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5 Chargers to Watch in the Preseason Finale vs. 49ers


The Chargers preseason finale kicks off Friday night on the road against the 49ers.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (PT) from Levi's Stadium.

Here are five players to keep an eye on:

1. Mark Webb, Jr.

Webb has flashed throughout camp, with the highlight being a pick-6 in the night scrimmage earlier this month.

That shouldn't be a surprise, as the 2021 seventh-round safety has shown his potential in each of the past three training camps.

But he's also dealt with injuries, too, at various points in his career.

Webb was dinged up earlier this month and didn't play in the Saints preseason game but returned to practice this week.

Webb's performance against the 49ers will be a final chance to show he deserves a spot on this year's roster. The Bolts have their starters in place with Derwin James, Jr. and Alohi Gilman, and JT Woods is in line to be the third safety in such packages.

The Chargers also like Raheem Layne for his work on special teams. Perhaps the final safety spot on the roster is between Layne and Webb? Or maybe the Bolts keep five safeties, with Webb nabbing the final spot?

"He's got to play in this next game," Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said. "This is going to be a great game for him against [49ers Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and his group and the way they play. I think it's an important evaluation for Mark, but I'm glad he's going to be out there for the game."

Check out the best photos from the eighteenth and final day of Training Camp 2023 practices

2. John Hightower

The Chargers wide receiver room is among the deepest and most talented groups across the league.

But with the Bolts airing it out more in camp, could the Chargers keep six wide receivers this season?

The first five spots are set in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer, plus rookies Quentin Johnston and Derius Davis.

The sixth spot could be a battle between Hightower and Keelan Doss, both of whom have had their strong moments in camp. Jalen Guyton, by the way, remains on the PUP list.

"I think that it's the deepest receiver group that we've had in a training camp since I've been here," Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said. "The quality with the second and third group has been the best since I've been here. It gives our quarterbacks a chance.

"It allows us, also, to keep that first group fresh — Keenan, Mike, Josh, that group of guys," Staley added. "It allows them to stay fresh, too, because we have more quality legs. All of those guys have been making plays throughout camp."

3. Scott Matlock

Matlock has shown enough in training camp and the preseason that he is expected to land on the 53-man roster.

The rookie sixth-round picks has stood out in the run game and even showed off his athleticism by chasing down a screen on a key third down against the Saints.

Sebastian Joseph-Day and Morgan Fox are key players up front, and Nick Williams provides veteran depth, too. Austin Johnson is a starter when healthy and seems to be trending in the right direction in that aspect.

With all that said, Matlock could carve out a role for himself with another strong preseason game, especially with how much of an emphasis the Chargers are placing on stopping the run this season.

4. Brenden Jaimes

The Chargers starting five up front is set with Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jamaree Salyer and Trey Pipkins III.

The real storyline is among the depth positions, where the Chargers could only keep four linemen for a total of nine.

Will Clapp and Foster Sarell both started multiple games last year and figure to be back on the roster. A trio of intriguing names behind them include Jaimes, Zack Bailey and rookie Jordan McFadden.

Jaimes has appeared in 23 games for the Bolts over the past two seasons and provides solid depth. But it will be a numbers game up front, meaning multiple linemen are trying to earn the final few spots on the roster.

5. Cameron Dicker

The name above could easily be swapped out with Dustin Hopkins.

With roster cutdown day coming on Tuesday, the Chargers will soon have to choose between the two kickers on their roster.

Dicker has been stellar all camp, making 62 of 68 field goals in practice. He's also been perfect in preseason games, hitting five extra points and a pair of field goals.

Hopkins dealt with an undisclosed injury earlier in camp but kicked in the second preseason game, making one field goal and an extra point.

He then kicked in Wednesday's practice, making all four kicks. Hopkins has now made 22 of 28 field goals in camp.

Both players are more than capable of handling the kicking job for the Chargers in 2023, but only one will make the roster.

Staley on Wednesday gave insight on that that decision will be made.

"I think it's a combination of factors," Staley said. "I think their performance on game day ... in the NFL during the regular season and postseason.

"Then, what we've seen in practice. We have to factor all of that in," Staley added. "I think it's a good, tough problem to have, that we have two kickers that are quality kickers in the National Football League, who have both proven themselves. Again, we have some time to make that one."

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