' placekicker last season, averaged 47 yards per punt in 2019. King returned one of his 21 punt returns for a score last season, while Jennings, a free agent acquisition, averaged 27.7 yards per kick return during his three seasons with the Titans. Jennings led the NFL with a 31.7 kick return average in 2018.