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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

Chargers announce their player roster for the 2023 Season

 

August 31, 2023

The Los Angeles Chargers have announced their initial 53-man roster for the 2023 season, effective at 1:00 pm PST, Tuesday, August 30th. Below is the initial 53-man roster:

Quarterback (2): Justin Herbert, Easton Stick

The Chargers were never going to keep 7th round pick Max Duggan. They have signed him to the practice squad, but he is a developmental project.

Running Back (4): Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson,

Dotson made the squad as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Colorado. He ran hard and has good quickness. Horvath is the lone fullback on the roster. The Chargers have run the ball well in preseason games. They have incorporated a one cut, downhill running style into their running attack under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Wide Receiver (5): Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis

The Chargers decided to go with five wide receivers on the roster, at least for now. If everyone stays healthy, they will be fine. They have added speed with first round pick Johnson and fourth round pick Davis, both out of TCU.

Keelan Doss, who was a surprise cut after a productive training camp, was signed to the practice squad. Jalen Guyton is on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and will not be available until Week 6.

Tight End (4): Gerald Everett, Donald Parham, Tre’ McKitty, Stone Smartt

Smartt has looked good in preseason and may develop into a receiving option for Herbert. His run blocking has improved. Parham has struggled with injuries and drops, but the upside is there. In three seasons with the Chargers, he has started in 15 games and caught seven touchdown passes.

McKitty, a third-round selection in the 2021 NFL draft, was the lowest rated tight end in the NFL by PFF (Pro Football Focus) in 2022 and he has not looked good in training camp. Everett is the starter, and he does have his moments, but he also tied for the league lead in drops in 2022 with seven. Hunter Kampmoyer was cut but added back to the practice squad. He could see action during the season.

Offensive Line (9): Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jamaree Salyer, Trey Pipkins, Foster Sarell, Brenden Jaimes, Jordan McFadden, Will Clapp

Jaimes beat out Zach Bailey for a spot on the roster, which was a bit of a surprise. The Chargers have a very young and very good offensive line. The depth has improved. Starting left tackle Slater is 24 years of age, starting right guard Salyer is 23, starting left guard Johnson is 23, and starting right tackle Pipkins will be 27 on opening day. Pro Bowl center Linsley is the old man on the line at 32 years of age. Bailey was added back to the practice squad.

Interior Defensive Linemen (6): Sebastian Joseph-Day, Austin Johnson, Morgan Fox, Scott Matlock, Christopher Hinton, Nick Williams

Second-year tackle Otitio Ogbonnia from UCLA is on the PUP list and will not be available to play until Week 6 at the earliest. Matlock, selected in the 6th round out of Boise State in this year’s draft, has had a very good training camp. This is a solid veteran group with depth.

Outside Linebackers/Edge Rushers (4): Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Tuli Tuipulotu, Chris Rumph II

Tuipulotu was selected in the second round by the Chargers and has had a good training camp. The former USC star led FBS football in sacks in 2022 and has not slowed down in the preseason. Rumph was a fourth-round selection in 2021 and continues to improve. Bosa and Mack are All-Pro’s and among the best at their position. This is a very strong group.

Inside Linebackers (5): Eric Kendricks, Kenneth Murray, Daiyan Henley, Nick Niemann, Amen Ogbongbemiga

The addition of the veteran Kendricks through free agency is a big upgrade for the defensive unit. The former UCLA star is a tackling machine and the leader the Chargers needed in the middle of their defense. Kendricks was a 2019 All-Pro selection with the Minnesota Vikings.

The athletic Niemann is a special teams star and Ogbongbemiga is a solid reserve who also contributes on special teams. Murray is beginning to look like the player that the Chargers drafted in the first round in 2020 out of Oklahoma. Henley, selected in third round out of Washington State, adds depth at linebacker and looks like a future star at linebacker. He has been a star in the 2023 training camp.

Cornerbacks (5): J.C. Jackson, Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr., Ja’Sir Taylor, Deane Leonard

Leonard looked good in training camp. Jackson is coming back from a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee. Samuel is a rising star. His three interceptions in the playoff game against Jacksonville in the playoffs are a sign of things to come. This is a good group of cornerbacks that will get even better if Jackson can completely recover from his injury and get back to the All-Pro level of play he displayed with the New England Patriots in 2022.

Safeties (5): Derwin James, Alohi Gilman, JT Woods, Raheem Layne, AJ Finley

James and Gilman are the starters, with James lining up all over the field. He is the best defensive player on a team filled with good defensive talent. The safety group is an athletic group, with the one question being tackling consistency.

Special Teams (3): Cameron Dicker, JK Scott, Josh Harris

Cameron Dicker officially won the kicking job when the Chargers traded Dustin Hopkins to the Cleveland Browns for a 7th round draft pick in 2025. This was a very close competition, and it was good to see that the Chargers were able to find a starting job in the NFL for Hopkins, a good kicker and a good guy.

Defensively, the Chargers look like a top ten defense. They are finally getting comfortable in head coach Brandon Staley’s defense and have the talent and depth to implement his vision on defense. Offensively, this is a top ten offense if they can run the ball and stay healthy.

The special team’s coverage has been good in preseason, Scott has been booming punts and Dicker has been consistent. Davis will return punts and kickoffs, something he does very well. At TCU, Davis returned five punts for touchdowns and one kickoff for a touchdown in his college career.

The Chargers added inside linebacker Tanner Muse on Wednesday, August 31st, and waived Horvath. Muse was a third-round pick of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. He played his college ball at Clemson.

 

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