Corey Liuget: Size Will Help out San Diego Defense in 2011

Zack VanceContributor IINovember 8, 2016

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Corey Liuget, #18 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Corey Liuget, first-round draft pick out of Illinois, will be donning the electric blue this upcoming season for the San Diego Chargers, who hopes he will help beef up their rush defense.

The Chargers ranked fourth in the NFL at the end of the season in rush defense, allowing 93.8 yards per game. But those statistics don't show how much Darren McFadden and Jamaal Charles hurt them in key AFC West matchups against the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, who ranked No. 1 and No. 2 overall in run offense last season.

Liuget, standing 6' 3" and weighing around 300 lbs, is not a small defensive end to say the least. San Diego is hoping his size will fill up running lanes and allow him to get by offensive lineman to pester the backfield.

Liuget left before his senior season with the Fighting Illini after coming off his best season in 2010. Starting all 13 games with Illinois, Liuget recorded a career-high 63 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

San Diego Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith seems very pleased with drafting Liuget and has high hopes for the young man.

"We’re going to put him at defensive end. He has the ability to slide down if we want him to but we’re going to put him at defensive end. (He’s got) great stamina. (He’s) absolutely physical. (He has a) mean little nasty streak that we like too. Relentless," said Smith about the former Illinois team captain.

The bull-rusher seems very promising, and could be exactly what San Diego needs after defensive ends Jacques Cesaire and Larry English struggled last year in their 3-4 defense. His size, if anything, will benefit the Chargers anytime they are matched up against a larger running back.