Exclusive Interview! Guard Jeremy Sheffey

Kris Dielman is more than just a dominating left guard; he is a ray of hope for every undrafted free agent. Dielman signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and promptly climbed the ladder from practice squad player to back-up to starter, earning a huge contract along the way. Attempting to follow Dielman's footsteps is Jeremy Sheffey, a blue-collar interior offensive lineman.

Jeremy Sheffey (6-foot-3, 290 pounds) was a four-year starter at West Virginia and helped open running lanes for one of the nation's leading rushing attacks over that period of time. Now, he will attempt to do the same thing in San Diego.

Sheffey never expected to continue his football career in Southern California. In fact, he never heard from the Chargers before or during the draft.

"The Chargers came out of left field," Sheffey said. "I had been talking with the Houston Texans and about five other teams, then the Chargers swooped in and we got a deal done in about five minutes. It wasn't about the money; it was more about the opportunity."

One reason Sheffey likes his odds in San Diego is the type of blockers in front of him -- each of the Chargers' starting interior linemen weighs less than 315 pounds. An undersized scrapper himself, Sheffey feels he fits the mold well.

"I try to be one of the tougher, more aggressive blockers," he said. "I'm not an overly athletic guy, but I'm pretty smart and I do a good job learning the game. A lot of times, that approach helps me get an edge."

Despite his high football IQ, Sheffey still has a lot to learn as he adapts to the pro game. His primary focus has been on improving his pass sets, which he works on between learning the playbook and refining the rest of his techniques.

Fortunately, he has two great mentors to study under.

"I've been working a whole lot with Scott Mruczkowski and Cory Lekkerkerker," Sheffey said. "Scott plays guard and a little center – same as me – and Cory spends a lot of time at guard. Those two have been as instrumental to me as the coaches."

Although he is inarguably an intriguing prospect, Sheffey will be hard pressed to make the active roster. The offensive line has every starter returning, and Roman Oben, Cory Withrow and Mruczkowski are all assured roster spots as well. However, Sheffey remains optimistic.

"My ultimate goal is to start, but I know that as a rookie I'm not going to take over for a Kris Dielman or a Mike Goff. I'd be extremely happy to make the team, whether that is on the active roster or the practice squad."

As a practice squad member, Sheffey would have a chance to learn from a pair of standout offensive line coaches while competing with one of the best teams in the league. Doing so would be taking the first step on the same successful path paved by Dielman a few short years ago.

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