Chargers Draft Prospectus XIII

The hybrids are getting a lot of play these days. What is a hybrid? A player who can lineup at both safety and cornerback. It seems just weeks before the Draft; this hybrid type player is en vogue in the NFL circles and the San Diego Chargers are interested in most of them, creating their own in Ryan McNeil for starters, but it may not be the last time we hear about it.

Julian Battle is one of these players. He has played both cornerback and safety at Tennessee and at 6-2; 205 pounds can still run a 4.4.

Battle is a Las Angeles Valley Junior College transfer to Tennessee who made an immediate impact on the program the day he stepped on campus. Started 13 games as a senior winning All-Conference honors, totaling 72 tackles, 1 interception, 4 pass defensed, five tackles for a loss and two sacks. Junior totals were 60/2/9/2/0 when he started every game.

Battle is known for his trash talking, even more so than teammate Kelley Washington. During practice at Tennessee, Washington and Battle would go at it.

"I'm talking about hitting him in his mouth, making his nose bleed or something like that, Battle says referring to Washington. "He gets everybody worked up, but nobody can hit him because he has that green jersey on."

Julian Battle
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 205
40 Times: 4.4/4.47
Vertical Jump: 35 ½
Broad Jump: 9' 11"
Bench Press: 14 reps

"Better off as a safety occasionally pulled up to play over the slot receiver. Aggressive nature of his game, coupled with solid cover skills could have him in a starting lineup by the end of his rookie campaign." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview

"I think that's really been the story, hustling every play. If you play 100 percent, you never know how good you can be. It's been my main thing to try and hustle."

"I'm living testimony that if you practice hard, you're going to play well."

Battle is tall, with long arms has good instincts, is smooth in his backpedal, planting and driving efficiently and quickly locates the ball. He has excellent wide range zone coverage ability, showing the fluid movement needed to cover in the deep level. He has no problems mirroring the tight ends in the short area, using his hands effectively to press.

Battle can turn and trail receivers down the sidelines with his acceleration, does not waste any steps in his transition out of his backpedal and on breaks and is a natural athlete who will challenge receivers going for the ball at its highest point.

Battle reads, recognizes and reacts to the play instantly, showing a good feel for turning and locating the ball. He is also more than willing to get into the action at the line, supporting the run. Battle is a former receiver with natural hands for the interception. He will face up, wrap and tackle with power. Two-year starter who has experience at both cornerback positions, in addition to strong safety.

The Chargers are looking to upgrade the secondary, which goes without saying. The benefit they see in the dual role players is they can fit them in where they see fit.

If anything has become obvious from this offseason, Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer will move his players around on defense. Ryan McNeil has temporarily moved to a safety spot. Rogers Beckett has switched safety positions. The linebackers will play musical chairs.

Julian Battle would fit that role, while some believe he will play corner in the Pros, the Chargers feel he should stay at safety and learn the nuances of reading the quarterback with his face forward. Then he will be able to play the slot receiver when he needs to move up, as he will still maintain eyes on the quarterback on most nickel routes. Round two is a stretch for how much the Bolts like Battle, but if he falls, which is a distinct possibility, he would look scrumptious in round three and the Bolts will snap him up.

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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