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 outside linebackers.
Melvin Ingram –The Chargers longest tenured linebacker entering his fifth season, Ingram broke out in 2015. Playing in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie year, he led the team with 10.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 29 quarterback hits. He did most of his damage over the last half of the season, and is focused on sustaining that level of play for all of 2016.
Jerry Attaochu – One of the most explosive athletes on the Bolts, Attaochu provides a formidable force opposite Ingram. He finished last season ranked second in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hits, and improved greatly defending the run. Number 97 believes he is primed for a breakout campaign in his third year.
Kyle Emanuel – Emanuel battled a shoulder injury throughout his rookie year, but still put up respectable numbers finishing with 25 tackles, one sack and one interception. Fully healthy entering his sophomore season, the 6-3,250-pounder aims to be a physical force setting the edge.
Tourek Williams – After rededicating his life fully to the game last offseason, Williams broke his foot in the preseason opener and missed all of 2015. Rather than lament his misfortune, the outside linebacker is using it as further motivation as he says he has a lot to prove in his return to action. Williams said minicamp was the best he felt physically in the last year.
Ben Gardner – A member of the Chargers practice squad most of last season, the former defensive end turned heads this offseason as he transitioned to outside linebacker. Garden said being among the final players cut by the Dallas Cowboys last season has added new fuel to his fire.
Chris Landrum –Another player transitioning from defensive end, the undrafted free agent out of Jacksonville State recorded 64 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks a year ago.
Tyler Marcordes – Marcordes started all 12 games last year for Georgia Tech, ranking third on the team with 51 tackles while tying for the team lead with 6.5 tackles for loss.
Shaq Petteway –Despite a knee injury forcing him to miss the entire 2014 season, Petteway tallied 153 tackles and 20 tackles for loss over his career at West Virginia.
Keep an Eye On…
Ricky Henne: They may not be the biggest names on the defense, but I have my eye on Tourek Williams and Ben Gardner. After hearing Williams talk with such passion on how he fully focused on making a name for himself last offseason, my heart sunk when he suffered his foot injury in the very first football game. He is someone I am rooting for to come back at full strength. At the same time, I was very intrigued by Gardner this offseason as he was regularly in position to make a big play.
Hayley Elwood: Chargers fans know Head Coach Mike McCoy loves competition and heading into training camp, it will be aplenty in the outside linebackers unit. Entering his fifth season, Melvin Ingram is the oldest OLB on the roster making the unit extremely young and full of players set out to elevate their games. It will be interesting to see the development of Kyle Emanuel heading into his second season and also the progress Tourek Williams has made since the end of OTAs. In addition, the OLB corps also has three undrafted rookie free agents in Chris Landrum, Shaq Petteway and Tyler Marcordes so I'm looking forward to seeing them compete and prove their worth.