Former Carolina Panthers safety Tre Boston arrived in San Diego on Monday. The Los Angeles Chargers worked him out in hopes of adding a veteran safety. The safety position has been in a state of flux since the departure of Eric Weddle last season. The team did take a step toward remedying the situation in their latest draft when they tapped Rayshawn Jenkins out of the University of Miami in the fourth round.
Boston has been making the rounds as he looks for a new team. He’s already completed a stops in Pittsburgh. He’s been documenting his travels on his Twitter page, @TreBos10:
— Tre Boston (@TreBos10) May 5, 2017
Boston was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Standing 6″1′-inches tall and weighing in at 205 lbs., Boston is the blend of experience and youth (he’s 24-years old) Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco craves. Arriving in San Diego on Monday, Boston ran into a former Chargers standout cornerback and Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie. He then tweeted out this photo:
— Tre Boston (@TreBos10) May 8, 2017
Boston accumulated 108 tackles (77 solo), ten passes defensed, three interceptions, two sacks and two touchdowns in his three seasons in Carolina. He’s a playmaker on the rise who would be a great addition to Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradleys’ defense.
The safety left San Diego after his physical and workout Tuesday and now is weighing his options between Pittsburgh, Buffalo and LA per his most recent tweet Tuesday afternoon:
Headed back to CLT, Chargers and Bills definitely made it a tough decision for me! I’ll go home and weigh the pros and cons with the Wife.🙏🏾
— Tre Boston (@TreBos10) May 9, 2017
Where will Boston be shipping off to? Stay tuned…
The Greg One
There are countless past (and some present) NFL stars still floating in the abyss known as free agency. Some are available because they have outlived their usefulness. Some make too much money for their team to afford to keep them. Some are the last to know their days are over and they hold press conferences while doing shirtless sit-ups in their driveway.
One recent addition to the free agent whirlpool shouldn’t still be there.
Former Detroit Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is still in search of a new team. The Lions cut Tulloch on July 5th and almost three weeks later, he hasn’t visited another team. According to the Detroit Free Press, Tulloch had offseason arthroscopic ankle surgery and didn’t pass a physical until the day he was released.
Media reports out of Detroit and different NFL sites speculate the Lions didn’t bring Tulloch back amid concerns of his age, declining lateral quickness and inability to play in coverage.
This is also coming from a team that recently fired most of their front office and has a brand new General Manager calling the shots. One could question the decisions coming out of the front office if they didn’t consider trying to get something for him before the draft if they knew he wasn’t part of the future in Detroit.
There are too many reasons why San Diego should sign this man.
Veteran leadership: Tulloch is 5’11”, 245-pounds and turned 31 on January 1st. A ten-year veteran of the NFL, Tulloch played the first five years of his career in Tennessee before signing on with the Lions. He would be an outstanding mentor to the budding young linebacker corps in San Diego while showing them how it’s done on the field. (i.e. Dwight Freeney).
Durability: The man is beyond durable for his position. Outside of his 2014 season where he suffered a torn ACL in game three, Tulloch has not missed a single NFL game.
Productivity: Tulloch is a tackling machine. Last season, he led Detroit in tackles with 107 combined tackles (74 solo). In six of the last seven seasons, Tulloch has recorded over 100 combined tackles. In his career to date he has 942 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 27 passes defensed and five interceptions.
By comparison, no member of the current Chargers’ roster has had a 100-tackle season. The last ones to do it were Eric Weddle, Takeo Spikes and Stephen Cooper.
Fit: Tulloch would move into a rotation that at the moment lists Manti Te’o, Denzel Perryman, Joshua Perry and Nick Dzubnar as the current middle linebackers. Tulloch would form a great two-down, run-stuffing linebacker. He would form an excellent tandem with the Bolts’ free agent acquisition, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane.
There’s only one logical reason this addition hasn’t happened yet. Money.
Tulloch was in the final year of a five-year, 25.5-million deal he signed in 2012. The base for Tulloch for 2016 was to be 5.5-million. The Lions paid him a 500,000 roster bonus in March. Paying him in the new league year allows them only take a 1.3-million cap hit for releasing him. The Lions free themselves of that contract and Tulloch is officially a free agent.
Any team could sign him for the veterans’ minimum. of course, he’ll want more than that but if they wanted, the Chargers could have him in lightning bolts before training camp begins on the 30th. There’s nothing wrong with competition and bringing in Tulloch would push Te’o and Dzubnar to step up their game or be replaced.
Defense wins championships. This signing would make the defense even more formidable and advance the development of the Chargers’ young nucleus even more. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
The Greg One
The mantle has been passed.
When long-time defensive team captain Eric Weddle moved on to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in March of this year, it was the end of an era.
Now, the onus is on Jahleel Addae to take on a more prominent role in the secondary. The question is, can he?
In the offseason, Addae signed a one-year RFA (restricted free agent) tender for $2.553 million. Last year, the strong safety racked up 65 tackles and a sack. Four years in San Diego have given him 151 tackles, three sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
An undrafted free agent, Addae has been a part of the Bolts’ secondary longer than anyone else currently back there. He and defensive backs coach Ron Milus joined the Chargers in 2013. So, Addae should have a better grasp than the rest of that position group when it comes to what Milus is striving for out of his players in the secondary.
One of the challenges he faces is staying on the field. Now entering his fourth year with the Bolts, Addae has only managed to have one complete 16-game season (in 2013 as a rookie). Since then, he has missed parts of the last couple of campaigns with injuries to his ankle and hamstring. Let’s not forget there were two concussions, also.
Dubbed “The Hitman” by his fellow Chippewas at Central Michigan University, the ferocious hits that Addae has put on opponents have not only rattled them, but No. 37 himself. One such hit occurred in the October 23, 2014 game in Denver — a helmet-to-helmet collision with Broncos running back Juwan Thompson; the aftermath was disconcerting to many who witnessed Addae’s behavior. The safety is clearly seen experiencing some type of reaction to that impact. Though all on-field evaluations were negative, he was diagnosed with a concussion two days later. He did not miss any playing time.
Fast forward to 2016 and the expectations that Addae has for himself now that No. 32 is no longer across from him. Throughout OTAs, he has realized that he can take the knowledge learned from lining up opposite Weddle, use it to step up his game and become the leader that the young guys coming in need him to be. The offseason addition of former Colts’ safety Dwight Lowery should make that challenge seem less daunting.
Maturity and experience have also brought recognition of the example he needs to set with respect to those hits that he is so well-known for; putting himself on the bench due to injury as a direct result of one is not in his plans. As he recently stated, “I’m a physical safety. I love contact. But I know that I have to play smart. I’ve been hearing that since I’ve come into the league…My biggest goal is to play in all 16. And I feel I’ll be able to do that.”
Will Addae lead the secondary in helping the team overcome a forgettable 4-12 season? I believe he can. It is on him now to mentor the youth movement and be the voice of experience.
Thanks for reading!
Is Melvin Ingram ready to take the next step and become a consistent staple of the San Diego Chargers’ defense?
The San Diego Chargers drafted Melvin Ingram with the 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, despite concerns over his arm length. He has shown flashes of why the Chargers chose the former South Carolina Gamecock.
However, after his rookie campaign where he started two games out of the 16 he appeared in, he missed almost the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL, and again missed time during the 2014 season with a hip injury.
During his four seasons in the NFL, Ingram has amassed 143 tackles, 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles, having his best statistical season last year where he recorded 10.5 sacks and 65 tackles, while starting all 16 games.
Last year’s 10.5 sacks placed him tied for 12th among all defensive players in the NFL, however his 65 tackles placed him tied for 121st among all defensive players, and behind teammates Manti Te’o, Eric Weddle and rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman.
His injury history and lack of consistent play, mixed with his exponential boost in play at the midpoint of the 2015 season leaves many confused, and Ingram understands the frustrations.
“I ain’t showed nothing,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune after last Tuesday’s practice. Also stating, “I have so much to show.”
Ingram has all the tools necessary to succeed. He is strong, quick and agile, he can shed defenders, he is everything you look for in an edge rusher, and over the years his role in the defense has become more defined. But, Ingram is coming into his contract year, and the consensus is that the time is now to live up to his first-round hype, and show consistency, or part ways with the organization.
When asked what he expects from himself this upcoming 2016 season Ingram told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “It ain’t even started.”
“You ain’t even seen what I got going on. When the season starts, everyone is going to see. It’s fixing to get real.”
Ingram seems fully confident coming into the 2016 season, and I believe it will be one for the books. He will continue to build on the successes of his 2015 season, and have the opportunity to pick up where he left off after his first fully healthy season.
Key additions Joey Bosa and Brandon Mebane will help disrupt offenses and cause confusion along the line of scrimmage, providing Ingram with the opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield. Ingram’s success, along with the encouraging play of the Chargers’ linebackers, should also benefit the secondary.
It’s up to Ingram to prove his worth and take that next step many fans know he’s capable of taking.
I predict he’ll finish the 2016 season with 11.5 sacks and 88 combined tackles.
Special teams captain. Pro Bowler. Safety. Motivator.
Those are just a few of the terms that one could use to describe the San Diego Chargers jack-of-all-trades Darrell Stuckey.
Stuckey was a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award last year. The honor was a direct result of his volunteerism not only in San Diego but also in his hometown of Kansas City. In Kansas City he conducts football camps, community projects and works with a non-profit organization called “Not For Sale”. The mission of Not For Sale is to protect people and communities from human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
The 5-foot-11 1/2, 212-pounder has been with San Diego since he was drafted in the fourth round (#110) of the 2010 draft. The former University of Kansas Jayhawk logged 295 career tackles, second-most all time behind Leroy Irvin (the former Rams/Lions defensive back). He also had eight interceptions and eleven tackles for loss in his four-year career there.
At the NFL Combine he clocked the 40-yard dash at 4.49 seconds. He also made a 39.5-inch vertical jump. His height may have been a bit of a concern, but the guy is a ball hawk.
In 73 games, Stuckey has 41 tackles to his name. Besides that, there are five defended passes, two forced fumbles and a sack. He also has five fumble recoveries, of which the best-known came on December 7, 2014 when New England’s wideout Brandon LaFell was hit by Jahleel Addae. Stuckey scooped up the ball and took it 60 yards to the house. It was the longest fumble recovery in Bolts history.
It’s no wonder that his play in the 2014 campaign resulted in his being voted to his first Pro Bowl appearance. His selection was initially as first alternate, however, he ended up joining then teammate Eric Weddle in Hawaii when Patriots player Matthew Slater had to bow out because New England was headed to the Super Bowl.
Those are all wonderful things to be able to be known for long after his football career is over. What seems to give Stuckey the most satisfaction in life is what he does off the field of play.
Being one of the most active Chargers players in the San Diego community is just a small part of who Darrell Stuckey is. He is a participant in the team’s annual “Community Corner” program, which purchases game tickets for charity. Additionally, he is involved with “Athletes for Charity”, a non-profit organization that is dedicated towards improving the lives of disadvantaged and underprivileged youth. In his hometown of Kansas City, he also dedicates his time to the Youth City Network and the KC United Dotte Football Camp.
Let me add just one more charity: Living4One. This organization was founded by Darrell and his wife, Lacie, in 2012. One of the reasons they created it is to assist individuals in recognizing that we each have a purpose in life and it is not solely our day-to-day existence.
To quote Stuckey from the Living4One webpage, their purpose is this: “We must discover our gifts and talents, perfect them, and incorporate them into the master plan. We all have a purpose to fulfill. Our purpose influences the people we are around in our workplace, team, family and community. We must use our gifts to better the world we live in. There is no greater joy than a purpose fulfilled.”
Stuckey is quite obviously a man who leads by example, whether on the field or in the community. His unpretentiousness and willingness to provide support for others in some of life’s most unfair and desperate times is refreshing.
Darrell Stuckey would certainly have my vote if fans could somehow publicly recognize his efforts once his playing days are over.
Take a bow, sir. You are a bright light in a sometimes unfair and discouraging world and I thank you for your selflessness.
Thanks for reading.
Since it’s still difficult for many Charger fans to talk about the safety position without mentioning Eric Weddle, or at least the lack thereof, I wanted to say that the goal of this article is not to bemoan his absence, or discuss who was at fault or not at fault in his departure. Weddle has moved on, the Chargers have moved on and I think we as fans should move on, as well.
What we will be discussing is some confusion around this position as a whole, who is currently on the roster and how they can help the team get back to the playoffs.
So let’s talk about the draft.
First, allow me to toot my own horn a bit in saying that I was one of the few who was openly advocating on Twitter that the Bolts draft Joey Bosa and not Jalen Ramsey or Laremy Tunsil (honk, honk). Many Bolts fans were not happy, and I sort of understand. Weddle is gone, there is a perceived hole at safety and the alleged best safety in college football was available at pick No. 3.
What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks are the Chargers doing?
Okay, Bosa is cool, whatever, next pick HAS to be a safety, right? This is the best safety class in years, right?
Well seven more picks came in for the Bolts and not one was a safety. Even now, I still see quite a bit of latent angst and confusion over this, and a perception that the safety position for the Chargers has been neglected, or no one knows who’s going to start.
So, let’s clear some of that up.
News came out on Thursday that Jacksonville Jaguars DB Jalen Ramsey tore the meniscus in his right knee — the same knee he had microfracture surgery on in high school. Your heart bleeds for the poor kid, but then came the “Chargers dodged a bullet” posts on social media. It’s unclear, at this time, whether the Bolts dodged an RPG round or an airsoft pellet.
In my opinion, they actually dodged two bullets by passing on Ramsey and Miles Jack at the top of the second round as many Charger fans were calling for. These two athletes may overcome their injuries and be great players in the NFL, but the odds as of today are they won’t. Ramsey’s injury is not the reason I would have passed on him. Ramsey is a natural cornerback, not a safety — he even said that he was more comfortable at corner after the draft. Just because he played safety and did well in college does not mean that would translate to the NFL. The Bolts were not going to draft a cornerback who might be a safety with the third overall pick. Besides, the Chargers already addressed safety in free agency, which is why we later learned that they had actually planned on picking Bosa months before the draft.
The two noteworthy off-season additions to the Chargers’ safety corps were ex-Colts safety Dwight Lowery and CFL standout player Dexter McCoil. In typical Telesco free-agent action, neither of these two initially knocked anyone’s socks off, which is why I believe there was a perceived “need” in some people’s minds going into the draft. Lowery is a serviceable veteran who, last year, managed to rank 3rd among Colts’ defenders in tackles and nabbed four interceptions (one was a pick-six). He’s 30 years old, so definitely not the future, but he should provide some experience and leadership for younger players while adding good depth.
Dexter McCoil is the player I am most excited about. Signed from the Canadian Football League back in January, he stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 220 pounds. In 2014, McCoil had an excellent rookie year in the CFL, totaling four sacks, six interceptions returning three of the interceptions all the way to the house for touchdowns. He is one inch taller and about ten pounds lighter than Seattle Seahawks safety, Kam Chancellor. I have been clamoring for the Bolts to bring in a safety of his size for years now; someone who can cover tight ends and larger wide receivers who have been out-jumping San Diego’s shorter DBs.
The line between inside linebacker and safety appears to be blurring on some teams in the NFL, such as Chancellor with the Seahawks, Deone Bucannon with the Cardinals and now McCoil for the Bolts. McCoil can cover and play the run. He is already turning heads at rookie minicamp. Look for him to challenge for a starting spot on the opening day roster.
Before the draft, many people had Dwight Lowery and Jahleel Addae as the opening day starters, provided both were healthy to start the season. If this somehow plays out, this is a nightmare scenario for the defense mostly because Addae is not a very good NFL safety. He is a crowd- and front-office favorite because he hits like an atom bomb. Unfortunately, about half of the time he blows up his own teammates or knocks himself senseless. He hits his intended target less than fifty percent of the time, en route to missing tackles and committing way too many penalties. Oh, and he can’t really cover that well either.
I am not a fluff writer. When a player isn’t playing well I am going to tell you. When a player plays well, I will tell you. This undrafted fourth-year player from Central Michigan is not playing well. However, the Chargers placed a second-round tender on him (basically a one-year contract) back in March. This tells me they like him enough to give him one more year to clean up the penalties, hits and learn how to cover so he can provide some quality depth. I would never wish anything bad on any player. I hope Addae can clean up his play and contribute in a positive way this season.
Special teams stud Darrell Stuckey also plays safety. He has a nose for the football and seems to always make plays, however, he rarely gets an opportunity to show what he can do unless there is an injury. This is puzzling to me –maybe he is so valuable on special teams the Bolts don’t want to lose him playing safety. Who knows?
Multiple post-draft reports pointed to Chargers fifth-round draft pick ILB Jatavis Brown getting a shot at safety. The speedster from Akron ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine and is pegged as hybrid player between a linebacker and safety. He’s faster than half the wide receivers drafted in 2016. I would love a starting safety combination of McCoil and Brown with Addae and Lowery as depth. The men lightning bolts also brought in undrafted safety Adrian McDonald, who had 17 career college interceptions at Houston. He is someone to watch in training camp who will put pressure on the other defensive backs to perform.
As long as the starters on opening day are not Addae and Lowery, but rather some combination of the other names listed above, I believe the secondary as a whole, with players like Verrett and Casey Hayward on the outside, will be much improved. I believe they can stop giving up big plays in the passing game, get some key interceptions and start to come downhill and make a difference in the run game.
I am excited about the competition this safety group will have in training camp and the preseason.
How about you?
Let us know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!
When a dream becomes reality it is always something special. For Tenny Palepoi, that day happened a little over two years ago when he joined the Chargers as an undrafted rookie.
The former University of Utah player is known for his tenaciousness and his work ethic. To put it quite simply, Palepoi works incredibly hard.
Defense runs through his Samoan veins. One of his older brothers, Anton, also a defensive end, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in round two (#60) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He was one of the highest draft picks to come out of UNLV in 14 years. Father Tony played for the Samoan National Rugby Team.
Whenever Tenny decided to play football, I’m sure the game plan came about as part of his being one of fourteen kids who had to defend themselves growing up with all those bodies!
He began his journey into football at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. While there he collected 49 tackles, 10 TFL (tackles for loss), two sacks and a fumble recovery in 2011. In 2012 he transferred to the University of Utah where he logged 74 tackles, 12.5 TFL, and 6.5 sacks. He took over the nose tackle position when teammate Star Lotulelei was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2013. Palepoi was team captain for the Utes and chosen to the second-team All-PAC-12 team (2013). He was also considered one of the best nose tackles in the PAC-12 that year.
Palepoi signed with San Diego just over two years ago as an undrafted free agent. It probably helped having fellow Ute alumni Eric Weddle to help with the transition.
The young defensive tackle played all 16 games of his rookie season. He finished the year with 16 tackles, of which nine were solo endeavors.
One of his best, and most likely difficult, games came November 30, 2014. A road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens mere days after his older brother Francis passed away at just 42 years of age due to a heart condition. That contest saw Palepoi make three tackles in the Bolts’ first win in M & T Stadium in three years.
By all means his sophomore campaign should have been even better. That all went by the wayside when he fractured his foot during training camp on August 1. On August 3, the announcement was made that the young lineman was being placed on the Reserve/Injured list. Coach Mike McCoy further stated, (in part from Eric D. Williams of ESPN)
“This is the part of the business that sucks. I hate to say it, but that’s just the truth. A guy that works as hard as he has…he is one of the guys here all the time…he’s made the most out of every single opportunity he’s had. He had an outstanding year last year, and it sucks to be honest with you.”
I would expect that if he has such a gung-ho work ethic that Palepoi focused sheer determination into getting ready for a 2016 comeback. I know he can be a force once again in John Pagano’s defensive schemes.
Thank you for reading!
With Eric Weddle leaving for the Baltimore Ravens, it was apparent the San Diego Chargers were going to have to address the hole at safety.
So they did. Sort of. Possibly.
After signing former Colts safety Dwight Lowery early in March, it wasn’t until the draft that the front office addressed the last line of the defense once more.
Technically, it was actually after the draft ended when San Diego acquired the only true safety during the most popular weekend of the NFL offseason.
Undrafted free agent safety Adrian McDonald agreed to terms with the Chargers on April 30 and will look to become a permanent part of the San Diego secondary.
Weight: 205 lbs*
40 Yard Dash: 4.62**
Bench Press (225 lbs): 10 reps**
*According to Chargers’ website
**Texans local prospect day
McDonald tallied 17 career interceptions, forced seven fumbles and recovered seven more. He ranked 2nd on his team in tackles during his junior campaign with 92, along with four interceptions for the University of Houston. His numbers did not go unnoticed as he was named first-team All-AAC, as well as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe awarded given to the best defensive back in college football.
There is no denying McDonald has a nose for the football as he consistently finds himself near, sometimes with, the ball. He is a solid tackler which not only is a defensive requirement but a special teams one, as well.
Showing value on special teams is most assuredly McDonald’s key to making the 53-man roster. His lack of ideal size and speed is what kept him from hearing his name during the draft, but he can make 31 other teams regret that decision by working hard to get an opportunity to showcase his talents.
With the Chargers ranking 19th in takeaways last season with just 20, players like McDonald are going to get a chance to bring such production to the Bolts’ secondary.
Here’s to hoping this marriage is long-lasting and beneficial to both sides.
Take a look for yourself at Charger hopeful, Adrian McDonald:
The fans of the blue and gold should be feeling pretty good about this year’s draft. Depending on your point of view, either Christmas came early or it came late. Glass half-full or half-empty? Mine is half-full.
The Chargers’ GM, Tom Telesco, addressed two of my biggest concerns for the upcoming football calendar. Those were center and fullback. Yes, I’m aware that there was a hole left in the secondary with the departure of Eric Weddle. However, the two most glaring chasms on the offensive side of the ball were the aforementioned spots.
We expected to see an electrified offense after Telesco moved up two spots in the 2015 draft to take running back Melvin Gordon (first round, 15th overall via trade with the 49ers).
To say that the Bolts’ offense was in tatters for the second year in a row is a fair assessment. They may not have had five centers in-and-out like 2014, but it they were still unable to provide much assistance to either help keep Philip Rivers from being pounded, or create seams for any of the Chargers’ ball carriers.
Whether you like all or a few of the choices the team’s general manager made last week, I hope that seeing Derek Watt lining up in front of Gordon in the Bolts’ backfield is one of them. The two played together at the University of Wisconsin, and both are excited to get that chemistry going once more.
Watt is 6’2″ and comes in at 236 pounds. He had 24 starts in 47 games for the Badgers, compiling 309 yards on 30 receptions and a lone touchdown. He was the 2012 Rookie of the Year for UW, as well as being named to the Academic All-Big 10 every year from 2012 thru 2015. On the down side, he missed five games in 2014 due to a foot fracture. In 13 games last season, he had 15 receptions for 139 yards to go along with 45 yards on nine rushes. It was his second best statistical year going back to his freshman days.
Whatever schemes offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt can put together for his newest two backs, I cannot help but look towards the future with excitement. There has not been a fullback on the roster since 2013 when Le’Ron McClain last played. Prior to McClain, San Diego had the likes of Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester (2008-2011), who blocked for Darren Sproles from 2005-2010. Let’s not forget that Lorenzo Neal (one of my favorites), who is considered to be one of the best blocking fullbacks in NFL history, spent five seasons here in front of good ol’ No. 21 himself, LaDainian Tomlinson!
Should Watt and Gordon be able to get into that groove they had going on at the University of Wisconsin, I think we will see a tremendous leap from ranking 31st in 2015 with a league average 84.9 rushing yards per game.
All in all, it is my fervent wish that the San Diego Chargers get their running game back on track with the one-two punch of Watt blocking for his former college teammate, Gordon.
Thank you, Tom Telesco, for that selection. You recognized that need for the offense to excel this year.
The situation with the stadium/convention center proposal being what it is right now, there is an onus on the team to not only come out strong, but to also stay strong as the season progresses.
Looking forward to minicamp followed by preseason!
Thanks for reading!!
In the wake of NFL Draft week, fans are laboriously absorbing all the information on their team’s new selections as possible. For San Diego Chargers fans, the outlook is bright when looking at the team’s selections from top to bottom.
On paper, San Diego selected the top pass rusher (Joey Bosa), tight end (Hunter Henry) and punter (Drew Kaser) in the draft. They added an immediate upgrade at the decrepit center position (Max Tuerk) and gave Melvin Gordon company and instant chemistry in the backfield in the form of Derek Watt, the same fullback who blocked for Gordon during his record-breaking seasons at Wisconsin. There is very little not to love about this draft.
However, one name has flown almost completely under-the-radar in the storm of NFL Draft fever. Canadian Football League standout Dexter McCoil could be the future of the safety position. Versatile, the 6’4′, 220-pound phenom notched 76 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery as a hybrid inside linebacker/safety on the way to leading the Edmonton Eskimos to the 2015 Grey Cup Championship. In 2014, McCoil was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie. His season was highlighted by his six interceptions, of which three were returned for touchdowns. The team signed him to a futures contract in January.
The Chargers drafted a defensive end and two linebackers to an already loaded linebacker corps. McCoil may rotate in as a linebacker on sub-packages; however, his true worth is elsewhere. The void is in the secondary, particularly in the free safety spot vacated by Eric Weddle. The Chargers signed veteran Dwight Lowery to fortify the position in free agency, and brought in Houston safety Adrian McDonald to vie for the position as an undrafted free agent.
If he plays in America as well as he played in Canada, this will be McCoils’ job to lose. Lowery may bring nine years of veteran experience, but McCoil, 24, brings youth, a vast upside and ball skills any team would feel lucky to have at the cornerback position, much less at safety. This will be a heated position battle as minicamps and OTAs start over the next few weeks. Whomever wins, we all win.
The Greg One