Chargers Draft Prospectus X

There still is hope that one of the big four falls to the Chargers at spot 15. The Bolts have been active in their scouting, watching game tapes, making notes and preparing the Draft Board. High on that list is a number of defensive players as they look to improve upon a 32nd rank pass defense, and it all starts in the trenches. Look around at Mock Drafts and you may see this player more than anyone else, tabbed to go to San Diego with their first pick.

Johnathan Sullivan is among those at the top of the list. When you talk about big bodies to clog the middle, take on double teams and free the linebackers and defensive ends to make plays, Sullivan is your man. He constantly faced double teams and still was able to collapse the pocket.

In 35 games, and only 23 starts, Sullivan has recorded 154 tackles, 29 stuffs, 9 sacks and 53 quarterback pressures. He also has forced one fumble and recovered two others. Sullivan has been a steady improver along the defensive line for Georgia over the past few seasons, upping his totals in each defensive category.

Johnathan Sullivan
Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 312
Body Fat: 18%
40 Times: 4.92/5.02
Short Shuttle: 4.84
Bench Press (high): 430 pounds
Squat: 520 pounds
Vertical Jump: 30"
Broad Jump: 8' 4"
Bench Press: 24 reps

"Fine prospect with a large amount of upside for the next level. Effective as either a 43 tackle or a two gap lineman. Initially may need time to adjust to the next level but should be a productive starting defender for a long time." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview

Sullivan plays with impressive quickness off the snap, pursuing until the whistle, and is known as an all-out hustler who will give his all for 60 minutes. He has great hand strength, delivering a punishing jab to disengage from the blockers, shows excellent balance and body control turning up-field, and can generate force upon impact and fights pressure continuously on the pass rush. He has explosive short burst needed to collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback.

Sullivan reads and reacts to the plays instantly and has the strength to split double coverage. He is a versatile lineman with experience at both defensive tackle and end.

The two-year starter follows the Bulldogs' recent line of blue-chip down linemen, as he opted to enter the NFL early, where fellow Georgians Marcus Stroud, Charles Grant and Richard Seymour star.

"He's plays big-time football," Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "The people who study the film and watch it know that."

"He's really an outstanding player," defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said. "He's got great savvy to go along with great athletic ability."

"He's a talented guy," says former Bulldog Richard Seymour of the New England Patriots. "He's a guy that's an athlete. There's nothing else I can say about it. He's a playmaker, that's how I look at him. He can do it all. He can stop the run He can pass rush. He's an every down player in my mind. He isn't a guy that you have to pull out on third down. He's a guy like myself that you can just leave in the game and let him go."

Sullivan is a little too aggressive, at times, and can run right past the tackle or get lost behind a block. He relies too much on his natural ability and has to work on adding some technique to his pass rush. Sullivan has tremendous upside with the right coaching.

His durability is a concern since he only started 23 games and the Georgia defense calls for the defensive line to be in a rotation to keep everyone fresh. With his non-stop motor it will be interesting to see if he projects to be the every down lineman Seymour projects.

The Chargers see him as another perfect fit at the defensive tackle spot. Along with Kevin Williams of Oklahoma State, Sullivan ranks high on the wish list among DTs. Sullivan would provide an immediate presence on the inside with Jamal Williams. Although Jason Fisk currently mans the other spot, another wide body such as Sullivan, who can disrupt plays, is necessary to free up the linebackers and defensive ends.

Marty Schottenheimer recently said he is happy with his front seven, but when a player such as Sullivan falls he is too hard to pass up. With the cover-two defense relying so heavily upon pressure from the front four, to make plays in the secondary, the Sullivan selection makes sense.

Special thanks to Tony Pauline who contributed to this report.

Denis Savage can be reached at or via the following link: Denis Savage

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