Exclusive Interview! Legedu Naanee, Part II

The Chargers place a high premium on versatility, which explains why the team is so enamored with fifth-round pick Legedu Naanee. Four years ago, Naanee was preparing to play quarterback at Boise State. Now, he is competing for time at wide receiver and tight end, not to mention his responsibilities on special teams. The Chargers envision Naanee fulfilling the role once destined for Ryan Krause.

Legedu Naanee (6-foot-2, 226 pounds) is unlikely to see a lot of playing time in the regular offensive rotation. Instead, he will be utilized in specially designed formations meant to exploit his unique skill set.

He will spend most of his time at receiver, where his size and strength makes him a tough cover for smaller defenders. He will also play some tight end, where his speed gives most linebackers fits. Wide Receivers Coach James Lofton has been preparing Naanee to capitalize on these potential mismatches.

"It's been great working with Coach Lofton," Naanee said. "He's been giving me lots of little pointers. It helps knowing he's been there and done all of this stuff before. He's in the Hall of Fame for a reason, so why wouldn't you listen to him?"

Excellent coaching will be essential if Naanee is to make a significant impact as a rookie. After all, even elite college receivers tend to struggle in their first exposure to the NFL. Not only is Naanee learning to play receiver, but he has to stay up to speed at tight end and on special teams.

"I think it will be better in the long run, because it's allowing me to learn more things," he said. "It's been going pretty good so far. The challenge is just keeping up with all the installments."

If Naanee gets overwhelmed, he has a strong veteran cast to lean on. Eric Parker has been helping him improve as a receiver; Antonio Gates has been showing him the ropes at tight end; and Antonio Cromartie has been helping him with his roles on special teams.

"I'm working on the punt rush team and the kickoff team," Naanee said. "I know that as a rookie, a lot of my contributions will come on special teams."

The more Naanee can do to help the team, the better his chances of sticking around. Although he is perceived as a lock to make the roster, he needs a strong preseason to justify releasing feisty veterans Greg Camarillo and Kelly Griffeth, either of whom could make the team over Naanee.

However, Naanee's combination of raw talent and team-first attitude gives him an edge in his quest for a roster spot.

"The Chargers had a lot of success last year," Naanee said. "I want to help strengthen the team at any spot where they need me."

***Click here to read the first installment of Naanee's interview.

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