The Los Angeles Chargers have a stout pass rush from the defensive end position with both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the roster. But there is room for a player to step up behind them.
Reserve defensive ends for the Chargers include Darius Philon, Chris Landrum, Whitney Richardson, Isaac Rochell and Patrick Afriye. Which one of those names jumped out to you? Maybe Philon, but it’s not like he’s done anything monumental.
My point is, there is an opening at the position and the focus of this article, Albert Havili, will be a candidate to fill that role. However, he’ll be a longshot due to his status as an undrafted rookie.
Havili registered 12 sacks during his time at Eastern Washington University, including seven as a senior, putting him toward the top of the Big Sky Conference rankings in that category.
Coming out of a small school such as EWU will put Havili at even longer odds to make the roster. Located in Cheney, Washington, it’s not necessarily known for churning out NFL stars, though current Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp and Buffalo Bills running back Taiwan Jones are alumni of the school.
Havili was named to the All-Conference second team last season, but likely wasn’t on many team’s draft boards since the competition level the Eagles played against isn’t what you’d consider the cream of the crop.
So, what will be bring to the team this year?
In an interview with Draft Diamonds prior to the draft, Havili compared his game to that of current Philadelphia Eagles and former Seattle Seahawks defensive Michael Bennett. He may be placing some high expectations on himself with that kind of comparison.
But he’s had some accomplishments on the football field, including setting a freshman record with 61 tackles. He had one interception in his college career, but he returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles had a win-loss record of 42-10 during his time at the school.
Havili has put on about 15 pounds since his college career began and is now about 255 pounds. He began his college career at linebacker but after tearing up his knee in his sophomore season, he moved to defensive end.
He shouldn’t be discounted due to the school he came from. Many analysts and fans did that last year with Austin Ekeler and you saw how that worked out.
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I’m not going to discount Havili as he could easily prove to be as good of an option as guys like Landrum and Rochell, but I don’t know if there’s room on this roster for him.
He does offer some pass-rush ability and could be a solid defender against the run, as he racked up 199 tackles during his college career. He may also have the kind of athleticism the team is looking for. He could also find a role on special teams.
Hopefully he can get past the initial reports that he was being picked up by the Seattle Seahawks (who he mentioned in the Draft Diamonds interview was his favorite team) and bring his best game to Los Angeles. Of course, I’m only kidding.
But what isn’t a joke is that there are 90 players currently on the roster, all hungry for a spot. I’m not sure that Havili will be able to show enough to separate himself from the bunch and is likely playing for the hopes of landing a spot on the team’s practice squad.