SAN DIEGO -- A third-round selection in this year’s draft by the San Diego Chargers, cornerback Craig Mager has spent the first four days of training camp getting acclimated to a new system at Chargers Park.
Coming from a smaller Division I program like Texas State, Mager said the shift to a much higher level of competition has taken some getting used to -- from learning a new, more complex playbook to doing more with less reps on the practice field.
"You just have to take advantage of every opportunity you get, because opportunities are slim out here," Mager said. "You just have to make sure you are ready for your opportunity when it comes."
Mager said veteran players like Brandon Flowers have helped make that transition easier.
"He’s been a great mentor to me so far," Mager said about Flowers. "Him and Jason (Verrett), they’ve both kind of taken me under their wing showing me different things, showing me different techniques that will make me successful out here."
During Sunday’s practice Mager showed he can be physical, making a nice hit on receiver Dontrelle Inman at the end of a crossing route to get him out of bounds. But he also was beaten by Keenan Allen for a nice play deep in the red zone.
Working with the second unit, Mager has played both cornerback positions and slot defender, as the Chargers place him all over the field in the secondary to speed up the learning process.
"It’s been pretty tough, because coming from college I never really played inside corner a lot," Mager said. "They’ve been running me at the nickel a little bit. It’s a little different technique in there and stuff like that, but I’m slowly and surely getting it."
Mager said he has one main thing he’s focused on that he’d like to get cleaned up during training camp.
"Definitely technique, and getting my techniques right," Mager said. "Coach (secondary coach Ron Milus) has great techniques that he’s teaching us out here. So I’m just going to continue to work on that and try and perfect my technique, and that will make me a successful cornerback."