Chargers 1st round draft pick Unpredictable
With the 18th overall pick in the NFL draft, the San Deigo Chargers selected Corey Liuget, defensive tackle out of Illinois. However, this pick have many people wondering what the Chargers are trying to do with this pick seeing that they already have an established defensive tackle in Antonio Garay.
Also seeing that the Chargers use a 3-4 scheme where they have 3 defensive lineman, and four linebackers, it is hard to see Corey Liuget an unproven rookie get the start over an established proven professional player like Antonio Garay, especially when the Chargers just hired a new defensive coordinator.
The one way the San Diego Chargers might use Corey Liuget is as a pass rusher, a defensive end coming off the edge rather than the up the middle. However, even this plan seems to be a bit of a problem. Corey Liuget is not a 5-technique pass rusher. He does not have the 5-technique ability that would allow him to pass rush off the edge, seeing that his whole college career was rushing up the middle. Also, rushing off the edge is a whole different scheme, in the sense that defensive ends have different responsibilities and way of getting to the quarterback as compared to a defensive tackle which stops the run by penetrating and holding the middle.
Liuget however did have a solid combined performance. According to NFL analysts, Liuget ran a 4.97 40 yard dash, a 7.48 3 cone drill and a 4.68 20 yard shuttle. He has decent speed. Liuget also has decent strength in that he did 27 reps on the bench press. He also put up a 27.5 vertical and a 102 broad jump showing his athletic ability, however these numbers aren’t outstanding. They are good numbers.
In many mock drafts, Liuget was considered a good prospect going around the late first round to the early second round in the NFL draft. However, the Chargers picked him a little earlier than most analysts predicted.
In the overall grand scheme of plans for the Chargers, this was a great pick in fortifying more bodies for the defensive line. In case of injuries, either to Antonio Garay or any of the starting defensive line-men, Liuget can come right in and gain some experience. However, with this pick, the Chargers aren’t looking for Liuget to be coming off the sidelines. They probably want him to be a starter from day one, and it is going to be difficult seeing that Liuget will have to learn a new skill set in order to play a different position in defensive end, rather than his natural position defensive tackle which is already filled up.
If anything, Chargers fans might be in for an unpleasant surprise in the future, however with the NFL and the draft, there are always unpredictable success stories and this might just be one of them.
Photo from RMTip21 via Flickr