It’s like déjà vu all over again.
It was only one year ago that General Manager Tom Telesco did the same thing to secure the player his team coveted in Manti Te’o. Now, Attaochu joins Te’o aiming to make an immediate impact on the team’s defense.
“We didn’t trade up for just an outside linebacker,” said Telesco. “We traded up for Jerry. He was the guy we were going to get.”
As the 2013 Associated Press Third Team-All American defensive end and Second-Team All-ACC selection, Attaochu started all 13 games last season for the Yellow Jackets with 45 tackles. He lined up at defensive end in 2013, but played his first three years at linebacker. He finished his collegiate career as Georgia Tech’s all-time leader in sacks (31.5) while adding 196 total tackles with 43.5 tackles for loss.
“I’m very athletic and versatile,” he said. “I can do anything you want me to do on the field from the outside linebacker position. So the versatility is there. The scheme fit is there. And I have the ability to learn the system quickly. It’s a great fit."
Attaochu attended the 2014 NFL Combine but did not participate due to a hamstring injury suffered during practices at the Senior Bowl. Feeling confident he was fully healed, he went through his pro day at Georgia Tech with flying colors by recording a 4.58 40-yard dash and 37.5-inch vertical jump.
The 6-3, 252-pound Nigerian-born Attaochu will add to San Diego’s pass rush as the linebacker boasts impressive strength, production and athleticism. He is an extremely versatile athlete with an innate ability to get after the quarterback, something that should be beneficial when playing against the strong quarterbacks in the AFC West.
Helping the Bolts’ defense is key to them getting further in 2014, and it’s clear the Chargers addressed two of their biggest needs in the first and second rounds of the draft. Attaochu looks to add some fresh legs to savvy vets such as
“That was one of the first things the coaches told me!” he said. “They said I’m going to learn from one of the best in Dwight Freeney and the other guys. So that’s awesome and a great opportunity.”