Q: After missing the majority of last season, will Kyzir White be able to step into the role the team envisioned early on? – Peter Nytz
A: There are always players I’m eager to see throughout the offseason and training camp. This year is no exception as I’ll keep an eye on Artavis Scott, Forrest Lamp, Jaylen Watkins and Dylan Cantrell just to name a few. However, I can’t think of a player I’m more eager to see back on that field than Kyzir White. He really showed out from the moment he arrived, so much so that he earned the starting weakside linebacker spot as a rookie fourth-round pick. Unfortunately, a knee injury cost him virtually the entire year as he didn’t suit up after Week 3. Still, it’s clear this dude’s potential is off the charts. And now he’ll have Thomas Davis at the position to learn from? It really doesn’t get much better than that. So that’s my take on the second-year linebacker, but you should also check out the lengthy comments General Manager Tom Telesco offered about White at the Combine:
“We know he can play, which is good. We didn’t see a whole lot of him, but we saw him in training camp and at the beginning of the year. He won our weak-side outside linebacker spot and played well until he got hurt. He’s on track now. I don’t know exactly as far as where he’ll be in the offseason program when we start in mid-April, but we’re hopeful to see him at some point in the process and he gets right back in the mix again. He has a lot of the traits that we’re looking for in that position. He was a college safety that we projected to linebacker in our scheme. But he has linebacker size. If you look at him, you don’t see a safety. You see a linebacker. But he has range, the speed and the cover ability that we like in that position. The fact that he has a safety background was a big asset for us, and that fact that he’s naturally a physical hitter. So, he had all of the traits of a linebacker. It was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to handle that as quickly as he did, given the fact that he played early for us at a new position, which you don’t see very often. So I give him a lot of credit for that. Hopefully he just keeps coming along from the knee injury and he’s ready to go sometime during OTAs.”
Q: Will the Chargers host a draft party this year? Where?? Last year on Queen Mary was a lot of fun. – Loren Dill
A: There'll be some info coming out on that reaaaaaaaal soon. And you won't be disappointed! Stay tuned.
Q: Are you worried about WR depth after (Tyrell) Williams left? – Charles Peck
A: Not one bit. The Chargers still have three established vets in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. In Allen you have a two-time Pro Bowler who is clearly among the league’s elite. Meanwhile, Williams ranked among the top five wideouts in total touchdowns and Benjamin remains one of the NFL’s biggest speed threats. Behind them you have some intriguing options with a chance to earn a bigger role in 2019. The team brought back Geremy Davis, and he’s a big-bodied wideout who thrives making the contested catch. Then there’s the pair of wideouts I mentioned earlier in Scott and Cantrell. Lynn explained last year that Scott had locked up a roster spot before suffering a knee injury in the final preseason game. The athletic, shifty former Clemson star remains the school’s all-time receptions leader, so there’s a lot of tapped potential there. Meanwhile, Cantrell was a sixth-round pick a year ago who impressed in the opening days of training camp before sustaining a leg injury. He got hurt so early that he never got the chance to even play in a preseason game. Thus, the former Texas Tech stud began the year on the practice squad before being promoted to the active roster toward the end of the season. If he can replicate his college production during the preseason, there’s a clear a path toward significant playing time for Cantrell in 2019.
Q: What are our plans at safety? – Gabriel Gordon
A: I’m sensing a theme here in this week’s mailbag about possible position battles and who to keep an eye on. I love it! The free safety battle is really gonna be a great one. Rayshawn Jenkins proved toward the end of last year that he’s more than capable of manning that spot. Meanwhile, the team made it a priority to bring back Jaylen Watkins, who was in the running to start at free safety a year ago before suffering an ACL injury. Plus, you never know who the team may add yet through free agency, the draft and priority free agents.