Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chargers Spring Report -- Defensive Tackles


With the Chargers 2009 mini-camp just concluded, Chris Ello takes an inside look at how the Bolts stack up position-by-position during football's version of Spring Training.
Sunday: Safeties
Monday: Outside Linebackers
Tuesday: Inside Linebackers
Yesterday: Defensive Ends
Today: Defensive Tackles
Tomorrow: Offensive Line


Jamal Williams, 12th yr., Oklahoma State: If you're looking for reasons why the Charger players voted Williams as the team's Defensive Player of the Year in '08...well, there's about 348 of them. That would be one for each pound that lines up over center each week and becomes an immovable object for enemy offenses.
Valuable, indeed.
And while a season was threatening to come apart around him, Williams stood his ground and had another stellar season (though he fell short of a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl nod).
The nice thing about being huge is that age isn't as much of a factor as it is for, say, players who need to keep their speed. Sure Williams just turned 33 a couple of weeks ago, but it's not like he has gotten any smaller.
Of course, stamina is an issue with the big fella, so it will be important for the Chargers to find somebody to step in from time-to-time. But when he's in there, expect that opposing teams will have trouble finding any running room up the middle.


Ian Scott, 7th yr., Florida: At a mere 302 pounds, Scott is a veteran still looking to find his niche. Drafted by Chicago in the 4th-round of the '03 draft, he had three relatively solid seasons with the Bears from '04 through '06, playing in 43 games and making 96 tackles.
Since then, he has bounced around through the Philadelphia and Carolina organizations before finally landing last season in San Diego, where he played in four games.
If the younger players drafted to take his place don't come through, Scott could wind up sharing some time with Ryon Bingham (see: defensive ends), backing up Williams.


Vaughn Martin, Rookie, Western Ontario: For those wondering why the Bolts would take a flyer on a 23-year-old player with no experience in American Football (and just two years of college ball in Canada) with their 4th-round pick last month, here's the answer: because not even the great Vince Lombardi could teach size.
And this youngster has plenty of it; he's 6-foot, 4-inches tall and weighs in the neighborhood of 330 pounds.
Not only that, but most who have seen Martin play say that it is his athleticism that surprises them the most. In other words, this isn't just a big guy who can't move.
He is, however, a big guy who's going to have a lot to learn if he's going to contribute much this season. There's simply no other way, being as Martin played just one year of high school ball before attending Western Ontario.
Will he be able to learn defense with 11 players on the field rather than the 12 that play in Canada? Will he be able to deal with NFL offensive linemen when all he's ever seen is Canadian collegians?
The answers will come once training camp and the exhibition season get underway. One thing's for sure, though: watching Martin try to make the big jump to the NFL from the Great White North will be interesting to follow.

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