From UDFA to year three, Christiansen is grateful to still be in L.A.
Prior to playing collegiately at West Point, Christiansen enjoyed a very productive and accolade-filled career while at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. As both a junior and senior, Christiansen was named the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association’s State Defensive Player of the Year. He was a three-time all-state and all-conference selection and won the VISAA State Championship as a senior in 2015. By the time he graduating, he was the VISAA all-time leader in career tackles with 436.
Christiansen did not redshirt in his first year, instead playing on special teams and sparingly on defense. He recorded just two tackles that year. In 2017, he started 10 games posted 85 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, the lone interception of his career, and a single pass breakup.
He took things up a notch as a junior when he totaled 77 tackles with 12 going for a loss. He also added his first career sack, two more pass breakups, and a forced fumble. In his final year at West Point, Christiansen set career-highs in tackles (112) and sacks (2.5) while posting 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a pass breakup, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He was a First-Team All-Independent selection following both his junior and senior seasons. I should also add that he was a two-time captain for the Black Knights for the ‘18 and ‘19 seasons, which was the first time a player earned that honor since 2015-16.
Following his senior season at West Point, Christiansen got the opportunity to play in that year’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
After going undrafted following the 2020 draft, Christiansen became one of the 19 undrafted free agents signed by the Bolts. He saw time on the active roster during three games as a rookie, playing mainly on special teams.
In 2021, he never saw time on the active roster and remained on the practice squad for most of the season. He signed a reserve/future contract following the season.
Years with team: 2
“Cole Christiansen signed a 1 year, $895,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $895,000. In 2022, Christiansen will earn a base salary of $895,000, while carrying a cap hit of $895,000.” – Spotrac.com
Christiansen got his first shot of action on the active roster during the Chargers’ biggest special teams slump of the 2020 season. He performed well enough in those limited amount of snaps which certainly had a hand in him remaining in L.A. for another season. While limited physically, Christiansen offers the ideal work ethic for a player who must fight and claw every week to keep himself employed. As of now, that seems to be working as he heads into year three with the Chargers.
One of the highlights of Christiansen’s career thus far was a key block thrown to allow Andre Roberts to break free against the Broncos for the first punt return by the Chargers since 2012.
Such a beautiful return, but blocks from Chris Rumph, Jalen Guyton, Cole Christiansen and Stephen Anderson made it happen. pic.twitter.com/xZNZqW36JX
Christiansen’s potential unfortunately lies solely on special teams. He doesn’t offer anything unique at the linebacker position and is currently buried on the depth chart. Since the team’s base defense will mainly feature just two traditional inside linebackers, that further limits the chances for Christiansen to ever see the field apart from kick coverages.
Christiansen has been a mainstay on the team’s practice squad since being signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL draft. His work ethic and play on special teams has done him wonders in getting him into the good graces of the coaching staff. He’s unfortunately a bit buried within his position, but as long as he’s willing and able to do the dirty work, he’ll likely remain for another season on the PS.