With the 18th pick, in the 2011 NFL draft, the Chargers selected Corey Liuget from the University of Illinois.
Although he played predominantly in a 4-3 defense, A.J. decided that he was our guy with our first round pick last year.
Liuget was very disruptive in college for being a DT at Illinois. Although he was going to have to make an adjustment to DE in a 3-4, I was pleased with the selection of Liuget.
Corey had worn number 93 in college, but he decided that number 94 was the way to go in the pros.
Of course we all know that Castillo wears 93. My son Kayden has a Powder Blue Castillo jersey. Yeah, he is liked a lot in this family.
Liuget said that he wears the number 94 to honor his late father. His father tragically passed in 1994. That, of course, is the same year that the Chargers went to the Superbowl for their one and only appearance.
There are many fans that believe that either him or Vaughn Martin will be replaced by Kendall Reyes sooner rather than later. Although I am very excited to see what Reyes can do, I am happy with both Liuget and Martin as starters.
The same can be said about what fans feel about Castillo forging his way back into the starting lineup.
I’ve been quoted multiple times as saying that, “competition breeds excellence.”
I stand firmly by that opinion. I am also of the opinion that regardless of who the starters are at any of the spots on the defensive line, I just want the best man for the job.
Liuget is primed for a breakout year now that he will have the benefit of a full offseason. All of our 2nd year players must be foaming at the mouth to improve in a controlled setting.
Of course the 2012 rookies need a full offseason as well. I am very excited to see how all of our youth on both sides off the ball contributes to our SuperBowl Championship!
Although Liuget’s stats aren’t off the charts, him being a 3-4 DE doesn’t require monster numbers.
Football novices everywhere have this notion that if a 3-4 DE isn’t putting up big sack numbers then they are not doing their job. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course the more sacks the better, but that is not the primary role of a DE in a 3-4.
The job consists of eating up blockers, holding your ground in the run game, and freeing up the LBs to make plays. While sacks are a plus, they are not the determining factor as to whether or not a DE is performing well.
Liuget started to show a lot of improvement throughout the 2011 season.
The word is that Liuget looks to be in phenomenal shape. Couple that with the fact that we have great depth on the d-line, I am expecting big things from the defense this season.
I just have one question…. are you ready for some football? I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of the entire BoltFamily when answering that question with a resounding YES!
Thanks a lot for reading.
P.S. By the way, I do realize how corny the title is that I used for this article. ?