Raheem Layne: The Undrafted Safety Making Waves at Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp
The development of young talent in the secondary has been a hallmark of the Los Angeles Chargers’ success. From Rodney Harrison to Eric Weddle and most recently Derwin James, the Chargers have a knack for finding and developing impact players in the defensive backfield. And now, undrafted safety Raheem Layne is making his case that he should be the next in that long line of success.
With Derwin James still sitting out while the team negotiates a contract extension and Mark Webb out with an injury, opportunity has been more available at safety. Layne has taken advantage of his chances and has been turning heads at training camp.
The Chargers must have seen something they liked, as they signed Layne to the active roster and placed cornerback Kemon Hall on Reserve/Injured. They also elevated running back Larry Rountree III from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
Layne appeared in three games for the Bolts after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Indiana in May. He appeared in 50 career games for the Hoosiers, contributing in 38 at cornerback (13 starts) and 12 at safety (all starts). Over four seasons of action, Layne totaled 147 tackles, 114 solo, 3.5 for loss, one interception, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He was named the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year following the 2019 season.
Layne started his day with a pass breakup down the sideline against speedster DeAndre Carter in one-on-ones, then perfectly mirrored starting tight end Gerald Everett for another pass deflection. In team period, Layne erased an end-around to Carter and held his own in coverage against Jalen Guyton and Donald Parham.
While there’s not a lot of room in the secondary, Layne is playing his way into making it a difficult decision for the coaching staff. Webb has now missed time in both of his pro seasons, and while he’s talented, he needs to stay on the field to be fairly evaluated. Alohi Gilman has been a bit of a quieter performer in camp and is no guarantee to make the team despite opening camp with the first teamers.
Layne’s potential as a practice squad player could be valuable for the Chargers, who had to rely on their depth frequently last season due to various injuries at safety. With his recent performance, there is now optimism that Layne could adequately fill in as a replacement if needed.
While Layne may not make an immediate impact on the field for the Chargers, his hard work and dedication are certainly not going unnoticed. He has proven that he has the skills and determination to succeed in the NFL, and it will be exciting to see where his career takes him.