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Chargers move to strengthen defense by adding corner Trey Marshall, lineman Eric Banks

Denver Broncos defensive back Trey Marshall watches camp practice.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley believes that former Denver Broncos defensive back Trey Marshall fits his team’s mold for the defensive backfield.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Chargers’ initial 53-man roster lasted one day before changes were made, the team claiming safety Trey Marshall and defensive lineman Eric Banks off waivers Wednesday.

Marshall, 25, appeared in 30 games — including two starts — with Denver over the last three seasons. He joined the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2018 coming out of Florida State, where he played with Derwin James.

Banks, 23, spent last season on the Rams’ practice squad after signing as an undrafted rookie out of Texas-San Antonio. The Rams waived him Tuesday.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley is familiar with both additions. He was an assistant on Denver’s staff in 2019 and the Rams’ defensive coordinator last year.

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Marshall brings the sort of versatility that will allow him to play multiple spots when the Chargers go with more defensive backs. He also is expected to contribute on special teams.

The Chargers released Michael Badgley, making Tristan Vizcaino the team’s new placekicker. See the Chargers’ 53-man roster after cutdown day.

“He fits the type of culture that we want to have in that [defensive back] room, where a lot is expected of you,” Staley said. “He’s used to that. We just really feel like he can complete the depth in our DB room.”

At 6-foot-5, 274 pounds, Banks offers a big body to help clog the interior, something the Chargers had been searching for throughout training camp.

“He’s got size, length, athletic ability,” Staley said. “He really proved himself last year in camp and made a really good impression on all of us. Watching him in the preseason this year, he was outstanding.”

Former Rams' defensive lineman Eric Banks walks on the field during practice in Thousand Oaks.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said he liked what he saw of defensive lineman Eric Banks when both were with the Rams last season.
(Kelvin Kuo / Associated Press)

The Chargers initially kept undrafted rookie Forrest Merrill for depth behind starting nose tackle Linval Joseph. Merrill was waived to make room for Banks. Staley said the Chargers would like to add Merrill to their practice squad if he clears waivers.

With the addition of Marshall, cornerback Brandon Facyson, who has been with the Chargers since 2018, was waived.

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The veteran opened training camp playing with the starting defense but slipped behind rookie second-round pick Asante Samuel Jr. during a stretch away from the team for personal reasons.

Facyson was a contributor on special teams throughout his time with the Chargers, but cornerback Kemon Hall proved himself more valuable in that regard in training camp and the preseason. Hall also has more positional flexibility than Facyson.

The Chargers also have veteran corner and special teamer Ryan Smith on the COVID-19 reserve list. Smith could be activated soon but might end up on injured reserve to start the season because of a core muscle issue.

Trey Pipkins seemed to have played himself out of a job during the preseason, but Chargers coaches still see potential in the offensive lineman.

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In that case, Smith would have to miss at least the first three games.

In other roster news:

—The Chargers signed 12 players to their practice squad: wide receivers Michael Bandy, Jason Moore Jr. and Joe Reed; defensive linemen Breiden Fehoko and Joe Gaziano; guards Nate Gilliam and Ryan Hunter; running back Darius Bradwell; linebacker Cole Christiansen; defensive back Ben DeLuca; edge rusher Emeke Egbule, and tight end Hunter Kampmoyer.

—Staley says wide receiver KJ Hill Jr. will open the season as the Chargers’ punt returner, unless something changes over the next 10 days. Hill, Nasir Adderley, Larry Rountree III and Justin Jackson are candidates to return kickoffs.

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—The Chargers lost defensive lineman Cortez Broughton, who signed with Kansas City and will join the Chiefs’ practice squad. The Chargers waived Broughton, a seventh-round pick in 2019, this week and didn’t consider him for their practice squad.

“I think that we felt like there were some other guys that would fit the practice-squad model better right now,” Staley said. “But [we’re] not ruling that out down the line because we think a lot of him.”


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