7 things to know about Attaochu and the Chargers

Want to know more about the San Diego Chargers’ newest pass-rush threat Read further. Draft story here. Myajc version here.
1. In an interview with the Chargers’ website immediately following his selection, Attaochu said all the right things.

On the Chargers’ moving up to get him: “That’s awesome. They’re getting a first-round talent. That is what they can expect. They made a good move.”

On familiarity with the Chargers defense: “I’m very familiar. (Linebackers) Coach (Joe) Barry visited me and we had a good talk. I’ve played in a 3-4 and I’m very familiar with it. I can also play defensive end on third downs like I know they like to do. I fit this system very well.”

On what fans can expect from him: “You’re going to get a hardworking player. A very talented, very intense and emotional player. I guarantee you that is what you will get every single day. I come to work every day and do my job. I’m a leader. I’m going to do all that and more.”

2. ESPN draft expert Steve Muench (via tweet): “Attaochu played with better strength and effort last year. Great bend coming off edge and will help pass rush.”

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock on Attaochu: “Attaochu can play inside or outside or with his hand in the dirt. I love his motor, and he makes plays everywhere.”

San Diego GM Tom Telesco: “His style of play, he’s a relentless pass rusher with a huge motor, but then he combines that with an excellent first step, which is big for pass rushers. You see it on film and then you see it on the measurable. He had a 1.55 10 (-yard dash) time, which for you guys doesn’t mean a whole lot, but for us, those big-time pass rushers, those numbers usually correlate. I think his time was one of the best in the draft.”

3. At outside linebacker, the Chargers have Jarret Johnson, who started nine games and played 11 last year and Dwight Freeney, who is coming back from a torn quadriceps suffered last September. They’re a part of a rotation with Melvin Ingram, Larry English, Thomas Keiser and Tourek Williams, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The website Pro Football Focus projects Ingram and Johnson as starters for 2014, grading both as “adequate” starters. The story on Attaochu in the Union-Tribune speculated that the 2014 season could be the last for Freeney, a longtime star with Indianapolis, and Johnson, opening up a spot for Attaochu in 2015.

4. In order to move up to get Attaochu, the Chargers swapped picks with the Dolphins and gave them their fourth-round pick. Miami used the extra fourth-round pick on Liberty cornerback Walt Aikens. His other connection to Aikens – he was a teammate of Ryan Ayers, who signed with Tech as a part of Attaochu’s 2010 signing class before transferring following his redshirt season in 2011. Ayers was a four-star prospect, in fact. Ayers played two seasons at Liberty but did not play afterwards.

The 49ers ultimately received the 57th pick in an ensuing trade with the Dolphins and took Carlos Hyde, a running back from Ohio State. He was teammates with another former Tech player who transferred – wide receiver Jeff Greene, who transferred to Ohio State following the 2012 season.

Greene redshirted this past season and will be eligible this coming season.

5. Assuming he stays healthy, Attaochu’s first NFL game will be in a Monday night game DATE against Arizona, whose roster includes recently signed running back Jonathan Dwyer.

Speaking of future opponents, Attaochu could be tracking down Georgia’s Aaron Murray for the next several years, continuing a rivalry established when both were freshmen in 2010. Murrray was drafted in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers’ AFC West rivals.

6. Among his new teammates: former Georgia defensive tackle Kwame Geathers, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Freeney. (Former Tech quarterback Ken Whisenhunt is no longer on the staff, having left after last season to become the Tennessee Titans’ head coach.) Having a veteran like Freeney to learn the game from could be invaluable. Freeney is a seven-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2000’s and holds the Indianapolis Colts career record for sacks.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy: “That’s the first thing I told him. I said ‘You’re very fortunate to be able to work with somebody like Dwight Freeney.’ When Dwight came in here last year, from day one up until the last game of the season, he was a true pro. Even before he got hurt, he was always out there trying to help the younger guys. Thomas Keiser, you saw some of the moves that he used during the year that he never had in his arsenal before Dwight got here, but Dwight spent time with him and I think Dwight will do the same thing. Jerry’s really excited for that opportunity.”

7. Expect to see this Telesco quote somewhere in Tech’s promotional materials in the future: “He’s a very sharp individual, as you expect from kids from Georgia Tech.”


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