2018 Los Angeles Chargers starters, 53-man roster, schedule prediction

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers cut their roster to 53 Saturday. Here’s a look at the depth chart:

Quarterback (2): Philip Rivers, Geno Smith

Smith gives the Chargers an athletic, reliable backup the can run the offense on the oft chance the durable Rivers suffers an injury. After waiving him earlier this week, the Chargers brought back Cardale Jones to the practice squad, where he can continue to develop for another season.

Running back (3): Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Detrez Newsome

Melvin Gordon will be counted on to serve as the workhorse in the backfield, but Ekeler was one of the top performers in training camp.

Fullback (1): Derek Watt

The Wisconsin product has evolved as a pass-catcher and improved as a run blocker.

Wide receiver (6): Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Mike Williams, Geremy Davis, J.J. Jones.

It’s tough to see Artavis Scott placed on the injured reserve for the season with a leg injury, but it opened the door for Jones, an undrafted rookie out of West Georgia who had a 72-yard punt return for a score in the second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Tight end (3): Virgil Green, Antonio Gates, Sean Culkin

The return of Gates in free agency provides an experienced pass-catcher at this position group that knows the offense, while Green adds physicality in the running game.

Tackle (3): Russell Okung, Joe Barksdale, Sam Tevi

Chargers gave up a league-low 18 sacks last season, led by bookend tackles in Okung and Barksdale. Tevi, a sixth-round selection in last year’s draft, is one of the Bolts’ most athletic lineman.

Guard (3): Dan Feeney, Michael Schofield, Forrest Lamp

Lamp saw his first action since suffering an ACL knee injury in training camp last year in the final preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, and appeared to get through the game healthy. Schofield remains the starter at right guard for now, but could get pushed for time by Lamp. However, Schofield also provides versatility as a swing tackle.

Center (3): Mike Pouncey, Scott Quessenberry, Cole Toner

The Chargers believe the addition of Pouncey will help them run the football more effectively and provide more leadership to a young offensive line room.

Defensive line (9): Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Brandon Mebane, Darius Philon, Damion Square, Justin Jones, Chris Landrum, Isaac Rochell, T.Y. McGill

Starting defensive tackle Corey Liuget will begin the season on the suspended list due to a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, so the Chargers have little depth at this position.

Inside linebacker (3): Denzel Perryman, Nick Dzubnar, Emmanuel Ellerbee

Perryman is one of the team's best run defenders and a leader on defense. The Chargers are hopeful the Miami product can play a full, 16-game season for the first time in his four-year pro career. Dzubnar remains the team's best special teams player.

Outside linebacker (4): Uchenna Nwosu, Kyzir White, Jatavis Brown, Kyle Emanuel

The Chargers are much more athletic at this position group with the addition of Nwosu and White through the draft. Emanuel can play both inside and outside linebacker.

Cornerback (6): Casey Hayward, Trevor Williams, Michael Davis, Desmond King, Craig Mager, Brandon Facyson

Besides receiver, cornerback is one of the deepest position groups on the roster. King, who will serve as the team’s slot defender in passing situations, also can play safety.

Safety (4): Jahleel Addae, Derwin James Jr., Rayshawn Jenkins, Adrian Phillips

Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is excited about the versatility and playmaking ability James brings to his defense. Phillips also is a versatile performer.

Specialists (3): Drew Kaser (P), Caleb Sturgis (K), Mike Windt (LS)

Kaser proved last year that he has one of the most talented legs in the league. Now he just has to be more consistent in critical situations, including his role as the team’s holder. Sturgis won a training camp kicking battle with Roberto Aguayo, proving that he’s fully healthy after missing most of last season with a hip issue. In 62 career games over five seasons with the Miami Dolphins and Eagles, Sturgis converted 81 percent of his field goals with a career-long of 55.