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Chargers Steal Te'o, Allen on Day 2
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If you ask Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy about second- and third-round picks Manti Te’o and Keenan Allen, they’ll tell you they think they got two first-round worthy players on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Te’o, who was projected to go in the first round by many analysts, fell to the Chargers in the second round after the Bolts swapped spots with the Arizona Cardinals.
So why did Telesco pull the trigger to trade up from the 45thselection to number 38 to grab him?
“Two things,” he explained. “One, we thought we had a void at inside linebacker that was pretty glaring and number two, he’s a first round player for us. He was one of the best college players in America last year and we think he’s going to be a great fit for us. We’re just really, really excited to get him here. He took that Notre Dame program and kind of raised the talent level of the whole program. He was the undisputed leader there. And we saw what they did this year going all of the way to the national championship (game). As a player, as a playmaker: instinctive. We can’t wait to get him on the field.”
Te’o has had a whirlwind few months off the field, but his talents on it are undisputed. He was the runner-up to the Heisman Trophy and won a bevy of college football awards in the process. Overall, the Chargers scouting staff saw Te’o as too good to pass up.
“When you have a guy rated that’s a first-round player at a position we could use a player, to sit and wait and if he goes off a pick before us, there’s no worse feel in the world,” Telesco said. “We thought the value was there as far as giving up that pick to go get him. When you go through this process, you meet hundreds of kids every year, get a chance to spend time with them. He’s one of the finest kids I’ve met. (He) loves football, which is what we’re looking for. Loves to practice, loves to play, loves to watch film. He’s a leader. He was a leader at Notre Dame, not only with the football team, but just on that campus. He fits all of those qualifications for us.”
In the third round, the Chargers selected Allen, a wide receiver from California. After a phenomenal sophomore season, Allen suffered his share of setbacks during his junior year, including injuring his PCL in his left knee, which forced him to miss the final three games of his collegiate career and the NFL Scouting Combine. Still, Telesco and McCoy see Allen as a versatile playmaker that can line up in both the slot and outside. Allen says his knee is at about 90 percent and he expects to be ready for training camp.
“I don’t know if it’s luck or what, but we’re really excited to get a playmaker like him at that spot,” Telesco said of drafting Allen in the third round. “He’s played different positions. He’s played inside in the slot; he’s played outside. He’s (got) NFL-size and strength and quickness. (He’s got) great instincts as a route runner and run-after-catch ability. He led the Pac-12 in the punt returns this year, so we’re going to get a lot of versatility from him too. To get him in that spot like that, it was exciting to say the least.”
Also exciting to say the least; stealing both these players on the second day of the draft.