Chargers 53-man roster: A projection of which players will make the team

Chargers will have to cut down to 53 players by Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Training camp is now over. Preseason is now over. The season is a week away from starting, so cut down day is on the horizon.

By Tuesday at 1 p.m. PT, the Los Angeles Chargers must cut down their roster from 90 to 53 players.

Also, after the official 53-man roster comes out, teams can still claim players cut from other teams, so the roster is ever-changing.

As far as the initial 53 players, here goes nothing:

QB (2) Justin Herbert, Easton Stick

No brainer on who the starter is, but Herbert’s backup will be Easton Stick. He had a clean preseason and showed improvement from other years. Max Duggan will most likely be a practice squad player.

RB (3) Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller

Elijah Dotson will make this a hard choice, but the team has other pressing needs, so they will cut him and try to stash him away on the practice squad. Kelley had a good close-out performance, while Spiller showed promise.

FB (1) Zander Horvath

Horvath is a solid special teams player and could add something to the offense. He did catch two touchdown passes in his first two career games.

WR (6) Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis, Keelan Doss

Jalen Guyton is still on the PUP list, nursing the ACL tear he suffered in week three of last season. Brandon Staley hasn’t given an update on him, so he won’t be ready to start this season. Doss didn’t flash like John Hightower did at the beginning of camp, but he has shown consistency. That is big for this team. He stays.

TE (4) Gerald Everett, Donald Parham, Stone Smartt, Tre’ McKitty

Smartt has really come in the last two to three weeks of preseason. He has shown reliable hands and improvement blocking-wise. He could be fighting McKitty for a role. Speaking of McKitty, they will keep him for his blocking and special teams play, but he hasn’t been consistent.

OL (9) Rashawn Slater, Zion Johnson, Corey Linsley, Jamaree Salyer, Trey Pipkins, Jordan McFadden, Will Clapp, Foster Sarell, Zack Bailey

Clapp is the backup center. McFadden was drafted in the fifth round by the team. Sarell is a solid right tackle backup. Bailey has been the ultimate utility man, playing multiple spots.

DL (6) Morgan Fox, Austin Johnson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Nick Williams, Scott Matlock, David Moa

Johnson returning from the PUP is enormous for the defensive line. Moa stays over Hinton because he is a team favorite and rivals Erick Kendricks and Herbert for best hair on the team.

OLB (4) Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Chris Rumph, Tuli Tuipulotu

Self explanatory.

LB (5) Kenneth Murray, Eric Kendricks, Daiyan Henley, Amen Ogbongbemiga, Nick Niemann

Three players on the team last two. One was a starter, and two made an impact on special teams. Kendricks is new and is a starter. Henley was drafted and could impact both defense and special teams.

CB (5) Asante Samuel Jr., J.C. Jackson, Michael Davis, Ja’Sir Taylor, Deane Leonard

Jackson was able to get through camp with a small hiccup but looked confident during the joint practices. ASJ won the slot corner role. Taylor helps on defense but also special teams. Leonard helps on special teams.

S (5) Derwin James, Alohi Gilman, J.T. Woods, Mark Webb, Raheem Layne

Webb was the real question mark, especially with him missing some time due to injury, but the Chargers staff have spoken highly about him. He stays. Woods is coming off a good finish to camp.

ST (3) Cameron Dicker, JK Scott, Josh Harris

Why Cameron over Dustin? Because his Dicker is the kicker.