Which Chargers Rookie Stands The Best Chance At Earning A Starting Job?

With so much talent already on the roster, the San Diego Chargers typically aren't a team that needs to start their young players right away. Always "prepared for bear", as General Manager AJ Smith likes to say, the Chargers prefer to rely on their veterans to start, and will slowly work in their younger players as they mature in their development. However, there will be spots on the depth chart were heated battles will take place, and a rookie or two just might emerge from competition for a starting job for the Bolts.

Let's take a look at four rookies who have a legitimate shot at earning a starting job some point into the 2009 season:


Vaughn Martin will look to compete for a starting job opposite Luis Castillo at the 5 technique. Physically, Martin is NFL-ready so the only obstacle to his accession up the depth charts will be how quickly he can pick up the defense. Martin knows what kind of challenge it will be to compete in the National Football League but as he said himself, "it's just a matter of getting in the playbook."


On the offensive side of the line, Louis Vasquez has impressed his coaches and has the physical tools to be a dominant blocker. He has the Right Guard position in his sights, but as it stands currently, Kynan Forney is penciled in as the starter. Forney has the advantage of being a 9-year veteran of the NFL, and since he spent 2008 on San Diego's roster, he should already know the playbook intimately. But as Coach Turner told me "It’s about endurance, understanding leverage and angles, your ability to work with the guy next to you. The right guard battle is shaping up to be a good one, but we’ve got several guys who will compete for backup spots, for roster spots and for the opportunity to be one of the 45 guys that dress on Sunday."


As far as the secondary is concerned, the front office and coaching staff made it very clear this offseason that they want to upgrade at the Safety position. They have been publicly pleased and encouraged with Eric Weddle's development, but do they feel Clinton Hart is on the downside of his career? If so, Kevin Ellison seems to be champing at the bit for a chance to compete and the coaches are really liking what they've seen out of him thus far. Says Head Coach Norv Turner, "He's moving around awfully well. Again, when the pads go on it will give him a chance to make that much more of an impression. I think he'll be a factor on our football team and has a chance to be in our nickel package early and could compete for a starting job."


Larry English is the team's top draft pick but probably has the least chance of being a full-time starter at SAM linebacker. The Chargers, with almost an embarrassment of riches at outside linebacker, already have Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips playing full-time. English will, however, see the field...and plenty of it. Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera is working on a number of different packages in which he'll get Merriman, Phillips, and English on the field at the same time. With the established Merriman and Phillips likely drawing most of the attention, the Chargers are hoping to get English matched up in situations where he can bring heat on the Quarterback. Because of the stout defense around him, Larry English might only be a situational pass rusher but with enough sacks under his belt he could find himself in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race.

July 16, 2009

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Anonymous said... Jul 16, 2009, 9:18:00 PM

"Kevin Ellison seems to be chopping at the bit for a chance to compete"

It's chomping at the bit. Horses don't chop at their bits with an axe. They chomp the bit with their teeth. Someone needs to stop impersonating a beat writer and go back to junior college.

Rob Zepeda said... Jul 16, 2009, 9:30:00 PM

Actually its "champing at the bit"

Thanks for being a hater though! Appreciate it!

Anonymous said... Jul 17, 2009, 10:12:00 AM

Wow... It's pretty funny when the insult is completely wrong... And what's with the "axe" reference...

v. champed, champ·ing, champs
To bite or chew upon noisily. See Synonyms at bite.
To work the jaws and teeth vigorously.
champ at the bit"
To show impatience at being held back or delayed.

Anonymous said... Jul 17, 2009, 1:33:00 PM

That S**T is funny.. what a d-bag

Anonymous said... Jul 17, 2009, 11:58:00 PM

Hilarious!! Statement "Someone needs to stop impersonating a beat writer and go back to junior college" morphed from snarky reprimand to self-parody in only 6 words! “Go back to junior college” indeed; where no doubt you will be “chumping’ at the bit”, to use their dicktionaries.

Anonymous said... Jul 18, 2009, 12:24:00 PM

Kevin Ellison will be a starter!

Anonymous said... Jul 18, 2009, 1:56:00 PM

Hey great article. I think all four could end up starters this year, especially since they might want to move Shaun Phillips around more and putting Merriman and English as the outside pass rushers.

Anonymous said... Jul 18, 2009, 4:08:00 PM

I'm glad all you beat writer impersonators have such a large following- must be doing something right.

I'm leaning toward Vasquez. He is more NFL ready than Martin or Ellison, and RG is up for grabs.

Anonymous said... Jul 20, 2009, 9:27:00 AM

Who stands the best chance? I look at it like this: which rookie seems to have the skill required in order to dethrone the imcumbent?

Obviously, we'll know lots more as training camp gets under way, but I say it's between Ellison and Martin.

Ellison seems to have good ball sense and the grit required to play as an NFL safety. Hart, as we saw, with his injury and loss of speed, might have already played his last game as a starter.

As for DE, I am not psyched about Bingham or Cesaire as starters. Both do well in situations, but I have a hunch that Martin possesses the whole package.

Mark said... Jul 20, 2009, 9:34:00 AM

I personally prefer the term "foaming at the mouth" to "chompin' on the bit"

Anonymous said... Jul 20, 2009, 4:39:00 PM

I am so fucking phyced for this season

Go CHARGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said... Jul 22, 2009, 5:01:00 PM

Chargers just lookin pretty darn good.

San Diego Chargers said... Jul 27, 2009, 1:56:00 AM

Good work! I really like LOUIS VASQUEZ. He can turn the tables for chargers.

Anonymous said... Jul 31, 2009, 11:46:00 AM

My vote is for Luis Vasquez. Mexicans are really good at breaking through barriers. GO CHARGERS

Anonymous said... Aug 1, 2009, 5:19:00 PM

mexicans are really good at breaking through barriers?

FUCK YOU you racist fuck. FUCK the chargers also

Anonymous said... Aug 3, 2009, 7:20:00 PM

i love how one missed spelled word brings out the douche bag grammar patroll.

keep up the good work Rob

Anonymous said... Aug 20, 2009, 4:14:00 PM

chargers are not going to the super bowl so you all need to stop trippin

Anonymous said... Aug 22, 2009, 8:02:00 AM

The RAIDERS SUCK, and they always will, ass long ass Al D is the leader they do not have a chance. And Oh!!!! yes just watch the BOLTS go all he way, how can a team that is stacked as they are not go all the way, it will be fun to watch the Braiders go to the celler early again this year, it sucks to be you. Go BOLTS......

Anonymous said... Aug 22, 2009, 8:06:00 AM

Whats with the swearing, only true idiots use this kind of language, must be Raider fans, it fits, the team from SD will be responcible for two smack downs against the Silver and Slack. Man it sucks to be a raider fan, BIG TIME, you suck...

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