"Ahhh!" screamed Stephen Cooper. "My career!" (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With Stephen Cooper's recent injury and likely IR placement, the Chargers are once again in need of some depth at the Inside Linebacker position. Now I know what all of you are thinking, but even though he seems like he can do it all
Wes Welker Bryan Walters wouldn't be as sharp on kick returns if the Chargers moved him to LB. Instead they'll have to go another route.
Currently, there's a fair number of experienced ILBs on the free agent market. If we go back some recent examples of the Chargers dabbling in ILB free agency we might be inclined to say there is a trend. Derek Smith, Kevin Burnett and Takeo Spikes all came to the Chargers with experience in the 3-4. Not only that, but they played under former Chargers coaches. One way to read into that is that some free agents who've had productive years in the NFL (such San Diego St. alum Kirk Morrison) won't seem desirable to the Chargers since they don't have specific experience in their defense. They'll either find somebody that meets their criteria or stay in house using some inexperienced younger and cheaper players. Another way to see it is that this time they'll have to step outside their comfort zone. One more thing to think about is that in it's quite likely that this position will be called upon for goal line duties.
I've listed out the current crop of leftovers on the free agent market. Is there anyone that interests you?
|Lofa Tatupu||28||6-0||250||Probably wants to start, Best position is MLB in 4-3|
|Akin Ayodele||31||6-2||245||3-4 experience (Dal/Mia/Buf), Wade Phillips coached (Dal)|
|Gerald Hayes||30||6-1||246||3-4 experience (Ari)|
|Tavares Gooden||26||6-1||242||3-4 experience (Bal), bad press|
|Brandon Moore||32||6-1||240||3-4 experience (SF/SD), ST guy|
|Corey Mays||27||6-1||245||3-4 experience (KC), ST guy|
|Chase Blackburn||28||6-3||247||ST guy|
|Anthony Waters||27||6-3||238||Drafted by Chargers|
|Matt Wilhelm||30||6-2||245||3-4 experience (SD/SF/GB)|
|Leon Williams||28||6-3||248||3-4 experience (Cle/Dal), Wade Phillips coached (Dal)|