As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we'll preview each position for the San Diego Chargers. We continue with a look at the Defensive Line.
Corey Liuget (DT) –Still only 26 years old as he enters his sixth season, Liuget is the longest tenured defensive player on the Chargers. Like many of his teammates, the defensive tackle battled injuries all year long in 2015 that eventually cut his season short. He played in only 11 games and was hobbled in many others. Watch for a determined, healthy Liuget to show off the same form that earned him a contract extension heading into last season.
Brandon Mebane (NT)–Mebane's 10th NFL season is his first not with the Seattle Seahawks. A big figure up front and in the locker room, the 6-1, 311-pounder is expected to bring his Championship mentality to the defense. Mebane is a prototypical nose tackle who can not only take on double teams, but produce on his own as he's recorded 386 tackles, 15.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles over his career.
Joey Bosa (DE)–The Chargers selected the Ohio State product third overall, and have high hopes he can be a game-changer up front. The 6-5, 280-pounder totaled 150 tackles, 50.5 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, 24 quarterback hurries and five forced fumbles over three seasons with the Buckeyes. Of course, the question remains when Bosa will show up as he has yet to sign his contract.
Darius Philon (DE) – Last year's sixth round pick flashed a lot of potential in another injury shortened season for the Bolts. Liuget says he sees a lot of himself in Philon, who looks to become a bigger part of the defensive line rotation. Training camp should go a long way toward determining what exactly that role will be.
*Sean Lissemore (NT)- *While he's listed as a nose tackle, Lissemore will line up at all three positions along the defensive line. The 6-3, 308-pound veteran is no longer expected to be the "starter", but should still be on the field for the same amount of snaps per game.
*Tenny Palepoi (DT)- *Palepoi suffered a foot injury early in training camp last year that eventually forced him to be placed on the reserve-injured list. He played in all 16 games as an undrafted rookie in 2014, and made a name for himself with his frenetic energy and non-stop motor.
*Ryan Carrethers (NT)- *Year three is a big one for the 6-1, 333-pound Carrethers. Arguably the strongest player on the defense, he knows he must put it all together to live up to his potential as an anchor in the middle.
*Damion Square (DT)- *After beginning last season on the practice squad before an in-season promotion, Square looks to make the 53-man roster from day one. He ended 2015 in impressive fashion, notching two QB hits and a fumble recovery in the season finale.
*Chuka Ndulue (DL)- *The Chargers signed Ndulue to the practice squad in late October, and he remained there for the rest of the season. He notched 140 tackles, 12 sacks and 17 tackles for loss over 45 collegiate games at Oklahoma.
*Carlos Wray (DT)- *Wray is the lone undrafted free agent the Bolts signed this season. The former Duke star is regarded as an intelligent player up front who has impressive quickness for his size.
Keep an Eye On…
Ricky Henne: Darius Philon is a young player who really intrigues me. He has a ton of raw ability and athleticism, so I want to see what kind of impact he can have in year two. If he can put it all together, the young defensive end can provide a major boost to a revamped defensive line. I also want to see how Tenny Palepoi looks after a lost season, and if Ryan Carrethers can take a step forward as well.
Hayley Elwood: On the defensive line, I'm most interested to see how Brandon Mebane cements his role at nose tackle. Upon speaking with a few players on the defense, Mebane not only brings an added physical toughness to the line, but he brings a fierce, veteran mentality. In addition, I'm looking to see Darius Philon develop and expand on some of the flashes he showed last season.