LB Jyles Tucker (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
Undrafted rookies have little to no chance to stick on the active roster in San Diego, not when the team is so deep that only two of its five draft picks are considered locks to make the team. That means those in the undrafted ranks are eyeballing spots on the practice squad. Samantha Fillerup identifies three players most likely to earn such an invite.
1. OT Tyler Luellen
Luellen was signed as an undrafted free agent and is very athletic and able to move in space. He is great at protecting the quarterback but needs to be more physical as a run blocker. He is fast and plays with good leverage but needs to work on his strength and muscle definition.
He started four years at at Missouri program that finished sixth in the nation last season, even holding the No. 1 spot at one time. During last season at Missouri, he played a key role as their offense rushed for 2,467 yards and passed for 4,397 yards.
Luellen has endured injuries in the past with his knee and shoulder, but it has been a while since his last surgery. If he proves fit and disciplined in his technique, his will be a strong candidate for the practice squad, possible ahead of even seventh-round draft pick Corey Clark.
In fact, here's what Scout.com Draft Analyst Chris Steuber had to say about the competition between Luellen and Clark:
"Corey Clark and Tyler Luellen have flaws, but they possess the physical tools necessary to become NFL starters. They’re similar in stature and in play, but it will come down to who fits the offense the best. They’re both pass protectors and have to improve their run blocking. If I had to take a guess at which one has the best chance at developing into a starter, I’d favor Luellen."
2. NT Lamar Divens
Divens is competing for playing time as a backup nose tackle. He signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee State and is an unconditional force in the middle. He is well equipped with large size (6'3", 333 lbs.), a positive attitude and a diligent work ethic.
During his final collegiate season, he recorded 48 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and six sacks. He is very adept at stopping the run and chases down plays from behind with a vengeance. He has impressive raw skills, but is very coachable and can be molded to fit the needs of the team.
Divens plans on learning not only from Defensive Line Coach Wayne Nunnely, but from All Pro nose tackle Jamal Williams.
"I’m going to seize the opportunity, because I know that opportunity doesn’t come any time I’d like, so I’m going to do the best I can to make the best of the situation," said Divens of learning from Williams.
3. FS Brian Bonner
Bonner hails comes from Texas Christian University, which is also the alma mater of teammate LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers actually have some open space in their safety rotation, but Bonner will have to up his game if he's to fill the void as a rookie. Bonner is competitive, a student of the game and has a striking work ethic. He has a desire to win and be extraordinary at what he does.
Having played quarterback in high school, Bonner loves to have the ball in his hands and is a playmaker. He is humble and ready to make contributions on the field wherever he can. He is multi-talented and picked up 535 yards as a kick returner last season. As a free safety, he had 56 solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one pick.
TCU Safeties Coach Chad Glasgow insists Bonner has a future with the Chargers.
"Brian is there for a mission and that’s the only thing that matters," Glasgow said. "I bet Brian is so focused in San Diego that he only knows how to get to his house and how to get to the practice facility. He is completely focused on making this team."