Chargers Hoping Lightning Strikes Twice With Ex-CFL Stars
The San Diego Chargers are quietly trying to become relevant in the NFL once again. General manager Tom Telesco understands there are several deficiencies on his roster, as he continually searches for answers to improve the Bolts’ struggling pass rush and address depth issues at the wide receiver spot.
Last January, the Chargers signed WR Dontrelle Inman and DE/OLB Cordarro Law – both former CFL stars – to reserve/future contracts with an invitation to compete for a roster spot in training camp.
So, what does this mean for San Diego? Once again, Telesco continues to keep thinking outside the box in acquiring talent with the team’s limited salary cap space.
Inman played a key role for the Toronto Argonauts when they captured the 2012 Grey Cup. The Chargers front office is hoping he can develop into more than a third or fourth option in the passing game. The offense is desperately looking for a complementary receiver to line up across from star wideout Keenan Allen. Inman’s strengths are exactly what the Chargers are looking for, as he can separate from defenders with his speed.
Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal haven’t stayed on the field long enough to make a difference. Both have missed time due to nagging injuries. It remains to be seen whether or not Malcom Floyd will make a full recovery from a career-threatening neck injury. Inman has caught 50 passes in both seasons he played in the CFL. At 6-3, 204 pounds and with 4.4 speed, Inman may force safeties to play back and respect the Chargers deep passing game, which could open the middle for other receivers.
Law is trying to make the roster as a pass-rushing specialist, but he will have heavy competition from Dwight Freeney, Thomas Keiser, Lawrence Guy and Larry English. Freeney is invaluable inside the locker room to mentor the Chargers young linebackers with his knowledge of the league. Against the other competition, Law may have to show more football intelligence on the field than the desire to learn the Chargers defensive scheme inside the classroom.
With Law being 6-1 and 255 pounds, scouts deem him too small to succeed in the NFL, but Telesco believes there is more to a player than size, speed and athleticism. His staff hasn’t shown to be too star-crossed with its player evaluations, as it is looking to put quality on the field each week.
There’s no question that Law was one of the top pass rushers in the CFL last season, as he recorded 14 sacks with the Calgary Stampeders. Because Law has dropped back into coverage and become an effective defender, you can't define him simply as a pass rusher. Law has some upside, but his preseason game performances will determine whether or not he earns significant snaps during the regular season.
Chargers fans may need to be cautious about the potential of these moves, as there have been only a handful of CFL stars (QB Warren Moon and DE Cameron Wake come to mind) who have made a smooth transition to the NFL. The Chargers are hoping Inman and Lee can make an impact at some point this year.