ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 10: Jeremiah Attaochu #45 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets tackles Josh Oglesby #2 of the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 10, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
In case we haven't said it enough, the Chargers had the 29th-ranked pass defense in the NFL in 2013. In their first two picks on the 104 NFL Draft, they set about fixing that problem with one fairly straightforward philosophy.
"It's not rocket science," said General Manager Tom Telesco. "We've got to get to the quarterback more and we've got to cover people."
The Bolts addressed the latter in the first round with Jason Verrett. They went after the former in the second round on Friday, swapping 2nd-round picks with the Dolphins (in addition to sending Miami this year's 4th round pick) and moving up seven spots to select Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (we're pretty sure that's pronounced "At-Ah-Oh-Choo") with the 50th overall pick.
“He’s a player we had targeted for a long time and actually targeted much higher," said Telesco. "We just felt we had to go get him. He brings a lot of energy to our defense. He’s the all-time leading sacker at Georgia Tech…fifth in ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) history. He plays the style of football we love. He’s relentless. He’s got a big motor. We’re thrilled to get him."
Attaochu was 6th in the nation in 2013 with 12.5 sacks. He actually finished his career in the ACC with more sacks than conference legends Mario Williams and Julius Peppers. Pairing him with 2012's 1st round choice Melvin Ingram could exponentially improve the Chargers' ability to get to the QB.
In the 3rd round the Bolts added an experienced offensive guard, selecting Chris Watt from Notre Dame. Watt was a 3-year starter for the Irish who appeared in 47 total games.
The 6'2", 311-pound Watt was a big part of the reason Notre Dame led the nation in fewest sacks allowed per pass attempt (the Irish only gave up eight sacks the entire season).
"Simply put," said Telesco, "the man he's supposed to block, he gets."
Watt has also dabbled at center in practices, so he has the kind of versatility the Chargers covet in an offensive lineman.
Barring another trade, the Chargers will make three more selections on Saturday in rounds 5, 6 and 7. They would still like to add a wide receiver, a running back, and a defensive lineman.