Coleman learning, preparing for roster push

The San Diego Chargers attacked their primary needs during the draft, choosing two wide receivers, two inside linebackers, and trading four picks to move up for the safety they were targeting. As for their lesser needs, those went largely ignored. One player hoping to take advantage of that is Andre Coleman, a defensive end from Albany who hopes to break into a thin defensive line rotation.

Andre Coleman (6-foot-3, 294 lbs.) has the size and experience to excel in the Chargers' 3-4 defense. He played in a similar scheme at Albany and feels comfortable with what the defense is asking of him.

"I'm basically used to doing all of this already," Coleman said. "I have experience playing the 5-technique off the edge of the tackle, lining up between the tackle and guard and all of that stuff."

However, schematic familiarity is only one reason he chose San Diego once he hit the undrafted free agent market.

"The Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs were also trying to sign me. There were some other teams that got in the running late, too, but I decided I wanted to go somewhere with nice weather. I've done the cold weather thing for too long up in New York. Plus, it gave me a chance to come home," said the Englewood, Calif. native.

Additionally, Coleman was informed by his agent, Derrick Fox, that his best chance to stick would come in San Diego. After all, the Chargers have a history of uncovering talent in small school settings and a reputation for developing undrafted free agents.

Another benefit is the presence of Defensive Line Coach Wayne Nunnely, the team's longest tenured assistant. Nunnely prefers to use all of his linemen and rotate them frequently, giving Coleman hope that he may see the field as a rookie.

"Coach Nunnely is great," Coleman said. "During that first Mini Camp, I was trying to do too much and was doing everything too fast. He pulled me aside and told me to get my technique down and that everything else would come after that. There are still some things I'm working on, but it's a lot better now."

That is the brand of teaching that Coleman needs, as the tries to make the huge leap from Albany to the NFL.

"It's a huge difference. I can't just strong-arm guys anymore because people are as strong as I am. On this level, you have to rely on your technique. Little things like which hand you put down or the movement of an offensive lineman's shoulder can make all the difference."

It took but a little time for Coleman to discover that he has a lot to learn. That's fine by him, because he has lots of natural talent and just as much room to improve.

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