Chargers take OLB Kyle Emanuel in fifth round of draft

The Chargers stuck to their theme of drafting productive, physical players when they took outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel Saturday in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.

The 6’3, 255-lb Emanuel hails from North Dakota State, where he had a dominant senior season, recording 19.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss. He was selected first-team FCS All-American and Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year and played in 61 games during his four-year college career. Like yesterday’s second and third round picks, Emanuel has also played special teams.

Scouting reports say Emanuel has good hips and a low center of gravity, and plays with strength and quick feet. He can set the edge against the run and accelerate into ball carriers with dominance. Some scouts are concerned with his balance and say he has “average burst” – and it should be mentioned that small schools often come with inflated statistics — however, his motor and skill is good enough that he should show growth under the right NFL coaches. His biggest hurdle may be in making the transition from 4-3 to 3-4, and becoming comfortable dropping back and playing with his hand off the ground.

Emanuel is from a small town in Nebraska that has a Subway and Pizza Hut and that’s about it, he said.

“Things like this just don’t happen here,” he said Saturday after learning he was drafted.

Chargers running back Danny Woodhead will be a familiar face, as Emanuel’s sister’s husband played with Woodhead in college and the two have formed a friendship over the years.

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