San Diego Chargers general manager Tom Telesco had sizable shoes to fill going into the 2013 NFL Draft. He was trying to match those of former GM A.J. Smith, who had had some extensive draft day success throughout his career.
Now, heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, Telesco has large shoes to fill once again. But this time, they’re his.
In the previous draft, Telesco struck gold in the first three rounds.
He selected right tackle D.J. Fluker, who helped tremendously in keeping Philip Rivers upright throughout the year (which led to less interceptions and more touchdowns by the quarterback), linebacker Manti Te’o, who had a decent year considering he was injured for much of it, and then stole wide receiver Keenan Allen in the third round, who turned out to be quite the treasure to the offense and special teams.
Telesco had a massively effective rookie draft. And on Thursday, he will try to shine again with his picks, which start at No. 25 overall.
“I think we’re better now than we were last year,” Telesco expressed, according to the Miami Herald. “Certainly we’re not one player away, either. We have a lot of areas to still add.”
There has been numerous debates on what the Chargers will do in the first round. Many disagree on what position they need to spend their first pick on.
But Telesco doesn’t look at it that way.
“You have to be flexible,” the GM explained. “You can’t zero in on one guy or one position.”
Telesco went into last year’s draft with the mentality of not focusing too heavily on what positions the roster said they “needed.” And in that process of not ranking the team’s needs, he drafted Allen, who became the team’s receiving leader.
“If you [rank your needs], you start losing focus and may miss somebody,” he commented. “Last year at this time, if you were ranking our needs heavily, receiver wouldn’t have been real high. Of the whole team, I felt really great about the receiving corps last year. For us, Keenan was too good to pass and then, lo and behold, our two starters get hurt.”
Drafting the best player available is something some general managers believe strongly in. Telesco seems to be one of them. At least to an extent.
Although the Chargers are in desperate need of a quality cornerback, or even nose tackle, the GM may look to use his first pick for another wide receiver.
With Malcom Floyd still unsure of his future after his season-ending neck injury in 2013 and Danario Alexander coming off of his second torn ACL, what seems like a dangerous wide receiver group may still need help.
And with the entire team’s success riding on Rivers, there can never be too many receivers for him to throw game-winning passes to.
“We have a great quarterback,” Telesco said. “So the more guys we can give him that can score touchdowns is something we’re going to look at.”
This will be the first year in the past several where Chargers’ fans won’t have a solid idea of who their team will select in Round 1.
They will tune in come Thursday night to see what new jersey they can purchase for the upcoming year. Their team needs help at many positions, and like their general manager said, any may be addressed come the final seconds of Pick 25.
The 2014 NFL Draft begins May 8 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.
Photo Credit: VAVEL.com.
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