There were 33 rookies who reported to Chargers Park on Thursday for the beginning of the team’s minicamp.
Also reporting for his first day on the job was the team’s new Director of Player Personnel, JoJo Wooden.
“Today was all about getting situated,” he said. “I was setting the office up the way I had in New York, which I was comfortable with. I met a bunch of new faces; people I’ll be dealing a lot with so I could get used to. It was a long flight out this morning. I spent six hours this morning, but I feel good right now and I’m ready to come back at it tomorrow.”
Wooden is certainly qualified for the position, spending the previous 16 seasons with the New York Jets organization in a wide variety of roles. Most recently, he spent the last six as the team’s assistant director, player personnel. He originally joined the Jets in 1997 and served previously as a pro personnel assistant (1997-98), pro scout (1999-00), senior pro scout/AFC (2001-02), assistant director of pro scouting (2003) and director of pro scouting (2004-06).
During all those years with the Jets, Wooden learned from a number of individuals who he calls mentors.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be around many great people,” he said. “Terry Bradway is the guy I worked with 12 years ago back in New York. Then there’s Mike Tannenbaum, Dick Haley, Scott Pioli, Scott Cohen, John Idzik – you name them all. I’ve been very, very lucky in this business to be surrounded by great people who have helped put me in this position and the opportunity I’m in.”
So what differences will this new position entail compared to previous ones?
“The biggest difference is that I will have a true director’s role,” he said. “I was the assistant director of player personnel where I worked with both the college and scouting departments. But now I’m in a position to oversee both of them, so that will probably be the biggest difference.”
Overall, Wooden is thrilled to join the Chargers franchise and immediately get to work.
“I’m just ready to get going,” he said. “There’s rookie minicamp tomorrow. I’m just excited to get out and see the players. I’ve played against the Chargers in the past few years, and I’m looking forward to learning the roster better. I want to see them out on the field and move around and we’ll go from there.”