We’re 12 days away from training camp, so now it’s time for our 12th bold prediction for the San Diego Chargers.
Bold Prediction No. 12: Jeremiah Attaochu will get his first 10-sack season
I don’t know which is more dangerous: the “Freight Train” (for all my It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia fans) or the “Chu Chu Train”?
A 2014 second-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Jeremiah Attaochu has developed into an above-average outside linebacker. Last season, Attaochu finished with a career-high six sacks. He also racked up 55 total tackles, good for sixth on the team.
Even though Attaochu and Melvin Ingram (10.5 sacks) played well in 2015, San Diego finished as the 28th-worst pass-rushing team, per Pro Football Focus. Dropping Ingram in coverage 24 percent of the time wasn’t the best of ideas, but that argument is for a different day.
As for Attaochu, not only did he grade positively as a pass rusher, but he ranked as a top-25 run defender among edge players, too, per PFF. And guess what? He was one of the few Chargers that could tackle. Attaochu’s 15 tackles for loss tied for 12th-most in the NFL.
What’s more impressive is that Attaochu did his damage on just 668 snaps (67 percent). In comparison, Ingram (65 total tackes) played 961 defensive snaps (96 percent).
Everybody’s talking about Ingram this offseason, but Attaochu has been sneaking under the radar. With a revamped defensive line (Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane and a healthy Corey Liuget), I see Attaochu getting into the backfield even more. Even though Kyle Emanuel and Tourek Williams will take away some of his snaps, Attaochu has the speed and moves to be one of the best pass rushers in the game.
Unfortunately, Attaochu hasn’t played a full 16-game season yet. As long as he stays healthy, reaching 10 sacks shouldn’t be too hard for the third-year player, especially if his primary role is rushing the passer.