Just when the letdown of the 2013 NFL Draft coming to an end gets you down, the flurry of undrafted free agent signings swoops in to brighten the mood. That is especially true if you are a fan of the San Diego Chargers who many people feel landed some of the top undrafted prizes from the 2013 class. After getting supreme value in the first three rounds of the draft with projected first rounders falling into their laps, the Bolts were able to snag a few more gems in the aftermath of the draft mayhem.
Here is a full list of the players signed by the Chargers from the undrafted pool.
Jahleel Addae, DB, Central Michigan
Nick Becton, OT, Virginia Tech
Frank Beltre, LB, Towson
Greg Brown, DB, Kansas
Ben Cotton, TE, Nebraska
Marcus Cromartie, CB, Wisconsin
Courtney Gardner, WR, Sierra College (Calif.)
Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia
Michael Hill, RB, Missouri Western
Byron Jerideau, NT, South Carolina
Josh Johnson, DB , Purdue
Richard Kent, P, Vanderbilt
Jamarkus McFarland, DE, Oklahoma
Daniel Molls, LB, Toledo
Brandon Moore, DE, Texas
Kenny Okoro, CB, Wake Forest
Randy Richards, OT, Missouri State
David Rolf, TE, Utah
Devan Walker, LB, SE Louisiana
Let’s just get this out of the way now. This group of undrafted players may be the most talented of any collection in the history of the undrafted. Guys like Courtney Gardner and Kwame Geathers could be the gems of the undrafted free agents that the Bolts landed, but Kenny Okoro and Ben Cotton also offer serious value to this team.
Starting with Gardner, he’s 6’3” 220lbs. and a junior college player who was expected to suit up for Oklahoma in the coming year. Due to academic issues he opted instead to head for the draft and join the professional ranks. He has a huge frame that allows him to dominate smaller DBs, but focus on the field could be an issue as his academic problems indicate. If the Bolts can keep him on task, his 10.7 second time in the 100m dash could really benefit a receiver deprived depth chart.
Geathers is massive at 6’5” 342lbs., and he has bloodlines working in his favor with his two brothers, Clifton and Robert, already in the league. He has amazing power, uses his hands very well fighting in the trenches, and when he stays sound in terms of technique, there may not be a better nose tackle in this entire draft. The problem is laziness crept in far too often causing inconsistencies in his film which is probably the reason for his fall. If the Bolts can keep him motivated, this could be a tremendous addition for depth purposes along the defensive front.
With Okoro, he was a guy I had pegged as a fifth or sixth rounder so adding him as an undrafted signee is a huge perk. He’s a solid cover guy who could really thrive with minimal seasoning at the next level. As for Cotton, he is a terrific blocker who plays like an extra tackle at times showing great understanding of blocking concepts. That will really benefit a San Diego team that broke down in pass protection so often a year ago. At 6’6” 255lbs., the frame is certainly ideal for the NFL, and he could be the next big time undrafted tight end for the Bolts following in Antonio Gates’s footsteps.
It may be seen as a bit unreasonable to get this excited about undrafted free agents, but the potential of these additions for the Chargers is undeniable. If the Bolts can give these guys time to develop, they could wind up with starters a year or two down the line. What this all breaks down to is that General Manager Tom Telesco gets an “A” for his first draft with the team. This class has potential to spark the rebuild into high gear in year one.