Insider Scouting Report: Donald Strickland

The San Diego Chargers locked in a two-year deal with CB Donald Strickland on Friday. To learn more about the team's newest defender, we check in with Jets Confidential publisher Dan Leberfeld.

After years of targeting tall cornerbacks who thrive in man coverage, A.J. Smith has seemingly reversed course and opened he door for undersized corners who work best in zone defenses.

The first move in that direction came in October, when San Diego signed 5-foot-10, 190-pound corner Dante Hughes. Like Donald Strickland, Hughes entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts, who were playing Cover-2 defense at the time.

Now comes Strickland, another 5-foot-10 corner who performs better with his eyes in the backfield. Strickland will compete with Hughes for playing time in the nickel and dime packages while also contributing on special teams.

For more on Strickland, we turn things over to Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential.

"Strickland is a good nickel or dime back. He's a real smart guy. One of those guys you know will do well when football is over.

"His problem in Indianapolis, San Francisco and New York was in the inability to stay healthy. His groin injury early in the AFC Championship against the Colts was devastating to the Jets and contributed a great deal to the loss. He was a big part of the game plan and the Colts picked on the players they replaced him with.

"I believe he needed surgery after the season for that groin tear. He also might have needed surgery for a finger injury.

"The bottom line with Donald is he needs to stay healthy. If he can finally do that in 2010, this was a good signing for the Chargers.

"He's a solid, instinctive player -- a good guy to have on a team. I will add he's very willing against the run for a guy his size and this is what sometimes gets him trouble. He forgets his size when he's tackling bigger players."



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