Releasing a preseason depth chart seems about as productive as preseason college football rankings, but teams continue to insist on doing these irrelevant rituals for some reason. The San Diego Chargers are included amongst the teams that released a first look at their depth chart to begin the week, and there are some surprises to be sure.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the fact that free agent addition Danny Woodhead is listed third on the team’s depth chart at running back. Whether that is a motivational move by head coach Mike McCoy or not remains to be seen, but Woodhead is behind Ryan Mathews and veteran Ronnie Brown at the moment. All three are sure to see some work once the regular season arrives, but the fact that Woodhead seemed to be brought in to push Mathews and is now listed third is a bit odd.
Next on the list of discouraging things is an expected development with the $5 million man Robert Meachem listed as a third-string wide receiver. Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander are the top two as expected with Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown listed as the twos. Meachem and rookie Keenan Allen are basically on level ground as the preseason begins which is disgusting for a player getting paid so much money in guarantees. There’s no doubt his contract will continue to hamstring the Chargers into the future.
After receiving the bulk of the first-string reps during practices, King Dunlap is listed as the top left tackle currently with veteran Max Starks behind him on the chart. This battle will likely last until the final preseason game so there’s no need to jump to any conclusions yet. It will be interesting to see if Dunlap can hold off Starks and just how that plays into the blocking style that the Bolts will run in 2013.
On the other side of the ball, rookie Manti Te’o is listed as a starting inside linebacker alongside Donald Butler as expected. The former Notre Dame All-American has demonstrated great leadership in camp and appears to be having zero ill-effects from the catfish scam that made him famous – or rather infamous – following the conclusion of the collegiate season.
Two other areas of interest are the starting cornerback and safety gigs. Obviously Eric Weddle will hold down his free safety spot in the secondary, but Marcus Gilchrist is the top strong safety and will try his hand there after spending his first two seasons in San Diego at corner. The starting corners are listed as free agent acquisition Derek Cox and incumbent Shareece Wright. This entire secondary will have to prove itself during the preseason before these positions can be set in stone.
Aside from the continued disappointment in Meachem and the surprising development with Woodhead, things appear to be as expected with the Chargers depth chart. Hopefully the preseason shows just why the team projected things this way from the get-go and this San Diego team shows some real promise for the 2013 campaign.