CB DeJuan Tribble (D. Heyward-Bey/Getty)
As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Apparently, it also takes two to satisfy A.J. Smith. After drafting a pair of running backs on day two, Smith used his sixth-round selection to draft a second cornerback, Boston College's DeJuan Tribble. Tribble is an undersized ballhawk who will compete with Cletis Gordon for a spot on the backend of the roster.
The Chargers will add DeJuan Tribble to a suddenly crowded mix at cornerback, where he will compete with Paul Oliver and Cletis Gordon for a spot in the dime package. If Tribble has a solid showing, it could allow San Diego to move Olver to free safety.
Tribble comes off an outstanding career at Boston College where, like Antoine Cason, he gained experience against top competition by playing for the last four seasons. During that span, Tribble piled up 170 tackles, 22 pass breakups and 15 interceptions.
"Confidence definitely comes from myself within," Tribble said. "I've been a pretty confident player growing up. As a corner you've got to be pretty confident to go out there and play the game of football, so it's the mentality that I've always had being confident as a player."
That confidence stems from playing in a very successful Boston College program. Last season, the Eagles finished 11-3 and ranked in the top-10 nationally.
BC quarterback Matt Ryan was selected No. 3 overall in this year's draft.
"I feel like playing against Matt every day in practice made me a better player," Tribble said.
For Tribble, size has been his biggest issue. At 5'9", 189 pounds, he is undersized for an NFL cornerback. However, he feels his vertical leap helps him offset his small stature.
"Well, you've got to be able to jump and have a good vertical to be able to get up pretty good with some of the taller receivers," he said. "And you have to be more physical game, just going out there to be compete."
Tribble insists he plays bigger than his measured size. Regardless, he will need to be protected in a zone scheme while he improves his man-to-man skills. That won't be a problem in San Diego, as the Chargers play a lot of zone in obvious passing situations, which is the only time Tribble would play on defense.
In the meanwhile, he will work on special teams and soak up the knowledge of secondary coaches Bill Bradley and Kevin Ross, who transformed San Diego's secondary into one of the best in the league in their first year with the club.