Chargers Visit with Small-School DE Prospect

GM Tom Telesco is determined to improve the depth and competition on his defensive line. He took one step in that direction earlier this offseason, signing Mitch Unrein away from the Broncos, and plans to continue those efforts in the NFL Draft. We have learned of a small-school defensive end who has visited -- and impressed -- Chargers officials.

The Chargers visited with Tusculum DE Caushaud Lyons, according to Bo Marchionte of Football Insiders.

Lyons (6’5, 295 lbs.) comes off a monster season in which he led the Pioneers with 89 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and nine sacks. And although that production came at the Div. II level, his combination of athleticism and energy has NFL teams believing he can translate that success to the pros.

There is no questioning Lyons’ physical ability. He holds a school record with a 325-pound clean-and-jerk. He has also benched 475 pounds and squatted 600 pounds.

He kept killing the workouts at his Pro Day last week, running a 4.86 and 4.87 in the 40. He posted a 30.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump. He had a 4.55 short shuttle and 7.51 three-cone drill.

Drafting Lyons would be the third move this offseason to improve San Diego’s defensive line. In addition is picking up Unrein, Telesco also re-signed DE Ricardo Mathews. More competition is a must on the defensive line, as the Chargers got just eight sacks from defensive linemen a season ago, over half of which came from Corey Liuget (4.5). The Chargers were also one of just a half-dozen teams to allow at least 4.5 yards per rushing attempt.

Lyons played in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes at Tusculum, so it would be a smooth transition for him should he land in San Diego’s hybrid defensive scheme. He has prototypical size for a 3-4 defensive end with above-average length and technique. His ability to use his hands to control linemen and shed blocks is one of the things that sets him apart. He also boasts excellent quickness.

The Chargers are not the only team hot on his trail. A total of 22 teams attended his Pro Day, while at least five other franchises will visit with him prior to the NFL Draft.

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Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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