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10 Chargers to Watch vs. the Saints
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The Los Angeles Chargers continue preseason play tonight against the New Orleans Saints. How many snaps each player will receive is unknown, but here are 10 players to keep your eye on throughout the game:
CB Desmond King – The fifth-round pick turned in a memorable pro debut, recording an interception and forced fumble in the preseason opener. Playing nickel corner and safety, King saw action with the first-team defense during practice this week, continuing to turn heads with plays like his pick-six on Thursday. Another strong performance against the Saints could go a long way toward the Iowa product carving out a meaningful role come Week 1 in Denver.
DE Chris McCain – McCain is another young defensive player who turned heads last week. Blessed with tremendous speed (4.5 40-yard dash) and size (6-5, 236 pounds), the former Saint and Dolphin looks to find a permanent home with the Bolts at the LEO position.
TE Sean Culkin – Young players must seize opportunity when it presents itself, and that’s exactly what Culkin did in the preseason opener. With Jeff Cumberland and Sean McGrath banged up, and Asante Cleveland placed on the reserve-injured list, the undrafted free agent out of Missouri proved to be a capable blocker in the preseason opener. With starters such as Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry expected to see limited snaps once again, the hulking 6-5, 255-pound Culkin should once again have an opportunity to make his mark.
WR Artavis Scott – Perhaps no Charger enters tonight’s game off a better week of practice than the undrafted rookie out of Clemson. Capable of playing on the boundary or in the slot, Scott made a number of acrobatic snares this week, showing how he became the school’s all-time receptions leader.
LB Nick Dzubnar – The third-year linebacker is one of two players thrust into the spotlight with Denzel Perryman out for several weeks after undergoing ankle surgery. A special teams standout as a rookie in 2015, Dzubnar missed most of last season with an ACL injury. All eyes will be on the L.A. native to see how he fits in with the first-team defense against the Saints.
LB Korey Toomer – Like Dzubnar, Toomer will be called upon to fill in for Perryman. However, he will be called upon more on passing downs as the veteran is known for his speed and athleticism. How the Bolts rotate Toomer and Dzubnar against New Orleans should give us a good idea how the team will operate going forward.
RB Austin Ekeler – Head Coach Anthony Lynn praised the shifty undrafted rookie following another strong practice on Friday. A 5-9, 195-pound product out of Western State, Ekeler is a dual-threat aiming to carve out a role on the ground as well as in the passing game.
CB Michael Davis – After turning heads throughout the offseason and beginning of training camp, the undrafted free agent was disappointed in his preseason debut. Now, Davis has a second chance against the Saints to prove what he can do under the bright lights.
QB Cardale Jones – It was baptism by fire for Jones, who was 2-for-9 for 50 yards in his Chargers debut after spending only two weeks in the system. With another week of practice under his belt, the hope is that the former Ohio State star can elevate his game.
P Drew Kaser – Lynn noted the punter competition has been one of the best of training camp, and the second-year punter put his best foot forward in the preseason opener. Showcasing his powerful leg, Kaser averaged 57.0 yards on three punts with a long of 60. Meanwhile, Toby Baker had an impressive showing as well, averaging 45.7 yards on three punts with a long of 55 while landing one inside the 20.