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Strong Synergy Responsible for Successful 2014 Draft
For the second consecutive year, General Manager Tom Telesco and Head Coach Mike McCoy end the NFL draft confident about the Chargers’ 2014 selections. They credit much of the success to the team’s front office.
“The third day of the draft is big on our scouting department,” said Telesco. “Our scouts did a really great job this year, not just with the reports, but how the board was set up. (Executive Vice President of Football Operations) John Spanos, (Director of Player Personnel) JoJo Wooden and (Director of College Scouting) Kevin Kelly just did an outstanding job with the board.”
As always, McCoy was impressed with the scouting department.
“I think Tom and the personnel department did an outstanding job of lining the board up,” he explained. “It’s a commitment to win and have that burning desire to find the right guys for your organization. And they do it year round.”
The camaraderie between the coaching staff and front office is clear and something the head coach believes was beneficial going into this year’s draft.
“You can see not only how we’ve grown as a football team, but as an organization," McCoy continued. "It's another opportunity for the organization to work together. With the coaches and scouts, we're separate more often than not throughout the entire year. But now we come together as one. There is a common goal here - we're trying to win a world championship."
Without a fourth round selection, the Chargers had to wait until the fifth round to get on the board on the final day of the draft.
In the fifth round, the Chargers went defense once again, selecting defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers of Arkansas State. In the sixth, they took running back Marion Grice out of ASU, and in the seventh round they landed wide receiver Tevin Reese from Baylor.
At 6-1, 337-pounds, Carrethers played nose tackle in a hybrid defense for the Red Wolves. That’s partly why Telesco feels he will be a great addition in Defensive Coordinator John Pagano’s 3-4 defense.
“He’s a true nose tackle,” Telesco said. “He’s built and looks a nose tackle. He’s stout, powerful, and very strong. He has uncommon production for a nose tackle. He had 90-plus tackles and 11TFLs (tackles for loss) at Arkansas State. We think he’s got a real chance here. We look forward to getting him in.”
With a backfield that already contains Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown, the team is hoping that 5-11, 208-pound Grice’s versatility will benefit the Chargers. With a strong stable of backs already in the fold, Telesco believes in having strong depth at the position.
“He’s a very well-rounded back,” Telesco said. “That’s the one thing that jumped out to us. Between running the ball, catching the ball, pass protection and kickoff returns, he can do a lot of different things at 6-0, 210-pounds. He was a touchdown machine and he protects the ball.”
Finally, at 5-9, 170-pounds, Texas native Reese is looking to put his nickname of “sweet feet” to use in San Diego.
“The big thing on him is speed,” Telesco said. “He can really, really run. Not only the timed speed, but when you put the tape on, it takes about one play to see where he is because he just jumps out for how fast he is.”
Next up for the rookies is their minicamp which starts next weekend, but McCoy is glad he gets to have the players through the week before it starts. His plan is to teach them about the culture of the Chargers.
“This week they’re going to learn a little bit about their teammates,” he said. “That’s the one thing I’m going to tell them and make sure they understand. That when they walk in the door they know who Philip Rivers is, they know who Antonio Gates is. These are your teammates. Learn a little bit about them.”
A learning curve is inevitable, but he’s confident the team’s coaching department will get these players up to speed and buy into the system.
“There’s a certain way we do things here and we want to make sure these guys fit the culture of how we want to do things in the organization.”