Bolts Meet with Tight End in Indy

A.J. Smith stated in his end-of-the-year press conference that the Chargers will not draft a tight end. Was this an honest revelation or an attempt at manipulation? Jaime Cattano reveals a tight end prospect who had a private meeting with Chargers officials at the NFL Combine. Could this agile pass-catcher turn Smith into a liar?

Derek Fine of Kansas stepped aside with the Bolts for a five-minute meeting at the Combine. The Bolts were impressed by Fine's performance in Indy and they saw his impending talent that could be utilized from the ground up.

At 6'2", 256 pounds, Fine showed his nimble and speedy footwork at the Combine. Among the tight ends, Fine finished first in the three-cone drill (6.8 seconds), second in the 20-yard shuttle (4.19 seconds) and third with the most bench-press reps (24). That was enough to make the Bolts take a closer look at this rising prospect.

The Jayhawk ended his senior year with 46 receptions, 394 yards and four TDs. The 46 receptions nearly doubled his output from his first three college seasons.

A three-year starter at Kansas, Fine is a natural leader on and off the field and was elected team captain his senior year. He is ready to get his feet wet at the next level and proved his dedication by temporarily moving to Denver to train for a possible NFL career.

With Antonio Gates holding down the post, Fine could sharpen his skills playing under the four-time Pro Bowler. There is also the possibility that Gates will be limited next year after undergoing off-season toe surgery, and Fine would make for an excellent insurance policy.

Backup tight ends Brandon Manumaleuna and Scott Chandler provide a cushion behind Gates, but Manumaleuna is more blocker than receiver and Chandler remained on the inactive list all of last season.

Fine can run precise routes and is a good receiver, not to mention his flexible upper body control to block defensive ends and linebackers on the run. Accompanied with his swift footwork, enduring strength and lunging speed, the Bolts are optimistic Fine could challenge for time in the tight end rotation.

If Bolts bank on Fine's drive and talent, he could be the missing force ready to assail if Gates goes down again.


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