Emeke Egbule played sparingly as a rookie with the Chargers after he was picked in the sixth-round of last year’s draft. When he was selected, a lot of us did not know a thing about him. I’m usually well-versed on all draftable prospects and Egbule was just not one of the players I had come across at the time. After a quick rendezvous with Google, I understood immediately why he was a Chargers selection.
But before we get into all of that, let’s get into the history of the Galena Park, Texas native.
Egbule prepped at North Shore High School where was a First-Team All-District tight end. After a standout career, he was only regarded as a two-star recruit coming out of high school. That didn’t stop him from heading to a well-respected program program in Houston and making an impact for the team from his very first year on campus.
As a true freshman, Egbule was mainly a special teams contributor while rotating in sparingly on defense. In his first collegiate campaign, he recorded 11 tackles, one tackle-for-loss, and a single sack with a fumble recovery. As a sophomore, he earned the first five starts of career while playing in all 13 games. He totaled 20 stops, a pass breakup, and fumble returned for his first career touchdown.
His first full season as a starter came in 2017 when he got the nod in all 12 games. He finished with 60 total tackles, a career-high 6.5 tackles-for-loss, a pair of sacks, and another recovered fumble. He started every game in 2018 en route to setting a career-high with 69 tackles, 5.5 for loss, two sacks, his first two interceptions, seven pass breakups (led all AAC linebackers), two forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries with one more being returned for a touchdown.
Emeke Egbule stacked the TE/wing so violently he jacked him back into the RB!! ...TFL pic.twitter.com/4TQ22DFpqC— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 8, 2019
At the 2019 NFL Combine, Egbule showed some above-average athleticism, most notably with his 4.65 forty-yard dash time at 245 pounds. He also posted 20 reps on the bench press, was timed at 4.38 in the short shuttle and 7.38 in the 3-cone, with jumps of 33 inches in the vertical and 9’11 in the broad.
The Chargers eventually took Egbule in the sixth round with the 200th-overall pick. He went on to record just four tackles as a rookie. He saw minimal snaps on defense and played mostly on special teams.
Years with team: 1
“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 2020, Egbule will earn a base salary of $675,000, while carrying a cap hit of $714,091.” - Spotrac.com
Egbule is a bit of a ‘tweener linebacker where he did a bit of everything for the Cougars. After he was drafted, he told media members that he modeled his game after Von Miller and Luke Kuechly. The first for his pass-rushing prowess and the latter for his ability to sniff out plays before they ever happen. At 6’2 and 240 pounds, Egbule looks like he would fit best at the LEO spot but his time at Houston showed more of a OTTO or SAM-type backer who can help set the edge and cover tight ends. He made plays in various positions in college and that showed up in his final collegiate stat line.
As a player who fits best at the SAM spot in the Chargers’ defense, Egbule is already at a disadvantage. With the Bolts playing mostly in nickel and other various sub-packages, the SAM doesn’t see a lot of time on the field. Now add in the fact that he isn’t even the starting SAM and you have a really unfortunate situation for Egbule to try and thrive in. He’s got a good skill set, one that the Chargers obviously like, but will he ever find snaps to show that off? I just don’t see any at this point.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Egbule will certainly make the final roster as a depth piece at linebacker. He will be a reserve SAM backer while also being able to play the LEO spot in a pinch. I think he may end up being the final linebacker kept on this team and his special teams contributions will carry him a good bit should he continue to perform well in that phase of the game. Malik Jefferson will likely be his biggest competition in training camp for a spot on the final roster.