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Junior Colson Headed for Reserve Role?

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Wed, 12 Jun 2024, 8:43 AM EDT

Chargers third-round rookie LB Junior Colson garnered some early buzz for his work with the starting offense in OTAs. But more recent workouts have found him working behind second-year LB Daiyan Henley ... and others. According to The Athletic's Daniel Popper, Colson has paired with Shane Lee as the third-team ILB duo at this week's minicamp. A minor injury in May OTAs might have pushed the rookie temporarily down the depth chart. But we'll have to see whether Colson can climb it through summer.

What They're Saying

Popper on the ILB alignments: "[Denzel] Perryman and Daiyan Henley were working at inside linebacker with the first-team defense for the second straight week. It appears that is the starting pairing for now."

He added that Troy Dye and Nick Niemann stepped in for the second team.

HC Jim Harbaugh on Colson in May: "He knows the defense so well. It's such an incredible thing. He's literally making all of the calls. He's making all the linebacker calls. He's making the DB calls right now."

Colson played under Harbaugh and DC Jesse Minter at Michigan before the Chargers hired them this offseason and then drafted the LB.

2024 Fantasy Football Impact

It's too early to know who will start at ILB for the Chargers, especially with no one beyond Perryman having logged meaningful starter reps to date in the NFL. Niemann's the only other LB with multiple pro starts, and his three (over three seasons) all came in 2023 fill-in duty.

The competition between Colson and Henley will bear watching this summer. Henley also arrived as a third-round pick after a productive college career -- but under the previous regime.

Whoever wins the gig next to Perryman will be an upside pick in IDP drafts.

Dynasty Impact

Colson will go much earlier than Henley in dynasty startup drafts and carry higher market value. That makes sense given his connection with the new coaching staff. But Henley is an intriguing talent as well. Stash him where possible to see how he develops.

What's Next for Junior Colson?

We'll see how reps get split once training camp opens. I'd be shocked if Colson remains a third-teamer well into summer. Whether he can unseat Henley by September will be the story.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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