Hagg to Help Defense, Special Teams

The Chargers will be in the market for safety help this offseason, as Eric Weddle and Paul Oliver are set to test the open market. A.J. Smith may find help in the draft in the form of FS Eric Hagg. The Nebraksa star talks with SDBoltReport.com's Michael Lombardo about what he'll do to make an impact on Sundays.

FS Eric Hagg put it all together as a senior. He led Nebraska's defense with five interceptions while also chipping in 49 tackles as part of a unit that ranked in the top five nationally in passing yards allowed.

It was a particularly strong finish to a standout career with the Cornhuskers. After spending his freshman season covering kicks and playing sparingly in sub packages, Hagg cracked the rotation as a sophomore and posted 39 tackles, including five for a loss, as well as a sack and a forced fumble.

His numbers were nearly identical as a junior, only he tacked on two more TFLs, another sack and an interception.

FS Eric Hagg
Eric Francis/Getty
That wire-to-wire productivity and growth earned Hagg an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he showed his wares while competing against the nation's top talents.

"It was awesome to be out there with all the guys," Hagg said. "It was a really good experience to see how everything works. The one thing I was trying to accomplish was to learn how the NFL is and how they want things done so I can meet their standards.

"I also want to improve my footwork."

Helping improve his footwork was Kevin Coyle, the DBs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, who coached the North Team in Mobile, Ala.

The Senior Bowl experience was about more than Hagg staying fast on his feet. He wanted to showcase his best attributes to the hundreds of scouts in attendance.

"I am physical at the line of scrimmage," he said. "I get my hands on receivers in those initial 5 yards. I also think I have pretty good speed, but we will see at the Combine."

The all-star game environment also gave Hagg a chance to brush up on his special-teams skills. He did not get a ton on experience in that area at Nebraska, especially later in his career, but he realizes that is how he will get his foot in the door in the NFL.

"I will play on any special teams they want me to play on and try my hardest," he said. "Back at Nebraska I didn't play on too many. I was on the onside kick team and the hands team."

Hagg's primary role as a rookie will be covering kicks, although he could see some time in defensive sub packages because of his versatility in both man and zone schemes. He is projected as a sixth- or seventh-round selection.

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Michael Lombardo is a member of Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His work has been published by NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.

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