Sep 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) is hit by San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas (93) and outside linebacker Shaun Phillips (95) after throwing the ball out of the endzone during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers players you may not know.....yet.


By Jake Hefner

When the free agency period started back in March, Charger fans had to watch plenty of defensive veterans walk out the door and into the locker room of other teams. Two of those players that signed elsewhere were nose tackles Antonio Garay (Jets) and Abrayu Franklin (Colts). Garay, was a fan favorite for years with his crazy beard and hair styles plugged the hole in the middle for the Chargers defensive line. Franklin was signed as a street free agent last season and quickly became the anchor up front for the defense. Now with both Garay and Franklin long gone, the only veteran nose tackle on the team, is former 5th round pick Cam Thomas. Thomas was a rotational player last season and in the minimal time he got to play he played well.

So with Thomas now penciled in as the starter in the middle, who sits behind him on the depth chart? Who will rotate in to give the mammoth nose tackle a breather?

Unfortunately, the Chargers didn’t address the nose tackle position in this years draft….Or did they?

Undrafted free agents Kwame Geathers from Georgia and Byron Jerideau from South Carolina have more than enough size to fill up the gaps that were left behind. Geathers is not short on a football pedigree and NFL bloodlines. Last name Geathers sound familiar? It should, 4 members of Kwame’s family (father, both brothers and uncle) have played in the NFL. Geathers is impossible to go un-noticed. At 6’5 342lbs, he logged 40 tackles (five for a loss) and 1 sack in 14 starts for Georgia last season. Perhaps Geathers most impressive performance came against Alabama in 2012. Geathers consistently applied pressure, taking on double teams and making tackles in the backfield. Originally slated to be taken in the middle rounds of the draft, Geathers may wind up being a steal.

Another possible undrafted gem that fell to the Chargers came in the form of Bryron Jerideau. The only way you could miss this guy is if he was hiding behind a building. After the seven rounds of the draft had passed, Jerideau had a choice to make between the Texans and the Chargers. He choose to come to San Diego because he believed he had a better opportunity to play. Jerideau is a physical specimen with freakish strength. Given the title as the “strongest game cock ever” Jerideau holds school records at South Carolina for bench press at 500 pounds and a combined 1,455 pounds on bench press, squat and clean lift. In his years as a run eating nose tackle, Jerideau recorded 56 tackles, six sacks and nine tackles for a loss. Jerideau’s college game highlight came against LSU in 2012 where he man handled the offensive line and making multiple tackles in the backfield. Plain and simple if Jerideau wasn’t playing football he would probably be in the “Strongman” competition.

With the Chargers lack of depth at the nose tackle position, it would honestly not surprise me if both of these guys ended up making the final 53. The Chargers could greatly benefit from another mix of fresh bodies on the line with Jerideau and Geathers.

Do you see these guys making noise in training camp?

BOLTSOHARD

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  • tubbs45

    I was surprised we didnt hit the draft up for a nose tackle… But that being said Kwame Geathers in a friggin MOSTER. But I would be surprised if Bryron Jerideau makes the team. Geathers is the less atheletic of the two options…

    Good write-up my man!

    • BlueBoltFan

      Love that photo. It’s football sexy! Damn!

      • http://boltbeat.com/ Ernie Padaon

        like that term…. football sexy

  • joerockt

    I hope that Geathers is the real deal. Not really sold on Baby Zilla at nose.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Both of these guys are just pure AWESOMENESS. They have unmatched strength and size. I bet they both make the roster.

    • shayaaa

      I was thinking the same thing.. During the draft I was hoping for John Jenkins.. then as Jesse Williams fell he looked like a steal. But both these guys coming as undrafted free agents is the ultimate robbery. Anyone know how they have been doing in camp?

      • Gunnar Martin

        Well they say they’ve been doing really, really well. But it’s just OTAs, so you can never really tell. Hope the rumors are true.

    • Pouta

      then why did they go undrafted ?

      • Gunnar Martin

        Well I never said that they were the best football-wise, just in size. Still pretty surprising that neither of them went drafted though, considering that Geathers was projected by many to go in the 5-6 round range. Just glad that they both slipped to us.

  • RussinSactown

    I am feeling a lot better about the nose tackle position with thess guys here. Geathers and Jerideau are both monsters. I can’t see either of them not making the roster.

  • MC Boltman

    Well, on draft day I was “a little” pissed that Telesco didn´t pull the trigger on Star Lotulelei in the first round. He could´ve been used anywhere along the defensive line; 3-4 or 4-3 doesn´t matter. But of course, now that I got to know the “Beast from the Southern-East” D.j. Fluker a bit more, I´m fine with that pick.

    The fact that Tom Telesco did not address the nose tackle position in the draft was more than a head scratcher to me. But at the end of the day it seems that Telesco gets it done…in this case by picking up Kwame Geathers as UDFA. He definitely will make the roster (at least IMO). Great job again Telesco!

    • DougM

      Personally, this is why I DIDN’T want Star Lotulelei in the first round. You can find big dudes to fill the NT spot later. Not saying that both or either of these guys will pan out, but Franklin did last year. With so many other needs, particularly OL, an NT pick at #11 is a luxury, not a need. The Bolts picked up two guys – and already have Cam – that can tie up two OL after the snap. That’s exactly what we need…PLUS we got a top RT with our #11. It worked out fantastically.

      • MC Boltman

        hmm…if great DE/DTs are a luxury, then I wonder why they usually get picked pretty early.

        And in NO way you can compare these guys with Lotulelei – Star could be used ANYWHERE on the line in ANY system – in a hybrid system which we´re gonna establish now in SD, this could be gold! I´m fine with Fluker, we addressed a need, but the better “value pick” would´ve been Star Lotulelei – versatility man! You can´t view Star only as NT! But as I said, in the end, I´m fine with all the pick ups.

        • DougM

          Well, part of it is that I don’t see him being great! ;) I’m a Pac-12 guy. I think he’s overrated. We all have our opinions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-P-Derrick/1654577989 James P Derrick

    Huge MF’rs!!!
    What about the Niners? They lost Crabtree…let’s send Meachem and a few others for some of their stockpiled draft picks for 2014…..

    • RussinSactown

      Meachem for Aldon Smith straight up. Oh, we might need to get them really REALLY drunk first

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I thought the same exact thing. Not sure if there are better options, or other teams trying to dump a WR.

  • Rob Base

    I think Geathers may beat out Mr Cam Smash.

  • BlueBoltFan

    I hope both make the roster and think both have a real chance. Cam is actually a pretty good pass rusher for a NT. These guys are both run-stuffers; complimentary skill sets. And those LSU and Alabama games you mentioned are what sold them both to me. Dead on write-up, Jake.

    And for some perspective, Jerideau is roughly the size of Casey Hampton while Geathers is basically the size of Shaun Rogers. Monsters in the middle. I like it!

  • OP Bolt

    Instead of dreaming about sugar plum fairies at Christmas, my fantasy is the goal line jumbo package with these three guys blowing the offensive line into the backfield, causing a fumble during the hand-off, with Butler scooping it up and going the distance, unmolested !! I’m not sure they can afford to keep 3 NTs on the roster unless one of them doubles as a replacement DE.

  • C.Steele

    Nice article Jake! I have personally been waiting for Cam to get his shot in the starting rotation. He has flashed brilliance when given the oppourtunity. These two guys are enormous no doubt, but if that will translate into effective remains to be seen. I truly hope that at least one does. This could be the makings of a dominating 2-3 headed monster at NT. Go Bolts!!