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The Unheralded Charger Primed for a Breakout Year 

Take a look through the top practice photos from day two of Chargers Camp.

It's July 31, 2017 and the Bolts are midway through their second practice of training camp.

Defensive end Chris Landrum is quick off the snap. His hand is in the dirt as he begins his burst toward the quarterback. At the same time, the opposing offensive lineman extends his arm for his initial punch, but barely makes contact with Landrum as it's only a training camp practice.

Unfortunately, he hits Landrum at an awkward angle, resulting in a season-ending shoulder injury for the pass-rusher who was set for a key role behind Melvin Ingram.

"It was one of those things where it was just the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

Landrum may have had to wait a year, but the 6-2, 245-pound former Jacksonville State star is primed to finally take over that role.

Just ask Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

"He brings a lot," said Ingram. "He brings a lot of versatility. He's a top-notch player. He's (definitely) going to help us a lot. He's one of us and he can make a lot of plays for this ball club and I think that's what he's going to do this year."

"As long as he stays healthy, I think he's going to be a great addition behind Melvin because, obviously, Isaac (Rochell) will play more of the end position behind me," Bosa added. "To have a guy who will take some reps off of Melvin to have him fresh out there (is important). And everybody has a huge trust in Chris that he'll go out there, make plays and do what he has to do."

One simple play showed exactly why they believe in Landrum.

Midway through the second team period of the day, the 25-year old used perfect technique to shed his blocker for what would have been a surefire sack.

"It was actually a play-action play, and I got my hands on the offensive lineman and kept good separation, which allowed me to transfer from playing the run to playing the pass," Landrum said. "When I saw it was a pass, I was able to get off the block and get to the quarterback."

Browse through the top photos from Sunday's Training Camp practice.

After beginning his rookie year in 2016 on the practice squad, Landrum turned heads over the final 10 games, notching seven tackles and one sack in limited duty. That's why the team had such high hopes for him entering last season.

Thus, one can imagine how frustrating it was for Landrum to suffer the season-ending injury on day two of camp when he was primed for a key role.

You can also understand why he had an ear-to-ear grin as he came off the field following day two of this year's training camp. 

"I was just telling my dad that this is the first time that I'm actually excited for training camp," he said. "Camp is tough. It's a grind, but I'm coming into camp and I'm actually excited about camp. I'm not just excited because the season is coming; I'm excited for camp! To play. I'm very much so more appreciative of the game."

While Landrum plays LEO behind Ingram, he is quick to mention Bosa for his leadership and guidance. The two were members of the same rookie class, so they've formed a unique bond.

"Joey, just talking to him, he helps so much," Landrum said. "He's so (cerebral). Joey is a quiet guy, but anytime he sees you do something he doesn't like, Joey will tell you about it. And I love that about him. He's helping me get so much better. And he doesn't say it in a bad way. He's helping you get better."

All that being said, although he's primed for a key role, Landrum has to go out and earn it. He understands he isn't being handed anything, including a spot on the team, but he's grateful for the chance to prove himself once again.

"I want to get out there and surprise people. I'm excited for the preseason. I'm ready. I didn't play in a preseason game last year, so I haven't played in a game in a year and a half. I'll be nervous, but I'm really excited. This position, if you're not physical, you can't be successful. And (LEO) is good for me because it allows you to play fast and physical. I can just put my hand down and go, and I can't wait."

Chargers Training Camp has kicked off!Click herefor information on attending one of the several open practices between July 28 and August 23. To celebrate football being back, we're giving away two 2018 season tickets!Click hereto enter for your chance to win.

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