The San Diego Chargers selected former Connecticut Huskies defensive tackle Kendall Reyes in the second-round of last year’s NFL Draft. Reyes played in all 16 games last season which included four starts. He ranked third on San Diego’s roster with 5.5 sacks.
Vaughn Martin started 12 games at left defensive end but is now a member of the Miami Dolphins. Reyes will enter the 2013 season as a starter and will look to build on his success as a rookie.
Antwan Barnes played in 16 games which included five starts and led San Diego with 11 sacks in 2011. Barnes did not start a game in 2012, had three sacks and signed with the New York Jets this offseason. Barnes and Reyes play different positions, but hopefully there is not a decline in Reyes’ play as there was with Barnes last year.
Reyes will start alongside Corey Liuget this season. Liuget ranked second on the roster with seven sacks after an unsuccessful rookie season. Liuget and Reyes could be a dynamic duo for San Diego’s defensive line this year and in future seasons.
There will obviously be higher expectations for the second-year man out of UConn because he was one of the reasons why San Diego ranked 11th in sacks. Reyes’ experience at stopping the run as a DT in college could also come into play in San Diego’s 3-4 defense which features three defensive linemen.
The 23 year-old Reyes will be a part of a young defensive line along with Liuget and DT Cam Thomas, who are 23 and 26 years-old respectively. This is the last year of Thomas’ contract, but he could be brought back. Liuget, Reyes and Thomas could be the present and future defensive line for San Diego.
San Diego added Dwight Freeney this year in free agency, and he could take pressure away from the young linemen. Reyes has a shot at being productive again which San Diego needs in order to be a major factor in putting pressure on quarterbacks in a pass happy league.