Business is certainly booming around Chargers Park these days. In the final weeks before the team moves up the I-5 to their new digs in Carson, GM Tom Telesco is bunkered in and hammering out contracts. On Wednesday, the Chargers announced the signing of a four-year deal for fourth-round draft pick Rayshawn Jenkins. Jenkins played safety at the University of Miami. Heading into training camp the popular opinion is he will be groomed for that position.
Jenkins is listed at six-foot-one, 214-pounds. At the NFL Combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and vertical jumped 37 inches. Add in 19 reps on the bench press and you have a combination of size, speed and power that makes coaches drool. Coming into Chargers camp, Jenkins will have a willing mentor in former teammate and Chargers starting linebacker Denzel Perryman.
Below is a highlight reel from Jenkins’ senior season with the Hurricanes. What jumps out right away are his instincts, speed to the ball, ability to tackle in the open field and his ferocity when tackling as he’s not one to shy away from contact. Jenkins seems to seek out contact.
The Chargers weren’t finished there. Undrafted free agent punter Toby Baker was also signed on Wednesday. Baker was a tryout participant during rookie mini camp and impressed enough to be signed. He will battle incumbent Drew Kaser as part of the 90-man roster.
The 6″3′-inch, 215-pound Baker played his college ball at Arkansas and averaged 43-yards per punt over his 27 games with the Razorbacks. His 44.4 average in his senior season was good for fourth in the SEC and 13th in the country. Per the Razorbacks’ team website, Baker had 27 punts of 50 yards with a career-best of 60 yards. In his junior and senior seasons he dropped 45 punts inside the 20-yard line with only five total touchbacks.
Not a stranger to making a team as a walk-on, he made the team in Arkansas the same way. Baker won his spot and a scholarship after the 2015 season through a tryout. Baker will also be meeting a familiar face in camp as he follows in the footsteps of former teammate Hunter Henry.
The Greg One
The San Diego Chargers secured the future of the tight end position with their selection of Arkansas Razorbacks All-American, John Mackey Award-winning stud Hunter Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry is tabbed as the heir apparent to Hall-of-Fame bound Antonio Gates. As we all know, injuries are a very real thing in pro football. The Chargers have been decimated by injuries season after season. Unfortunately, not all high draft picks pan out.
One can never be too prepared.
With the first two slots on the depth chart filled, the challenge of finding a solid third tight end will be an interesting camp battle to watch. Stepping up to the challenge are:
1. Asante Cleveland, a second-year pro out of the University of Miami.
2. Jeff Cumberland, a seventh-year pro who spent his first six seasons with the New York Jets.
3. Sean McGrath, a second-year pro out of Henderson State.
4. Matt Weiser, an undrafted free agent rookie out of the University of Buffalo.
One of the biggest long shots in the field is literally the biggest of the entire group. While the aforementioned four players all average a stout 6’5″, 250-pounds, Tim Semisch stands 6’8″, 267-pounds.
Semischs’ pro career began with the Miami Dolphins where he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015. After toiling away on the Dolphins’ practice squad he was released in November and signed to the Chargers’ practice squad in December.
Semisch signed a futures contract in January 2016 and will be competing for a spot on the 53-man roster. Semisch played his college ball at Northern Illinois University. While he’s not fast (ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 at NIU’s pro day), his height, length and versatility will be features that make him a viable candidate as a possible third tight end or special teams.
In a pre-draft interview, Semisch explained that at NIU he was able to take advantage of his size advantage, be a good pass catcher or blocker, can rush the passer if needed and he also became a good long snapper. He stated his desire to play wherever is necessary to make the team.
While he was used primarily as a blocker he did show the ability to make big plays in the passing game, as evidenced in the video clip below. In three seasons he caught a grand total of ten passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. If he makes the 53-man roster with Rivers throwing him the ball, he’s likely to eclipse those numbers in one game.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TDSemisch82
Here’s to rooting for the underdog and unearthing more diamonds in the rough! Good luck Mr. Semisch.
The Greg One