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SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers picked linebacker Denzel Perryman of Miami in the second round of the NFL draft Friday, giving them a prototypical thumper against the run.
In the third round, the Chargers took Texas State cornerback Craig Mager. He was the first Bobcat to play in the East-West Shrine Game and made an impression with scouts by doing well covering bigger receivers. He is 5-foot-11, 190 pounds.
"They're both very physical players," coach Mike McCoy said.
While the Chargers could still use a pass rusher, general manager Tom Telesco said Perryman and Mager "fit the characteristics we're looking for. I think they make us a better football team."
Perryman was the leading or second-leading tackler for the Hurricanes all four years at Miami. He's projected as an inside linebacker in San Diego's 3-4 scheme.
He had 110 tackles last season after recording 108 in 2013. He had two sacks and forced three fumbles last year.
Perryman is only six feet tall and said he's played with a chip on his shoulder because many people consider him undersized.
"With my style of play, with my explosiveness, if we meet in the hole, the running back's going backward," he said. "If I get there, it's not going to be pretty."
The selection of Perryman with the 48th pick overall could be a challenge to inside linebacker Donald Butler, who had a subpar 2014 season after signing a long-term deal.
Perryman was a third-team All-America selection.
"When I first started playing football, my dad always taught me, whatever you touch, knock it down. That's always my mindset."
When Perryman was a sophomore, the Hurricanes lost to Notre Dame, whose star linebacker, Manti Te'o, is entering his third season with the Chargers.
"Watching that guy play in college, I know his game," Perryman said. "He has excelled from that point up to now. It's going to be good playing next to another great linebacker."
Earlier Friday, the Chargers introduced their first-round pick, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
"He has a unique style, ability and talent that I think is a great asset for our offense," Telesco said.
"He's one of those players that whether you see him play live or see him on tape and you're taking notes and describing what you're seeing, a lot of times you write, 'wow' on your sheet and underline it. When you write it down three or four times in a game, it usually means you've got a pretty special player on your hands."
Gordon said he met quarterback Philip Rivers and center Chris Watt, although he forgot Watt's name. "I'm bad with names. I better learn that quick," he said.
Gordon said Rivers told him he was "excited to have me here, excited to get me rolling. We've got a good team on our hands and he's looking forward to seeing what I can do."
Gordon described himself as a slasher.
"I feel like I fit well in this offense," he said.
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