Mailbag: Which Young Chargers to Keep an Eye On 

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Q: You mentioned Cardale Jones last week when you answered J.J.’s question, but who are other Chargers you want to see this offseason especially? – Darrell Breasley

A: There are quite a few young players I’m eager to see, but Dylan Cantrell is the first that really pops into my mind. We never really got to see him as his knee injury early in training camp sidelined him throughout the preseason. He then spent most of the year on the practice squad before being a healthy scratch on the active roster. Still, there’s a reason the Bolts selected him in the sixth round a year ago as he’s a physical wide receiver who excels at making the contested catch. Cantrell did just that early in training camp, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on him come OTAs. Another player that popped into my brain was Detrez Newsome. He showcased an explosive running style last summer, and we also saw glimpses of it when his number was called in the regular season. His first real extended action came against the Kansas City Chiefs, and he carried the rock six times for 34 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry in addition to catching two passes for 19 yards. Overall, Newsome totaled 49 yards on only 11 carries, but it was good for a 4.45 yards per carry average.

Q: Combine can’t get here soon enough, man! Me and my brother watch every player and every position and write down our favs. What’s your fav combine workout from one of our Chargers? – Steve Elster

A: Love the passion, Steve! I can’t say I have a personal favorite Combine performance from someone on the team, cause to be honest I tend to forget about the workouts once the week comes to an end. I will, however, share one of my all-time favorite stories. When I was writing the oral history of how the Chargers scouted and drafted Joey Bosa, I had a long sit-down with Tom Telesco. The GM explained how the team coveted Bosa from the get-go, but watching him at the Combine really sealed the deal. That’s because Bosa was ultra-competitive. He simply wanted to be the best at every single drill, and that competitive drive is something you can’t teach. I have to say I agree. You hear so much about players choosing not to compete, run, throw and so on when they are considered one of the top prospects in the country. But Bosa not only wanted to participate, he wanted to dominate. That story still gets me amped up!

Q: When does free agency start? – Deionte Acklery

A: March 13. Come 1:00pm PT that Wednesday, the new league year officially begins, meaning teams are free to sign unrestricted free agents. However, they can re-sign anyone currently on their roster at any time.

Q: Hi Ricky, free agency question here. What position would Tom Telesco most likely address in a big spending way in free agency? And by that, I mean bringing someone new to the team rather than re-signing guys that were already in the team. OL? DT? S? I’m thinking there are a lot of options at the safety position, without even including Adrian Phillips. What do you think? Thank you! – Manuel Chong

A: I know you asked about which position we’d bring someone in who's new to the Bolts, but honestly, there’s no way to answer that question without acknowledging the players who are pending free agents. It’s simple math. The Chargers will obviously look at positions where they have the most players whose contracts are up, and that looks to be the interior defensive line (Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget, Damion Square and Darius Philon) and linebacker (Denzel Perryman, Kyle Emanuel, Hayes Pullard). Now, whether the team opts to re-sign those players or add someone new is not something I’m equipped to answer, but those spots clearly will be addressed via free agency and/or the draft.

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