Go back to the 2015 season finale against the Denver Broncos and you’ll see in the box score a 90-yard touchdown from wide receiver Tyrell Williams. What is forgotten is that Williams went the first 15 games without a catch.
Williams carried the momentum of his 2015 season finale performance into this past year. He played in every game and racked up 1,059 yards on 69 catches. Williams shocked fans across the league with his speed and versatility.
What if I told you the Chargers 2016 fifth-round pick from Akron is this year’s Williams? What if he leads the team in tackles for the second year in a row, and has the most tackles by a Charger since Eric Weddle’s 2014 total of 114? That’s right, linebacker Jatavis Brown will be that guy.
Coming off a rookie season where he played in 12 games, had 79 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, Brown is merely considered a reliable fill-in.
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However, he is more than just a backup. Gus Bradley’s 4-3 defense calls for Brown to start at outside linebacker. Chargers’ 2015 fifth-round pick Kyle Emanuel is accustomed to playing in a 3-4 defense with his hand in the ground, likely giving Brown an edge for the starting role.
Brown, a former safety, is incredibly athletic and has the speed to cover some of the league’s fastest tight ends.
It’s easy for fans to get lost in a defensive unit with this much juice. Yes, the team has last year’s defensive rookie of the year, league leader in interceptions, and the return of a top-tier cornerback.
Those guys are fine and dandy, but Brown will be the standout this season. Don’t be surprised if he lights up the stat sheet with multiple forced fumbles, interceptions and sacks. Not to mention he will lead the team in tackles for a second straight season.