Bolts Talk Xs and Os with Dynamic Pass-rusher

The Chargers are in the market for a pass-rusher to supplement last season's inconsistent efforts. The team identified one prospect at the Senior Bowl before following up with him at the NFL Combine and his Pro Day, even taking the time to talk about a possible transition to the 3-4 defense. Find out more in this exclusive.

As the son of a Navy mom and an Army dad, DE Chris Ellis knows how to take orders. So when the Chargers asked the Virginia Tech product if he'd be willing to switch to the 3-4 scheme, his response was an emphatic "yes, sir."

"San Diego wanted to know if I could stand up and play outside linebacker and rush the quarterback from outside," Ellis said. "I definitely think I can do that."

The Chargers tend to agree. After meeting with Ellis at the Senior Bowl and Combine, San Diego made the trek to Virginia Tech's Pro Day. Also in attendance were the school's 10 other draft-eligible players and countless NFL officials.

Teams looking at Ellis (6'4", 263 pounds) have different agendas. The 4-3 teams are concerned he lacks the strength needed to hold up at the point of attack. The 3-4 teams want to see him add pep to his step by opening up his hips to generate a quicker look at the quarterback.

Ellis is working on all of the above at a camp in Florida. He feels he just needs to stay around the ball to keep up the momentum that will take him to the next level.

The Chargers could be concerned about his past right shoulder surgery, though. He passed all the physical tests at the Combine, but the injury serves as a nagging fly buzzing in the Chargers' ears.

Ellis is a natural defensive end, but he thinks he can bolster any linebacker unit, regardless of scheme. Ellis will have to wait to see if he'll play with his hand on the ground or ready to rush. One thing is for certain: he's ready to test the waters.

"You don't know how cold it is until you put your feet in," he said.

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 Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, Shaun Phillips and others for Sixthman Communications.

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