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Chargers need Chris Landrum to be this year’s Chris McCain

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins avoids the tackle of Chris Landrum #46 of the San Diego Chargers during the second half of a game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Jay Ajayi #23 of the Miami Dolphins avoids the tackle of Chris Landrum #46 of the San Diego Chargers during the second half of a game at Qualcomm Stadium on November 13, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Chargers need another pass-rush specialist behind Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Can Chris Landrum be that guy?

Having multiple pass rushers is key for any defense.

The Chargers have the top pass-rushing tandem in the league with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, but they are missing a player who can back them up and rush the passer when called upon.

Chris McCain was that guy. The 2014 undrafted free agent out of Cal bounced from team to team before being signed to the Chargers’ practice squad in November 2016. He didn’t see any action for the Chargers that season. However, after standing out in the 2017 preseason, McCain made the initial 53-man roster and went on to play in a career-high 15 games. He finished with 20 combined tackles and five sacks, third-most on the team, as well as forced two fumbles.

McCain is no longer on the team after his RFA tender was rescinded. McCain, who ended up signing a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, is currently dealing with a serious off-the-field issue .

But with McCain’s departure, the Chargers lack depth at the LEO defensive end position. Ingram is a stud, but studs need their break every now and then.

Who will step up? Well, someone is already making some noise–and that’s Chris Landrum.

Many may not know who Landrum is. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder played defensive end at Jacksonville State, racking up 64 tackles, including 19 for loss, and 8.5 sacks in his final year there (2015). Overall, he set school records for career TFLs (39.5) and sacks (16).

Like McCain, Landrum was an undrafted free agent, signing with the Chargers in 2016. He opened up his rookie year on the Chargers’ practice squad but appeared in 10 games for them. He had four combined tackles and one sack in limited snaps.

The following year, Landrum’s fight to make the 53-man roster ended abruptly after he sufferered a season-ending shoulder injury in training camp. He was waived but landed on the team’s injured reserve after going unclaimed off waivers. It was McCain who ended up taking the backup job and flourishing.

But the 25-year-old Landrum is fully healthy and ready to be that guy. Chargers.com’s Ricky Henne says the team has high hopes for him. Landrum also told Henne he is itching to get on the field.

“I want to get out there and surprise people. I’m excited for the preseason. I’m ready. I didn’t play in a preseason game last year, so I haven’t played in a game in a year and a half. I’ll be nervous, but I’m really excited. This position, if you’re not physical, you can’t be successful. And (LEO) is good for me because it allows you to play fast and physical. I can just put my hand down and go, and I can’t wait.” 

And according to ESPN’s Eric Williams, Landrum is already standing out in training camp. It definitely helps when you have Ingram and Bosa giving you advice.

I’m excited to see how Landrum performs in the preseason. Like what McCain did last season, I think Landrum will go out there and surprise people.

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