The San Diego Chargers hope to keep their legacy of uncovering diamonds in the rough through their undrafted free agent class this season. Many prospects have been brought in when you count the 20-player UDFA class signed immediately after the draft. Another twenty have been to Chargers Park for three-day tryouts.
As the old saying goes: Many are called, but few are chosen.
One player to keep an eye on during training camp will be West Virginia cornerback Terrell Chestnut. Standing 5’11”, 188-pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, vertical jumped 34″, broad jumped 10’2″ and ran the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds at the Mountaineers Pro Day.
Overshadowed by his secondary teammates Karl Joseph and Darryl Worley, Chestnut had a standout season in 2015. Lining up at cornerback last season, he tallied 35 tackles (25 solo), 7 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. To further show his impact on the field, consider this tweet from Pro Football Focus:
Passers targeting San Diego Chargers UDFA Terrell Chestnut’s coverage had the second-lowest QB rating (47.8) among Big 12 CBs in this class
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 1, 2016
So why did this man go undrafted?
There are two main answers to this question. One is he was overshadowed by his teammates Joseph and Worley. Joseph, a strong safety, was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 14th overall pick in the first round. Worley, a cornerback, was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 77th overall pick in the third round.
Knee injuries derailed Chestnuts’ freshman and sophomore seasons. He played six games as a freshman and ten games as a sophomore. Chestnut did finish strong, as he did not miss a game in his final two years at West Virginia. His draft stock may have dropped due to injury concerns and overall body of work.
The Chargers may have indeed found another gem, this time on the defensive side of the ball. Chestnut is bound to make the most of his opportunity. This is what he tweeted after signing on the dotted line:
Blessed to say that I have signed a free agent deal and will be joining my brother @Shaqpett_36 with the San Diego Chargers!!!!
— Rell16 (@TChestnut) April 30, 2016
Chestnut will be company on the Chargers as the team also signed his teammate LB Shaq Petteway to an undrafted free-agent contract. Current second-year Chargers’ running back Dreamius Smith was a West Virginia teammate who is very excited to see his running buddies coming to San Diego.
— Dreamius (@dreamius2) May 1, 2016
Here’s hoping that West Virginia chemistry spills over onto the field. Good luck, Terrell!
The Greg One
Opportunity has arrived yet again for former Marshall guard Sebastian Johansson. On April 30, he joined the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted rookie.
Born in Karlstad, Sweden, Johansson started playing football at age 11. He was a member of the Carlstad Crusaders, a team in the Swedish American Football Federation.
In 2009, the young Swede came to the United States as a junior exchange student. While attending Raceland High School in Raceland, KY, he was the center for the Raceland Rams. That year the team had a 12-1 record and went to the regional finals. He completed his senior year in Sweden.
Johansson returned to the U.S. to play collegiate football at Marshall University in West Virginia. He redshirted his first two years because he had to learn the college technique in order to play on the offensive line.
When 2013 came around, “Swede” was named the starting left guard for the Thundering Herd. After hearing he was the starter, Johansson said, “You just have to bring your ‘A’ game, whether it’s practice or a game…I want to bring my ‘A’ game, go hard every rep, there’s never a day off. I’m never going there.” He started all 14 games for Marshall that season.
Well, he’s made it to the professional level now. All the hard work has paid off.
Looking forward to seeing ‘Swede’ and his ‘A’ game when minicamp opens in July. Let the competition begin.
Thanks for reading!