Projecting the roles of the Chargers 2021 NFL draft class

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In the 2021 NFL draft, the Chargers selected nine players.

Here, we will look at each of Los Angeles’ additions and project their roles as rookies.

OT Rashawn Slater

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Slater was drafted in the first-round in hopes of being the long-term answer at left tackle, which is where he will open the season at. Barring any injury, he will be a mainstay as quarterback Justin Herbert's blindside blocker.

CB Asante Samuel Jr.

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Samuel Jr. will be the team's No. 3 cornerback opposite Michael Davis on the outside in sub-packages. When the team goes with their base defense (which does not occur often) he will slide in as the slot corner while Chris Harris Jr. mans the boundary.

WR Josh Palmer

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Under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, Palmer will serve as an outside receiver, with the ability to move into the slot to win matchups against nickel corners and linebackers. Jalen Guyton or Tyron Johnson will likely enter the season as WR3, but Palmer will still see the field quite a bit when they roll with physicality rather than speed.

TE Tre McKitty

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McKitty was drafted to serve as the "Y" tight end, a staple in Lombardi's offense. He will play significant snaps as an in-line blocker, complimenting the pass-catchers, Jared Cook and Donald Parham. McKitty could still make an impact as a receiver, but he will make the majority of his money as a blocker in the run game from the get-go.

EDGE Chris Rumph II

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Rumph's lack of size and ability to make an impact in the run game limits him in the early going of his career. However, his skillset as a high-end pass rusher will allow him to come on the field on third downs, where he will either come off the edge or be disguised across the formation to get the quarterback. His athleticism and competitiveness will allow him to play on special teams.

OT Brenden Jaimes

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The majority of Jaimes' playing time in college came at left tackle, but his best football at the next level might come at guard. He will be in competition for the starting right guard spot with Oday Aboushi as well as the swing tackle spot with Trey Pipkins in camp. At the end of the day, Jaimes will likely start his career as a backup, but he should be the next man up if an injury occurs.

LB Nick Niemann

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Niemann will unlikely see the field in Year 1 (barring any injuries), as he's behind Kenneth Murray, Drue Tranquill and Kyzir White on the depth chart and Staley's defense only requires two linebackers the majority of the time. However, his tackling ability, athleticism and toughness will come in handy on coverage units on special teams, where he will make an impact from Day 1.

RB Larry Rountree III

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Rountree will be in competition for the two other spots behind Austin Ekeler with Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and Darius Bradwell. Assuming Rountree gets one of the slots, he will be an asset in short-yardage situations due to his physical running style and his ability as a blocker will come in handy on third downs and special teams units.

S Mark Webb

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The majority of Webb's snaps came as the STAR or slot cornerback at Georgia, which is a staple in Staley's defense. While he will likely start his career as a special teams ace, Webb could see playing time on third downs to use his physicality against tight ends. Due to his range and tackling ability, he has the ability to line up at multiple spots (deep, dimebacker and slot).

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