Chargers Update: Bulking Up The D-Line

A large man looks to make a larger impact in 2015

The Chargers start their first rookie mini-camp on Friday in Murphy Canyon. One of the main criticisms of the way the Chargers went about the 2015 NFL Draft is not addressing the interior defensive line.

Sure, they took the massive Darius Philon from Arkansas in the 6th round but he’s still learning how to play the defensive tackle spot after growing up as an end and nobody expects a 6th rounder to come in and have an immediate impact anyway.

The reason general manager Tom Telesco did not feel compelled to reach for a defensive tackle in the Draft could very well be that San Diego already has a young inside lineman in the pipeline ready to go.

Ryan Carrethers was a 5th-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The big defensive tackle from Arkansas State was raw and did not appear in a game until Week 4 against Jacksonville. But when Carrethers started improving, he did it extremely fast.

Before the Draft, Telesco told me Carrethers made the biggest strides of any of the Bolts rookies last year. What’s really encouraging is Ryan made those improvements in only 10 games. Carrethers got his first start in Week 11 against the Raiders and was really coming in to his own when a dislocated elbow ended his season.

In college Carrethers was able to dominate simply because of his size and strength. At 6’1” tall and 330 pounds he just pushed around offensive linemen in the Sun Belt Conference. But the NFL, especially at that position, is a different animal. It’s much more of a technique game. After signing with the Chargers Carrethers worked on hand placement, learning how to separate himself from blockers.

Telesco said Carrethers showed a natural ability to find the ball carrier in college. If he is able to build on what he did last year by shedding more blockers that instinct will be on display on Sundays. With the help of veteran Sean Lissemore pushing him, plus the addition of former Broncos lineman Mitch Unrein offering depth, Ryan Carrethers could be the inside answer nobody outside the organization knew the Chargers had.

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