Breaking Down San Diego Chargers' 3 Biggest Training Camp Projects
When the San Diego Chargers open training camp in a few short weeks, they'll need to get their biggest projects up to speed before the start of the 2014 season.
The draft produced every one of this year's projects and has done so in years past.
While not every project works out, the ones that do pay dividends. Just look at third-year tight end Ladarius Green, who went from a fourth-round project in 2012 to a rising star in 2013.
Here's this year's group of young players who will get extra attention in camp.
The interior of San Diego's offensive line is aging and injury-prone, which is why O-line coach Joe D'Alessandris is hopeful that Chris Watt can venture outside his comfort zone by learning two new positions.
At right guard, Jeromey Clary is still recovering from offseason surgeries and may not be ready in time for the start of camp. Center could also pose a problem if Nick Hardwick's health is tested early like it was during minicamp.
With that in mind, Watt has already begun taking reps at both positions, and it's vital he develop a good understanding of both. Clary's spot could be available in 2014 and Hardwick's could be next in 2015 when his contract expires.
John Pagano's defense lacked a big body up front last season, which is why drafting Carrethers made a whole lot of sense in the fifth round for San Diego.
The 330-pound Arkansas State product produced 93 tackles last season along with eight tackles for loss. Clearly, he made his presence felt from his nose tackle spot, and the Chargers hope he can have a similar impact in 2014.
The biggest issue for Carrethers at the moment is mental. According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Carrethers was still getting the playbook down in minicamp, and it cost him valuable reps with the first and second teams.
San Diego's mix of pass-rushers is loaded with potential, but the most intriguing is Attaochu.
The second-round pick out of Georgia Tech set a school record for sacks and was so heavily desired by the Chargers that general manager Tom Telesco parted with a fourth-round pick for the linebacker. In camp, Attaochu will have the benefit of working with experienced pros in Dwight Freeney and Jarret Johnson. He'll also cross paths with up-and-coming pass-rusher Melvin Ingram.
Attaochu's first step off the snap is a definite strength in his repertoire, but as Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com noted in his predraft scouting report, Attaochu still has work to do:
Needs to get stronger (opted not to bench at pro-day workout). Gets knocked around at the point of attack. Controlled by larger blockers when they get their hands on him. Still developing pop and violence in his hands. Still learning to incorporate power into his rush (more effortful than powerful). Needs to cultivate his pass-rush arsenal.
These weaknesses will be addressed in camp and help prep Attaochu in time for the start of the regular season.