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Chargers 90-in-90: LB Emeke Egbule

Egbule is entering his third year where he’ll likely change positions on defense.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

In his second year, he played mainly on special teams once again but saw time on defense due to injuries. Against the Saints in week five, Egbule recorded a career-high three tackles during the team’s Monday Night Football appearance.

Basic Info

Height: 6’2
Weight: 240
College: Houston
Experience: 2
Years with team: 2

Contract Status

“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 2021, Egbule will earn a base salary of $850,000, while carrying a cap hit of $889,091.” - Spotrac.com

The Good

Egbule has always been a bit of a ‘tweener. Coming out of Houston, he said he modeled his game after Von Miller and Luke Kuechly. Both talented defender but they each play a completely different position, only further showing how versatile Egbule strives to be. After not making much progress as an off-ball linebacker, Egbule will look to see if he can carve out a bigger role as a rotational pass-rusher, the role he played more of in 2020 than anything else.

The Bad

In the NFL, you have to be a truly elite player to be successful fulfilling multiple roles. Guys like Derwin James are very rare and when you’re a jack-of-all trades, you’re also a master of none. Egbule is essentially restarting his NFL career in year three and he’ll have to overcome some decent odds to make an impact.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?

Egbule is likely making this final roster due to his versatility and experience at a position that’s light on bodies. Now at edge rusher, only Joey Bosa, Uchenna Nwosu, and Kyler Fackrell currently sit above him. He’ll battle with 2020 UDFA Jessie Lemonier and 2021 fourth-round pick Chris Rumph II for spare reps in the rotation. Worst-case scenario is that he can’t beat anyone out and he’s unfortunately left to find a job elsewhere.