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A Look at the Chargers Initial 53-Man Roster for 2023

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The Chargers initial 53-man roster for 2023 has been set.

There are 25 players on offense, 25 on defense and three specialists among the 53 players. All NFL teams had to get their rosters to 53 players by 1 p.m. (PT) on Tuesday.

It is worth noting that this initial roster could change, but here's a position-by-position look at who made the initial 53.

Note: all players listed alphabetically by last name.

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks (2)

On the Roster: Justin Herbert and Easton Stick

The Bolts are keeping just two quarterbacks for the first time under Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley. Herbert is the centerpiece, of course, to the offense as well as the entire franchise. The quarterback signed a well-deserved, massive multi-year contract extension this offseason that will keep him in powder blue for years to come. Herbert, who has been lauded by teammates and coaches for his growth as a leader, will now look to get the Bolts to the playoffs and make a deep run. Stick, who re-signed this offseason as a free agent, will be Herbert's backup for the first time in his career.

Herbert 53

Running backs (4)

On the Roster: Elijah Dotson, Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller

Ekeler has turned into a touchdown machine with a league-best 38 scores over the past two seasons. He can do it all on the field, whether it's running the ball or catching it (as evident by his franchise-record 107 receptions) a season ago. The running backs will once again be a focal point in the offense, especially under new Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore. Kelley and Spiller return from 2022 to round out this room, and both could provide a boost to the offense. Kelley was the Bolts No. 2 back a year ago and showed promise despite dealing with a midseason knee injury. Spiller could be a name to watch, as he didn't play much as a rookie but has looked like a different player in camp and the preseason. Dotson impressed with a strong preseason, which included a pair of long touchdown runs against the Rams. Moore said last week that the Bolts will likely rely on a multi-pronged attack to jumpstart the run game in 2023.

Ekeler 53

Fullback (1)

On the Roster: Zander Horvath

Horvath was the lone fullback on the roster this offseason after being a 2022 seventh-round pick. He will play a role on offense but will also be called upon to contribute on special teams this season.

Wide receivers (5)

On the Roster: Keenan Allen, Derius Davis, Quentin Johnston, Josh Palmer and Mike Williams

The Bolts are initially keeping the same number of receivers as a year ago. Allen and Williams are the savvy veterans who both bring a different element to the field. Both dealt with injuries at various points in the 2022, but it was Palmer to the rescue as he had 72 catches for 769 yards. He will once again be a vital part of the unit. Johnston is the Chargers 2023 first-round pick who will add a different play-making element to this group. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound rookie has been touted for his ability to create yards after the catch, something the Bolts offense was missing a year ago. Davis will primarily star on special teams as he is in line to be the kickoff and punt returner.

Keenan 53

Tight ends (4)

On the Roster: Gerald Everett, Tre' McKitty, Donald Parham, Jr. and Stone Smartt

Everett is the Bolts top option here. He ended his 2022 season on a high note with a 100-yard performance in the playoffs and is a threat to make things happen after the catch. Parham has struggled with injuries the past two seasons but offers high upside as both a receiving threat and a blocker. McKitty, a 2021 third-round pick, is hoping for a bounce back season after some ups and downs in 2022. Smartt is a former college quarterback who is still learning the position. But he showed flashes in training camp and during preseason play to warrant a spot on the initial 53-man roster. Keep an eye on the run blocking form this group, an area they have emphasized heading into the 2023 season.

Everett 53

Offensive line (9)

On the Roster: Will Clapp, Brenden Jaimes, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jordan McFadden, Trey Pipkins III, Foster Sarell, Jamaree Salyer and Rashawn Slater

The Chargers starting group, from left to right, of Slater, Johnson, Linsley, Salyer and Pipkins has the potential to be among the league's best units. Slater returns after missing most of the 2022 season. Johnson is now at left guard after starting all 17 games at right guard as a rookie. Linsley is still among the league's top centers. Salyer performed admirably at left tackle a year ago but has kicked inside to right guard. And Pipkins re-signed as a free agent after showing plenty of flashes despite a 2022 knee injury. The depth behind that group is solid, too. Clapp and Sarell started multiple games last season, while Jaimes is now entering his third season with the Bolts. McFadden was a 2023 fifth-round pick out of Clemson.

Slater 53

DEFENSE

Defensive line (6)

On the Roster: Morgan Fox, Christopher Hinton, Austin Johnson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Scott Matlock and Nick Williams

This group is led by Joseph-Day, who was a team captain in 2022 and brings energy and experience to the room. He'll be counted upon to lead the group once again along with Fox, who had a career-best 6.5 sacks a year ago and re-signed with the Bolts as a free agent. Johnson will likely start but his health bears monitoring as he is returning from a knee injury suffered midway through the 2022 season. Hinton played well down the stretch in 2022 and earned a spot on the roster with a strong offseason. Williams is a veteran with 80-plus games of experience who will provide crucial depth up front. Matlock flashed plenty of times in the preseason after being a 2023 sixth-round pick. This group will be locked in on helping the defense stop the run, something that's been a talking point for them all offseason.

SJD 53

Outside linebackers (4)

On the Roster: Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Chris Rumph II and Tuli Tuipulotu

Bosa and Mack are back again looking to link up as one of the league's top edge duos. The tandem never got that chance after Bosa missed most of the 2022 season with a groin injury, but each player had added some weight and power to their arsenal as they prepare for a 17-game season. Rumph was one of the preseason standouts and looks to be ready to take a leap forward in his fourth season. Tuipulotu, a 2023 second-round pick, also flashed in preseason play and could be a sneaky impact player as a rookie.

Mack 53

Inside linebackers (5)

On the Roster: Daiyan Henley, Eric Kendricks, Kenneth Murray, Jr., Nick Niemann and Amen Ogbongbemiga

Kendricks is the veteran of the group as he enters his ninth season in the NFL, the first eight of which were with the Vikings. He has been lauded by teammates and coaches for his leadership and communication. Murray put together his best training camp and is healthy as he enters Year 4. Henley was among the Chargers top players in the preseason after being a third-round pick this past spring. He'll likely be a key special teams player this season along with Niemann and Ogbongbemiga, both of whom have excelled in that role in recent years.

Murray 53

Defensive backs (10)

On the Roster: Michael Davis, AJ Finley, Alohi Gilman, J.C. Jackson, Derwin James, Jr., Raheem Layne, Deane Leonard, Asante Samuel, Jr., Ja'Sir Taylor, and JT Woods

This group is broken down with an even split of five cornerbacks and five safeties. The Chargers cornerback group has the potential to be an elite unit if everything clicks. Jackson is the wild card here as he continues to progress from a serious knee injury in 2022. But he also showed glimpses in camp of the elite player he was in recent years. Davis was one of the league's best cornerbacks in the second half of the 2022 season and stood out again over the past month. Samuel was a star in camp and can play both inside and outside. Taylor, a key special teamer in 2022, should have a bigger defensive role this year and can also play multiple cornerback spots. Leonard should shine again on special teams, where he's one of the NFL's top gunners in punt coverage.

JC 53

James headlines the safety group and is one of the most versatile — and hard hitting — players in the entire league. Gilman is slated to start next to James after a strong showing in 2022 that included a start in the postseason. Gilman continue his progression with a strong offseason. Woods is in line to be the team's No. 3 safety, a key role that will get him on the field in certain packages this season. Layne was a solid special teams player in 2022 and will likely be back in that role this season. Finely stood out in camp, especially with a diving interception against the Bolts top offense.

Derwin 53

SPECIAL TEAMS

Specialists (3)

On the Roster: Cameron Dicker, Josh Harris and JK Scott

Dicker won the kicking battle against Dustin Hopkins, who was traded to Cleveland for a 2025 seventh-round pick on Monday. Scott and Harris are veterans who both shined in 2022 as first-year Chargers. This group will be counted upon to lead a phase that improved tremendously a season ago and now look to be consistent again in 2023.

Dicker 53

Presenting the 53-man roster for your 2023 Los Angeles Chargers

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