The kick-off of the NFL regular season is now officially just one week away. The Los Angeles Chargers will join the other 31 teams in the NFL to take part in their final game of the preseason on Thursday night.
Shortly after, every team in the NFL will need to buckle down and make some tough decisions on who to release before the regular season begins. Every team in the NFL has until 4 pm Eastern time on August 31st to make the final touches to their rosters to cut it down from 90 players to just 53.
Therefore, the last week of the preseason is essentially an audition of sorts for some of the players vying for a roster spot. The Chargers may release some players but those same players could be creating tape to create an opportunity for themselves with another team.
The Chargers have yet to win a game this preseason but Anthony Lynn’s focus is on getting one last look at certain players who are on the ‘bubble’ of making the team. This week, those players will get their chance to make a lasting impression with the Chargers against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here are three key players to watch in the Chargers’ preseason finale versus the 49ers.
3. Artavis Scott
The Chargers will need to replace Tyrell Williams’ production after the speedy wide receiver left for the division-rival Oakland Raiders this offseason. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Travis Benjamin are atop the depth chart but other guys will undoubtedly receive opportunities.
One player who could see his role increase as the season progresses is Artavis Scott. The Chargers brought Scott into the organization in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson but has failed to see the field yet.
This year could be different for Scott as he seems to be in a decent position to make the 53-man roster. Over the course of the preseason, the 24-year old receiver has hauled in nine receptions for 133 yards in three games.
Clemson tends to produce talented wide receivers and Scott may become the next one to receive a chance to flash his potential in the NFL.
On Thursday night, Scott could use another productive performance to solidify his status as a player who should make the active roster.
2. Jerry Tillery
Last season, the Chargers boasted the ninth-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. However, you can never be content in the NFL and they decided to improve their run defense this offseason.
In this year’s draft, Los Angeles selected Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame with the 28th overall pick. The 6-foot-6, nearly 300-pound defensive tackle is set to become the team’s run-stuffing extraordinaire beside Brandon Mebane this year.
At Notre Dame, Tillery showcased his defensive prowess with 12.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles in his final two seasons. Tillery has begun to show his ability to rush the passer and if he can dial it up, Los Angeles should have one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing units in 2019.
The rookie defensive tackle has played in two preseason games and has accounted for two tackles and a sack so far.
If the Chargers give him some playing time on Thursday night against the 49ers, he’ll give one last glimpse of what’s to come in the regular season.
1. Easton Stick
The Chargers are undeniably set at their starting quarterback and backup quarterback positions with Philip Rivers and Tyrod Taylor. Behind them, rookie Easton Stick and Ohio State alumn Cardale Jones are competing for the third spot on the depth chart.
During this year’s draft, Stick was chosen by the Chargers in the fifth round out of North Dakota State. As many know, that is the same college that Carson Wentz played for before being selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
In the past two seasons as the starter at North Dakota State, Stick compiled 5,218 yards and 28 touchdowns with his arm. The Chargers rookie passer also showed off his wheels in his last two seasons in college with 1,340 yards and 29 touchdowns combined on the ground.
Stick has showcased his dual-threat ability in the preseason in his first three preseason games in the NFL. The Chargers quarterback has thrown for 222 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions while rushing for 65 yards and two touchdowns as well.
The rookie out of North Dakota State should ‘stick’ with the roster with a decent performance in the Chargers’ preseason finale.