The Chargers caught many people by surprise when they tabbed Larry English with the No. 16 pick in the first round. English was rated by most as a late-first or early-second-round pick, and the Chargers already had Shaun Phillips and a returning Shawne Merriman to anchor the pass rush.
According to NIU's Jeff Phelps, English landed in a great position in San Diego. Phelps believes he'll benefit from playing with Merriman and will add a dominant, driven force to San Diego's defensive front seven.
Here's what else Phelps told SDBoltReport.com's Michael Kranzler.
Michael Kranzler: Tell me about Larry's work ethic on and off the field.
Jeff Phelps: He's a guy, he works hard at everything he does. Great leader, always the front of the pack with his teammates here. When he spoke, they listened. He led by example. I just really can't say anything bad about him. He's just an outstanding individual. He comes from a good family, a very supportive family, and it just shows in everything he does because he strives for achievement in everything he does.
OLB Larry English
MK: Is there any one play or moment that really sticks out in your mind from his career?
JP: You know, there are so many of them, but I think one that really sticks out the most is we're playing a game and the play goes away [from him], and he's chasing from the backside and he ends up pushing the guy out of bounds. To me, that kind of summarizes who he is, a play that's going in the opposite direction and he feels that he can make any play that's on the field. He's going to hustle to get to the ball, to be around the ball, and any time you pull that up on the video screen you can just see the effort and you can see in the way that he plays that he loves the game of football. That's what every coach is looking for, guys that love the game of football, that love to fly around and have fun. When you watch the film, that's what you see out of Larry.
MK: To what current or former NFL player does he compare most favorably?
JP: That would be hard for me to say. For me, personally, Larry is the first guy that I've been able to coach that's become an NFL player, so it's kind of neat in that sense. But I think that he will do a great job in the system that he's in with Shawne Merriman and being able to play behind him or play with him, learn from him and absorb the information and what it takes to be a great football player in the NFL. I think he'll attach onto those guys and learn from them, and learn pretty quickly. Just his work ethic and his demeanor, I think you can compare him to a lot of different players, and in just the way that he presents himself. But again, I think he's his own self and does a great job.
MK: What will Larry need to work on the most to be successful at the next level?
JP: Obviously, he's going back and being a stand-up guy and being a linebacker, and just like anything else, he'll accept that and whatever role that the Chargers want him to play. And he'll work his tail-end off and he strives for achievement in everything he does. You're not going to get a better player as far as, well, I won't say a better player but you won't get a guy that flies around and loves the game [as much as him]. That's what he brings to the table, and you see it on film all the time, you see it in practice, you see it in games, and those are those intangibles. As a coach I think you really just love just seeing a young man because again, that just lets you know that he's going to give everything that he's got to be successful, to get the win for the organization, and to show himself in a positive light in the community and amongst the team.
MK: How do you think he would be best utilized in the Chargers' defensive scheme?
JP: I don't think that's up for me to discuss. They obviously have done their work and have a plan for him and I think that wherever they place him, he's going to do fine. He's going to do a great job for them because again, the work ethic is there, the want-to is there and the passion and the love of the game are there.