Heading into Chargers training camp, Uchenna Nwosu was the presumed starting edge defender opposite Joey Bosa. However, the job is not guaranteed for him.
Instead, Nwosu is in the midst of a battle for the spot with Kyler Fackrell, who has been playing with the first-team defense up to this point.
Nwosu has still been rotating in with the 1s, but the coaching staff believes that Fackrell is just as capable to man an expanded role.
Signed this offseason, Fackrell has primarily served as a rotational player in his career, but he has made the most of his opportunities.
Fackrell has 20.5 sacks in five seasons, with his most productive season coming in 2018 when he had 10.5 sacks during his time with the Packers.
Fackrell is long, flexible, savvy with his hands, rangy, and competitive, with the proven skillset as a run defender, pass-rusher and coverage backer.
“I saw a guy in Green Bay who was a sack monster. Then, you turn back and go to New York, and now you have a guy playing in coverage and picking the ball off,” defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said.
His experience and versatility are coveted by the coaches, and they believe he’s going to be a good piece for the defense.
Nwosu, on the other hand, is in the final year of his contract with his eyes set on breaking out after being misused and given limited snaps in former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system.
Despite his snaps being under 40% in 45 career games, Nwosu has still totaled 10 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 59 quarterback pressures and 44 hurries, showing the upside to be a solid starter.
As the Bolts are set to practice in pads for the first time starting on Monday, this will be one of the more monitored position battles the rest of the way out.
“We’re gonna let those guys go and fight it out,” Hill said.
Hill added that no matter who comes out with the starting job, both players are expected to still play often during the season because of the many different packages.
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