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Jatavis Brown should thrive in new role on Chargers defense

SAN DIEGO -- As expected, the Los Angeles Chargers were not major players in free agency, choosing to focus on re-signing key players like Melvin Ingram, Jahleel Addae, Kellen Clemens and Damion Square.

The only player they brought in from another team so far has been left tackle Russell Okung, signing him to a four-year, $53 million deal to replace the departed King Dunlap.

However, the Chargers still have needs to fill, including a nickel cornerback, more depth at safety and pass-rusher on defense, and more depth at running back and along the offensive line on offense.

So it will be interesting to see how Chargers general manager Tom Telesco goes about finding those pieces either in free agency or through the draft.

Pro days to watch for this week include USC (Tuesday), UCLA (Wednesday), Michigan (Thursday) and Ohio State (Thursday).

Now, let's get to your questions from this week's mailbag:

@eric_d_williams: As a rookie, Jatavis Brown finished with 79 tackles, 3.5 sacks, six pass break-ups and two forced fumbles in 12 games playing mostly the Mike (middle) inside linebacker position in longtime defensive coordinator John Pagano's 3-4 defensive alignment.

But with Gus Bradley taking over as defensive coordinator, the Chargers will move to a 4-3. Brown will probably move to the Will (weak side) outside linebacker position, and that position change should serve him well.

At 5-11 and 221 pounds with excellent speed and athleticism, Brown's move to outside linebacker allows him to play in space more and serve as a run and chase player in Bradley's scheme, with an ability to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.

It's important for outside backers in Bradley's scheme to not only be sure tacklers in the run game but also possess the speed and intelligence to hold up in coverage.

Telvin Smith played a similar role for Bradley with impressive results last season, finishing with 118 tackles, two interceptions and a sack in 16 games last season.

So the new role should be a good fit for a playmaker like Brown.

@eric_d_williams: As far as the rest of the front seven, the projected starting line would include Joey Bosa at base defensive end, Corey Liuget at 3-technique defensive tackle, Brandon Mebane at nose guard and Melvin Ingram at Leo (weak side) defensive end.

Denzel Perryman would serve as the Mike linebacker and defensive play caller, with Kyle Emanuel at Sam (strong side) outside linebacker and Brown at Will outside linebacker.

One thing that will be different from Bradley is he will not use as many sub packages as Pagano.

The Chargers played five defensive backs at least two thirds of the time under Pagano last season.

But with Bradley running the defense the Chargers probably will be in their base package and rush just four defenders more often because of the team's ability to match up with athletic defenders like Brown, Bosa and Ingram on the field.

And with Bosa and Ingram, the Chargers should be able to create consistent pass rush without blitzing.