Heading into year three with Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator, we’re all starting to see the team really lean into his unique Cover 3/1 defense. Some have gone as far as to say that this defense is “position-less” since they have so many players that can line up at multiple positions across the field. The best example is obviously safety Derwin James who played just about everywhere you physically can on a football field (defensive line, edge rusher, linebacker, single-high safety, slot corner, etc.) but guys like safety/linebacker Adrian Phillips were outstanding, too.
Hell, there was even a play where they dropped Melvin Ingram all the way back to the single-high spot after the snap during the first bout with the Chiefs.
The selection of Houston’s Emeke Egbule fits right into their new linebacker mold by acquiring a guy who could play off the line of scrimmage just as easy as he could line up next to Joey Bosa and help rush the passer. He’s almost the spitting image of Uchenna Nwosu in terms of what he excels at and now they have two solid guys to play that OTTO position in 2019.
Years with team: 0
“Emeke Egbule signed a 4 year, $2,676,364 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $156,364 signing bonus, $156,364 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $669,091. In 2019, Egbule will earn a base salary of $495,000 and a signing bonus of $156,364, while carrying a cap hit of $534,091 and a dead cap value of $156,364.” - Spotrac.com
Following the live selection of Egbule, Chris Davis and other NFL pundits talked about how the Chargers wanted to get faster at linebacker and they believed this pick was directly inspired by that idea. Egbule wasn’t the fastest (he ran between 4.65 and 4.6) but it’s his game speed that the coaches likely fell in love with.
In his final season with the Cougars, Egbule had a knack for being around the ball at just the right time. His most impressive stat of last season is that he recovered four fumbles, including taking one back to the house.
After the last two seasons and seeing just how integral the team’s day three picks were to the success in 2018, guys like Egbule will be looked upon heavily to potentially play an important role in some facet, whether that’s special teams or some spot duty on defense.
All in all, he’s another capable chess piece for Bradley to move around the board that will allow the defense to do some things they probably have never seen before.
The biggest knocks on Egbule as a prospect prior to the draft were his aggressiveness at the point of attack and his lack instincts. To put it simply, Lance Zierlein went as far as to call them “basic”.
Luckily for him, Egbule isn’t expected to be much of a contributor in 2019 and will likely spend most of his time on special teams and behind guys like Uchenna Nwosu and Jatavis Brown. If anything, Egbule should utilize the wealth of knowledge around him and get the most out of 2019 should he find himself sitting on the sidelines the majority of the time.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019?
I’d say the chances of Egbule making the final 53 in late August are about 60/40 in favor of making the team. That defense loves it’s linebackers (when they’re healthy) and Egbule gives them another guy that can move all over the place. If injuries arise elsewhere, Egbule could be the first guy out if the team needs to sign someone else in a pinch.
Outside of special teams, I also don’t think he has much of an impact in 2019.
Fun Fact: Egbule was actually an All-District tight end at Galena Park High-School in Texas before transitioning to the defensive side of the ball at Houston.
Former Houston linebacker Emeke Egbule emerged as a popular name towards the end of the pre-draft process. I didn’t write an official report on him but after watching his tape, there’s plenty of reasons to be excited for his future with the #Chargers: https://t.co/nKzXTIHszm— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) June 18, 2019