Chargers UDFA Raheem Layne making case for roster spot

·2 min read

The Chargers are well-known for developing undrafted free agents.

From 1997 to 2020, at least one rookie free agent made the opening day roster. Antonio Gates, Kassim Osgood, Wes Welker, and Austin Ekeler are among the most notable names, but team staples like Stephen Cooper and Mike Tolbert have also found their way onto the squad.

On Saturday, undrafted safety Raheem Layne made his case that he should be the next in that long line of success.

With Derwin James still sitting out while the team negotiates a contract extension and Mark Webb out with an injury, opportunity has been more available at safety. The free agent from Indiana started his day with a pass breakup down the sideline against speedster DeAndre Carter in 1v1s, then perfectly mirrored starting tight end Gerald Everett for another pass deflection. In team period, Layne erased an end around to Carter and held his own in coverage against Jalen Guyton and Donald Parham.

There’s not a lot of room in the secondary, but Layne could be playing his way into making it a difficult decision. Webb has now missed time in both of his pro seasons; as talented as he is, at some point, he has to stay on the field to be fairly evaluated. Alohi Gilman has been a bit of a quieter performer in camp and is no guarantee to make the team despite opening camp with the first teamers.

Is Layne likely to unseat the young veterans for a spot on the 53? Not really. But he could be a valuable practice squad player for a Chargers squad that had to dip into that depth frequently a season ago with a myriad of injuries at safety. So now, there’s reason to be optimistic that Layne could fill in at roughly a replacement level if called upon.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire