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How Tuli Tuipulotu Fits Into the Chargers Defense

Tuli analysis

Tuli Tuipulotu loves wreaking havoc in Southern California.

The Chargers selected the USC edge rusher in the second round (No. 54 overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft on Friday.

Tuipulotu went to Lawndale High School in Lawndale before heading to the Trojans. He's not going far now that the Bolts have added him to their roster.

On paper, the Chargers still have one of the best 1-2 punches in terms of edge rushers in Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.

But the plan of seeing those two dominate on Sundays never really came to fruition last season due to Bosa's injury.

Think of Tuipulotu as extra insurance in case something happens to Mack or Bosa this year, too.

And don't be surprised if Tuipulotu carves out a role for himself as a situational pass rusher as a rookie.

He was downright dominant at USC last year as a unanimous All-American who was also the 2022 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

There was good reason for all the accolades.

Tuipulotu led the nation with 13.5 sacks and finished second with 22 total tackles for loss in 2022. He added three passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

All of that is to say that Tuipulotu knows how to produce when he's on the field.

Much like the Chargers selection of Quentin Johnston on Thursday, Tuipulotu won't need to be a starter right away.

He can learn from Mack and Bosa, as well as outside linebackers coach Giff Smith, all of whom know a thing or two about elite pass rushing and stopping the run.

If Tuipulotu is given time to learn and grow, there's no reason to think he can't be a long-term threat off the edge for the Bolts.

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