Dexter McCoil has been impossible to miss over the first two weeks of the Chargers offseason program.
After all, how often do you see 6-4, 220-pound defensive backs?
To put his imposing frame into perspective, the average size of the other 12 defensive backs on the roster is 5-11, 197-pounds.
While listed as an inside linebacker on the depth chart, the versatile CFL import is working out with the secondary at Chargers Park and made it clear he will see time at safety.
McCoil may not be a household name yet, but he is determined to be known for more than just his sheer size in the secondary.
"My size is a rare thing because I am able to cover a lot of ground. Some people think it hurts me because you don't see many in the secondary my size. There has been a misconception that I am too big and too tall to play the position. Now I have to prove them wrong."
The 24-year old played linebacker the past two seasons in the Canadian Football league, recording 76 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery last year as he led the Edmonton Eskimos to the Grey Cup Championship. The year before, he was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie when he notched 67 tackles and four sacks, while tying for the league-lead with six interceptions, including three returns for touchdowns.
Before joining the CFL, McCoil played safety at Tulsa where he totaled 315 tackles, 18 interceptions and 43 passes defensed. He was named the Defensive MVP of the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors following his junior season. He had a short stint in the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in 2013 before spending the rest of the year in the Arena Football League and eventually the CFL.
Following two strong seasons in the Great White North, McCoil was a hot commodity among NFL teams in January. In fact, he had seven offers on the table when he chose San Diego.
"It's a good fit for me here," he said. "I got to pick where I wanted to go. I love the coaches here, the environment and my teammates. I saw this as a team where I could go play safety and linebacker if I needed. I also saw this as a team that had a record not indicative of who they are. I think this team can be special, I think I can come in, play and be a component of a turnaround. San Diego is a great place for me, and I'm really happy I made this decision."
While McCoil wasn't able to stick in his first attempt in the NFL, he feels more prepared now to not only make the Charges roster, but more importantly make a difference.
"I think I'm more versatile now. I played safety for four years in college. I played linebacker for two years in the CFL. And within my linebacker role in the CFL, I did everything. I covered, I played in the box, I played man to man coverage, I rushed the passer; so I literally have done everything there is to do on the field. I don't feel like a rookie because I have learned how to be a professional. I know how it goes, so every day I am going here to work, to learn and to get better. I don't care how great you are. This is something you have to always work for, so I just want to do whatever I need to do to contribute to this team and help us win games."
Even though this isn't the path McCoil envisioned to make it to the NFL, it's one he wouldn't change. In fact, he believes San Diego is the ideal spot for players from his background to thrive.
"This journey is my journey, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It keeps me grounded and keeps me working hard. And the Chargers, when I was looking at teams, I know their history. Everybody knows San Diego is a place where they give anybody a chance, not only guys who are picked in the first few rounds. They have Dontrelle Inman who also came from the CFL, and you see what he is doing now. And other players are here from (unconventional) backgrounds. I knew of Antonio Gates and how he got started here. I knew of Jahleel Addae. Everybody who comes in here has a great chance, and I think you've seen how that's worked out."