As we near the start of training camp on July 30, we'll preview each position for the Los Angeles Chargers. Next up are the linebackers.
Denzel Perryman –It was only two years ago that Perryman was an unknown quantity entering his first training camp. Now, the former second-round pick is a seasoned veteran in the linebacker corps. The hard-hitting Perryman is fresh off a year in which he led the team with 80 tackles while playing in 12 games. He also finished with six tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and a forced fumble.
Jatavis Brown –Considered one of the steals of the 2016 NFL Draft, last year's fifth-round pick out of Akron looks to build off a dynamic, yet injury shortened, rookie campaign. Brown quickly took hold of a starting role, totaling 73 tackles, nine tackle for loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 12 games. The speedy 23-year old will transition to outside linebacker in Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley's defense.
Kyle Emanuel –Another former fifth-round pick, Emanuel enters his third season with the Bolts. He played in all 16 games a year ago with 11 starts, finishing with 49 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and nine pressures. The 6-3, 250-pound Emanuel is known for his physical nature, lauded for his ability to set the edge in the run game.
Korey Toomer –Signed off the Raiders' practice squad a month into the season, Toomer was a revelation for the Chargers. The rangy linebacker finished second on the team with three forced fumbles while also recording 69 tackles, nine tackles for loss and one sack. The 28-year old is the oldest linebacker on the team.
Joshua Perry –As a fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, Perry emerged as one of the team's leading contributors on special teams. He played sparingly on defense, totaling 16 tackles and one tackle for loss.
Nick Dzubnar –Another special teams standout, Dzubnar's season was cut short as a knee injury landed him on IR. The 6-1, 240-pounder initially made the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo.
James Onwualu –A highly coveted free agent after going undrafted in April, Onwualu elected to sign with the Bolts over 16 other teams. The LB served as a captain for Notre Dame's defense last season, setting career-highs with 76 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss.
Mike Moore –It's impossible to not root for Moore, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor prior to the 2014 season. He also signed as an undrafted free agent this year out of Kansas State after ranking second on the team with 75 tackles.
Nigel Harris –Yet another undrafted free agent linebacker this season, the South Florida product posted a career-high 78 tackles and team-leading 9.5 tackles for loss last year.
We're Keeping Our Eye On
Ricky Henne:This very young group figures to have a lot of competition, and I'm eager to see what the three undrafted players can do at camp. Each linebacker on the roster showed flashes during the offseason program, but there is only so much you can see without contact. We'll get a better idea of how they perform once the pads come on at training camp, not to mention in preseason action.
Hayley Elwood:I'm wanting to see Jatavis Brown make that jump in year two. This is a player who General Manager Tom Telesco said he and Chargers brass received texts about once the Bolts selected him in the 2016 draft. Although he missed a few games due to injury last year, he made his presence known when on the field. This year, Brown has bulked up is transitioning to OLB, and I'm interested to see how that change will better suit his skillset. According to DC Gus Bradley, the switch will utilize Brown's speed better. We'll see for sure once the preseason rolls around.