Chargers bring in lineman with upside

Defensive end has become a certainty on draft day as the Chargers brought in yet another visitor to Murphy Canyon earlier this month.

With no more visits allowed after April 15, word is still trickling in on a number of players who visited the San Diego Chargers.

Utah defensive end Jonathan Fanene (fa-nay-nay) was one of those who were flown in to the Murphy Canyon complex.

A JuCo transfer to Utah, Fanene made his mark in the junior college ranking, honored as a JC Gridwire All-American and first-team All-California JuCo after compiling 14 sacks and 65 tackles in 2001.

He spent 2003 as a reserve on the Utah line and split time in the defensive rotation in 2004, recording 22 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, three sacks and one interception which he returned 76 yards for a touchdown.

Fanene tore his left hamstring during the spring of 2003 and suffered a concussion in October of 2004 that kept him out of one game but all of those injuries have checked out fine.

Seen as an explosive pass rush specialist, Tony Pauline of TFYDraft offered this on Fanene:

"Fanene offers speed and explosion for the next level. A prospective right defensive end who must improve his run-defending skill. Can drop off the line into space and gets depth in coverage."

Although he recorded just three sacks, Fanene was consistently in the backfield, harassing quarterbacks.

He played in the Las Vegas All-American Classic and was a force behind the Utes win in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Pittsburgh.

At 6-foot-3, 290-pounds, Fanene would seem to be an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense, specifically at one of the end spots. The Chargers have a need at that position and while they would like to secure a sure-fired playmaker, taking a flier on Fanene on the second day would not be a surprise.

The Chargers defensive line goes through a lot of rotation in the hands of line coach Wayne Nunnely. Having a pass rush threat in that rotation is a necessity. DeQuincy Scott played in that role a year ago but is thought to be too small to not only provide a rushing presence but be responsible against the run.

Having played at a junior college for two years, Fanene is a player with upside. The right coaching could make him a steal in the draft – and it is a reason why the Chargers brought him in to see if his passion meets his ability on the field.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories