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What the Chargers are getting in Jatavis Brown

Sep 5, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is tackled by Akron Zips linebacker Jatavis Brown (1) and Zips defensive back Larry Hope (2) during the second quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is tackled by Akron Zips linebacker Jatavis Brown (1) and Zips defensive back Larry Hope (2) during the second quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Diego Chargers might have found a gem in the fifth round of the draft.

They used their pick on Akron linebacker Jatavis Brown. Brown is 5-foot-11, 227 pounds, and a physical freak with the speed and versatility to possibly play safety in today’s pass-happy NFL. Brown was not invited to the NFL combine even though he was the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Defensive Player of the Year in 2015.

Brown was a team captain of the Akron Zips his senior season, and he led the team with 116 tackles. Brown also had 19.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception in 2015. He jumps off the tape and is always around the ball.

Brown did turn heads at his pro day. Unofficially, Brown ran anywhere between 4.42 and 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. Either way, that is an outstanding time for a “linebacker” his size. Brown also had 33 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 35-½ inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-5 inch broad jump.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If Brown was invited to the combine, he would have led several drills among linebackers.

Darron Lee from Ohio State (and now a New York Jet) was first among linebackers at the combine in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.47. Brown would have ranked first with either a 4.42 or 4.45.

B.J. Goodson from Clemson was first among linebackers at the combine in the bench press with 30 repetitions. Brown would have ranked first with 33 repetitions.

Also, Brown’s 35-½ inch vertical jump and 10-foot-5 inch broad jump would have both ranked in the top ten respectively among linebackers.

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Brown will contribute day one on special teams, and he will be a solid role player in 2016. He has the athletic ability to be a special teams star early in his career, while eventually earning reps on passing downs with his ability to drop in coverage as well as rush the passer.

Defensive coordinator John Pagano will most likely see what Brown can do at the safety position, and he might ultimately wind up playing safety for the Chargers down the road. Brown is a better athlete than football player as of today; but with strong coaching, he can become a potential starter in 2017 at linebacker or safety for the San Diego Chargers.

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