Live from Indy: Chargers Meet with Tight End

The Chargers aren't the only ones who know the true value of Antonio Gates. One promising tight end prospect spoke glowingly of Gates at the Indy Combine, right before meeting with Chargers officials. Is A.J. Smith envisioning a one-two punch at the position?

The Chargers met with Pittsburgh tight end Darrell Strong (6'4", 268 pounds) at the NFL Combine. Strong, who is expected to be a fifth-round pick, is a pass-catching tight end who emulates Antonio Gates.

As a senior, Strong caught 29 passes for 328 yards (11.3-yard average) and three TDs. He was all smiles at the Combine when asked if he would like to play backup for his idol.

"I would love to play with Antonio Gates," he said.

Strong sees many comparisons between himself and the four-time Pro Bowler. Strong believes they are similar in that they can both use their size to snatch the ball from smaller defenders.

Strong is working on his blocking skills to improve his stock before the draft. If he makes it to Chargers camp, then he and Scott Chandler would battle it out for the final place in the tight end rotation.

Strong will not be deterred by the deep group of tight ends in San Diego, but admits he wants a chance to get his hands on the ball. For now, he works towards impressing the Chargers scouts in Indianapolis.

Teams are intrigued by Strong because of his size and ability, but some are turned off by his track record. He suffered a two-game suspension after an "obscene gesture" on the field for which he immediately apologized.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories