Last season, the Chargers picked up local product Eric Bakhtiari (USD) as an undrafted free agent and stashed him on the practice squad. Bakhtiari, known best for his edge-rushing skills after posting 20 sacks as a senior, has the makings of a prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker.
On Wednesday, he showed he is more than a one-trick pony, coming up with a key interception that got his teammates fired up. The Chargers had only six interceptions from linebackers last season, so Bakhtiari's pick was a welcome sight. Of course, he still has a tough road to hoe with Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Larry English, Jyles Tucker and Antwan Applewhite in front of him on the depth chart.
True, English was not there to clog the rotation on Wednesday, as he has yet to sign his rookie contract, but negations are not expected to be protracted.
RB Kestahn Moore
RB Gartrell Johnson put in plenty of work on Wednesday as he looks to take advantage of the absence of the team's veterans. The powerfully built back (5-foot-11, 218 pounds) was kept busy taking handoffs and catching passes from QBs Philip Rivers, Billy Volek and Charlie Whitehurst.
Johnson was the focal point of the offense throughout much of practice, much the same way LaDainian Tomlinson was in years past during full-squad sessions.
"I am a one-cut-and-go type of guy," Johnson told SDBoltReport.com this offseason. "I just lower my pads and pick up tough yards."
Although the Chargers weren't popping pads Wednesday, playing in shorts and helmets, Johnson still showcased his strong leg-drive and low body-lean.
Also lifting a heavy load at running back was RB Kestahn Moore, an undrafted rookie from Florida who spent time with the Denver Broncos earlier this offseason before joining the Chargers last week. The few practices before the full squad reports will be vital to Moore and, on Wednesday, he took advantage.
Malcom in the Middle
One of the odder stretches of the offseason was when WR Malcom Floyd missed the team's post-draft Mini Camp because his agent advised him not to sign the one-year, $1.545 million tender he received as a restricted free agent. Floyd is one of the hardest working players on the team, someone who sets the tone by treating practices like games, so to see him sitting out offseason workouts was bizarre.
Floyd has been back in action for months now, having signed his tender on May 15, and was out there schooling the rookies on Wednesday. Not only did he speak with his play on the field, but he taught the rooks the true meaning of "first on, last off," staying after practice for some pitch-and-catch with second-year WR Gary Banks.
Floyd is looking for a big year, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. He once told SDBoltReport.com that he feels he is a 1,200-yard receiver, and he would love nothing more than to prove it in 2009.
--Marcus McNeill was back at practice Wednesday after returning to action Tuesday. He looked good by all accounts and is eager to play well during a show-me season. McNeill, like Floyd, is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season.
--Merriman looks fired up and appears to be a man on a mission. His mission, apparently, is to prove that nobody will mock a blue Mohawk when the man sporting it is a 6-foot-4, 272-pound beast.
--Undrafted rookie OL Ben Muth injured his finger during practice. The injury did not appear to be serious.
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