With a somewhat disappointing rookie season behind him, outside linebacker Larry English is hoping that he can avoid the sophomore slump and make a few more plays than just 36 tackles and 2 sacks. His time will come to prove that he was worth the 16th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
After playing for four teams in the past six years, cornerback Donald Strickland is hoping to have finally found a place to lay his head. San Diego should receive some solid cornerback depth with the addition of Strickland to the defensive backfield.
Wide receiver Legedu Naanee finally received some solid playing time for the Chargers last year, ending the season with 24 receptions and a touchdown. I expect him to be even more effective this year as his role in the offense continues to expand and he becomes more of a consistent target for Philip Rivers.
Well obviously the first-round draft pick, Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews. He’s going to be splitting carries and playing time with Darren Sproles during the regular season, and should be able to make an outstanding impact in San Diego’s struggling run game.
With the unsure future of Kevin Ellison, fourth-round draft pick, Kansas strong safety Darrell Stuckey, has been getting solid practice time with the first team defense. He’s a ball-hawking safety that could be a big sleeper for the Chargers if given the opportunity.
Taking over not only Jamal Williams’ old position, but also his number, fifth-round draft pick, North Carolina nose tackle Cam Thomas, is hoping to work his way into the rotation and prove that he shouldn’t have still been on the board on the final day of the draft.
Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, former teammate of Mathews at Fresno State, has also shown some glimpses of playmaking ability since the beginning of rookie camps and OTAs. He even has full support from Mathews himself. “He’s a little overlooked. At Fresno State, we didn’t pass much. His speed killed him (in the draft process). He has game speed. He has sure hands. If I trust anyone with that long pass with two seconds left, it would be Seyi,” Mathews said.
Just a bonus… I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one… Although he isn’t exactly a player that has yet to break out, kicker Nate Kaeding will hopefully overcome his fears this year and be able to make a field goal when it matters… The playoffs! (This is assuming they do make the playoffs) He missed three field goals in their heartbreaking loss to the Jets in the Divisional Playoffs last year. Any one of those field goals going between the uprights would have evened up the score, and another would have given them the win.