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Looking For A Stephen Cooper Replacement

"Ahhh!" screamed Stephen Cooper. "My career!" (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
"Ahhh!" screamed Stephen Cooper. "My career!" (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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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?

Player Age Height Weight Notes
Lofa Tatupu 28 6-0 250 Probably wants to start, Best position is MLB in 4-3
Kirk Morrison 29 6-2 240
Akin Ayodele 31 6-2 245 3-4 experience (Dal/Mia/Buf), Wade Phillips coached (Dal)
Dhani Jones 33 6-1 236
Kevin Bentley 31 6-0 248
Gerald Hayes 30 6-1 246 3-4 experience (Ari)
Marvin Mitchell 26 6-3 249
Tavares Gooden 26 6-1 242 3-4 experience (Bal), bad press
Hunter Hillenmeyer 31 6-4 238
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
Vinny Ciurciu 31 6-0 240
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)