Senior Bowl: Chargers Fish for New Line

The Chargers spent day two in Alabama rounding up defensive linemen for interviews. Despite casting out their second-round pick for Chris Chambers, the Chargers are eyeballing some top-tier talent. Michael Lombardo reports from Mobile, Ala., that the Chargers spoke with several top prospects as they aim to hook a deeper front three.

San Diego finished its playoff scamper as the third-worst run defense in the postseason, allowing 104 yards per game. The defensive line has good depth, but Jamal Williams is on the wrong side of 30 and Igor Olshansky has one year left on his contract. The other starter, Luis Castillo, missed 12 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

The Chargers interviewed Purdue DE Cliff Avril before practice on Monday. Avril is a defensive end-linebacker 'tweener and could play some outside linebacker in San Diego's 3-4 scheme.

Avril has a knack for getting to the quarterback and knows what to do once he's there; he led the Boilermakers with four forced fumbles as a senior, thanks in large part to his effective sack-strip tomahawk.

"I'm a hard-working player, a guy that's willing to do anything for the team," Avril said. "I'm going to go out there and have fun because it's a game, but at the same time I'll go out there and make plays."

San Diego also spent time with DeMario Pressley (NC State), who would bring an impressive punch to this year's camp. Pressley (6'4", 295 pounds) is an effective run-stuffer with the quickness to get to the quarterback -- something Jamal Williams failed to do in 2007. Pressley is expected to hear his name called in the fourth round.

"I'm a versatile player who can play defensive end and defensive tackle, and maybe even some nose guard if I add a little weight" Pressley said.

Higher up the list is Chris Ellis, whose 4.5-second speed makes him one of the quickest defensive ends in the draft. Ellis has the speed that most defensive ends lack. The Virginia Tech product met with the Chargers on Monday morning. The Chargers would consider him at the bottom of round three, should he fall that far.

"I'm willing to do anything for my team," Ellis said. "I stay around the ball, whether it's special teams or defense...anything to help." Keep checking back for more Senior Bowl coverage, as Michael Lombardo is in Alabama tracking all of the Chargers' draft interests.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro-Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, Shaun Phillips and others for Sixthman Communications.


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