D-Lineman's versatility interests Chargers

The San Diego Chargers are looking to improve depth at defensive end. The team is scouting defensive tackle prospects with the size and strength to occupy blockers and stuff the run, while still possessing the quickness to line up outside at end and get after the quarterback. It's a particular breed, but the Chargers may have found a player that meets each of those prerequisites.

Quinn Pitcock (6-foot-3, 301 lbs.) has the frame and athleticism to excel in any scheme. He began his four-year career at Ohio State as a defensive end before sliding inside to tackle and was productive at both spots. His college numbers include 27.5 tackles for a loss, 133 total tackles and 14 sacks, including a career-best eight as a senior.

He was voted a team captain prior to the 2006 season and proved worthy of the honor with his strong performance, helping lead the Buckeyes to the National Championship game that year. At season's end, he was voted first-team All-American and was a finalist for both the Lombardi Trophy and the Lott Award.

"I'm a high-motor, tough S.O.B.," Pitcock said.

Pitcock's blue-collar work ethic was on display during Senior Bowl week, when he impressed scouts with his ability to fire off the ball and get off blocks with counter moves. He also used his hands well and looked powerful at the point of attack.

He did struggle in splitting double-teams and too often allowed linemen to turn his shoulders to the play. However, he continued to get better as the week progressed.

"It was different adjusting to playing all nose (tackle) and to playing tilt. I think scouts saw that I improved each day," Pitcock said.

Although his versatility is his greatest asset, it also presents his greatest challenge. He has been unable to target a particular playing weight, unsure of what may be asked of him by his future team. Also, his lack of a defined position has made it impossible for him to focus on improving any particular aspects of his technique.

"I don't know where I'll fit in with an actual team, whether they'll want me to lose weight and be a three or gain weight and play nose. I'll play wherever," he said.

Fortunately, Pitcock is not a finesse player who is overly reliant on his technique. He is a gritty individual who gets by on effort and intensity as much as anything else. Additionally, he has a high football IQ, meaning his transition into a defensive end role in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme would go smoothly.

General Manager A.J. Smith appreciates players who have a legitimate passion for the game. That is good news for Pitcock, whose love for the game is unbridled and overwhelming. That passion, combined with his notable upside and years of productivity, makes him an ideal candidate to become a Charger on draft day.


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