Rookie Camp is like freshman orientation.  It only lasts a few days, and its only rookies.  During camp the players will be doing a LOT of homework as they dive into their new playbooks, attempting to absorb the information so when mini camp comes along they do not, well, look like rookies.

The coaches aren’t necessarily going to be looking at how good a player is at their position.  They are going to be evaluating the little things.  How quick the players understand and recognize playbook terminology.  How hard they work in gym sessions.  What speed and level of effort they put into practice sessions.  Do they hustle after plays.  Do they handle criticism well and learn from their mistakes quickly.

This is the first real impression for the coaches on how these players are going to contribute to the team.  This impression is more important for some than others.  DJ Fluker, Manti Te’o, and Keenan Allen are going to make the roster.  But for the 3 other draft picks, the 20 Undrafted Free Agents, and the 7 players without contracts that are trying out for the team they will have to prove that they are worthy to make the 8 man practice squad, or if they are very lucky, the 53 man roster.  Fluker, Te’o, and Allen can’t take it easy though.  Being drafted that early comes with high expectations from coaches, teammates, and especially the fans, so they must prove they were worth that pick.

Since the rookies will be going against one another will make some players look great.  For example if DJ Fluker shuts down Anthony Williams, a DT from Fresno who is here for a tryout, yes that will look great but it is not an accurate representation of how Fluker will perform against a veteran NFL defensive tackle.  So while you may here rave reviews on some players out of rookie camp, try to stay grounded and remember, its rookies vs other rookies.

All in all there will be 33 players at camp for the Chargers this weekend.

There are the 6 draft picks:

DJ Fluker – OT

Manti Te’o – LB

Keenan Allen – WR

Steve Williams – CB

Tourek Williams – OLB

Brad Sorensen – QB

There are 20 UDFA’s:

Jahleel Addae – SS

Nick Becton – OT

Frank Beltre – OLB

Greg Brown – CB

Ben Cotton – TE

Marcus Cromartie – CB

Joshua Johnson – CB

Devan Walker – OLB

Kwame Geathers – NT

Michael Hill – RB

Byron Jerideau – DT/NT

Richard Kent – P

Jamarkus McFarland – DE

Daniel Molls – LB

Brandon Moore – DE/DT

Kenny Okoro – CB

Randy Richards – OT

David Rolf – TE

Luke Tasker – WR

Mike Herman – QB

And finally there are the 7 players in for a tryout (and a little about them since they are the newest additions and least known prospects):

Justin Cudworth an OLB from Eastern Michigan University looks like he could be a special teams stud like Gachkar. This guy hits like a missile and plays downhill pretty well with good closing speed based on his highlight video. Definitely a fun video to watch.

Chris McNeill a WR from Wyoming looks like he has pretty good hands and has a pretty impressive punt return for a TD in his video. He is more fast than quick, taking 4 or 5 strides to get to full speed.

Matthew Wilmer a WR out of Fairmont state. I wasn’t impressed watching his tape, he doesn’t look overly fast or quick, he has decent hands but it’s very obvious he was playing against weak competition and while he looks better he doesn’t appear to be a “man among boys” like Michael Hill does in his tape in against weaker competition.

Anthony Williams a DT/DE from Fresno looks pretty athletic for his size in his highlights. He is quick and looked pretty disruptive, could push his former team-mate Logan Harrel for a PS spot

Sam Schwartzstein a C from Stanford.  He looks pretty solid in this highlight video, but C is probably the only position which has some depth on the Oline. Unless they release Nick Hardwick which I highly doubt.

Tony Burnett S/CB/OLB from USC.  He didn’t have a true position at USC, played Safety as a Sophomore, CB as a Junior and OLB as a Senior. He is a downhill player and looks awesome in run support in this video, but there isn’t much tape in here on his pass coverage skills. He ran a hand time of 4.44 but an electronic “official”time of 4.58, watching the tape the 4.58 is probably about right. I don’t see much chance of him making it either, since safety is a little crowded.

The last player is a G from SDSU Riley Gauld. I couldn’t find any tape on him, however he does have NFL size at 6-4 312lbs and put up a respectable 29 reps of 225 at his pro day.



2 Responses to Chargers Rookie Camp: What to look for

  • Mari Rivers says:

    I am probably going to be watching Manti closely like all the other media outlets.. I really want him to do good.

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