The Chargers aided both their defense and offense in rounds two and three of the 2014 NFL Draft.
The second round trade up for a linebacker selection echoed hints of 2013, when the team traded up to select Manti Te’o. Trading up was a calculated move that General Manager Tom Telesco equated to playing poker.
“We didn’t trade up for just an outside linebacker; we traded up for Jerry,” Telesco said. “He was the guy we were going to get.”
At 6-3, 252-pounds, Attaochu has experience at both outside linebacker and defensive end. While Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy didn’t disclose what position Attaochu would be playing, they believe he can be a solid player for San Diego.
Attaochu was born in Nigeria and started playing football in high school, but the team believes his limited experience with the game of football won’t hinder his development as a Charger.
“He’s actually further along with his background,” Telesco said. “He’s a very sharp individual as you would expect from kids from Georgia Tech, and he has some work in different schemes. This will be a transition for him but we feel good about his progress and development.”
“I told him you’re very fortunate to be able to work with someone like Dwight Freeny,” McCoy said. “Dwight was a pro the whole season. Before he got hurt he was always out there trying to help the younger guys. I think Dwight will do the same thing and Jerry’s really excited for the opportunity.”
On the other side of the ball the Bolts added Watt. The 6-3, 321-pound offensive guard from Notre Dame looks to add to the Chargers’ interior offensive line.
“He was a highly recruited player out of high school, a three-year starter at Notre Dame, solid, smart (and) tough,” Telesco said. “Simply put, the man he’s supposed to block, he gets. He’s got a really good quickness in the run game both front side and back side and he can pass protect.”
McCoy and Telesco made no promises that either Attaochu or Watt would start on day one, but will give them every opportunity to prove themselves and earn spots on the starting roster.
“They’ll create their own role,” McCoy said. “We’re not going to hand anyone a job. It’s an opportunity for them and everyone to come in and show what they can do. We’ll give them every chance through the OTAs, minicamps and training camp, and we’ll pick the best 53 on the team and the best 11 will be on the field at all times.”
While San Diego eagerly awaits the arrivals of Attaochu and Watt, McCoy believes they’re a perfect fit for the team.
“You love the type of people they are. Quality character individuals that love to play the game of football. They’ll fit in our locker room and right in the football team and help us win.”