Whether in the A.J. Smith era or the Tom Telesco era, the San Diego Chargers always seem to find undrafted gems who impress enough to make the team. 2013 is no different as two undrafted rookies made their way onto San Diego’s 53-man roster.
To no real surprise, undrafted rookie nose tackle Kwame Geathers was one of them. Geathers certainly has the bloodlines, with his father and uncle being successful NFL players as well as two brothers currently in the league. But it was his play, not his name, that helped him earn a roster spot. In preseason, Geathers made a number of good plays, holding his ground at the point of attack, driving offensive linemen backwards, and dominating at times when single blocked. Geathers also blocked a field goal in the third preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Chargers don’t have much at nose tackle and Geathers will likely get plenty of playing time in a rotation. Nose tackle Cam Thomas is a first-year starter, who has shown glimpses and has excelled as a pass rusher but has actually struggled against the run at times in his career. Meanwhile, Geathers is primarily a run-stopping space eater, who should be able to complement Thomas and rotate in on running downs.
The other undrafted rookie may need to prove himself on special teams in 2013 to eventually get playing time on defense. Safety Jahleel Addae turned heads early in minicamp and had a pretty impressive offseason with the team. However, Addae didn’t have the greatest preseason, especially in special teams, which is exactly where he’ll have to make his living early on. The two blocked punts this preseason were on Addae, who couldn’t block the defenders one-on-one. He also missed an open field tackle against the San Francisco 49ers that resulted in a long touchdown. Still, the Chargers have been impressed with the speed at which he plays as well as the energy he brings to the defense.
Undrafted rookie defensive end Brandon Moore originally made the 53-man squad, but was cut one day later to make room for more experienced defensive linemen Sean Lissemore and Drake Nevis. If he clears waivers, Moore will likely be added to the practice squad.