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Mailbag: Mock Drafts, the 2014 Schedule and More

Posted Apr 21, 2014

Tom Telesco's draft strategy, the schedule, mock drafts and more are discussed in Ricky Henne's mailbag.

Q: Love your mock draft trackers. How much stock do you put in mock drafts? – Gavin Wexler

A: Mock drafts are a lot of fun, but I personally don’t put too much stock in them.  What I think they are best for is giving us a general idea of who the top ranked players are, and a general sense around where they could be selected.   You can look at a bunch of mock drafts and figure out what players are consensus picks to go in the top third, middle third and last third of the first round.  But as far as specifically aligning prospects with the team that drafts them, I don’t pay too much attention to that.  Last year not a single mock draft had us selecting D.J Fluker.  I also think I read somewhere that the average for analysts to correctly guess where a player would end up was somewhere around four or five total.  That is, at best, five out of 32.  There are so many variables to account for such as trades, and if one single player goes higher than projected that throws almost every mock draft out of whack.  So while they are certainly fun to read and there is a lot to learn from them, I wouldn’t put too much stock in the exact player at the exact slot. 

Q: Dude why is it taking so long for the schedule to come out?  What games are you looking forward to on it?  I can't wait for the Broncos game at the Q and I am definitely going up to San Fran when we play the 49ers. – Dan Hart

A: The general consensus on why the schedule is taking a bit longer to come out this year than in the past is because the draft is later.  It’s pushed most things back a few weeks, so if that remains the same, we may find out the schedule pretty soon.    We already know who we’re playing so I’m looking forward to the when.  Last year the first thing that jumped out at me was how four of our last five games were at home, and that the last three games were all against the AFC West.  So I’m really curious what other type of irregular planning may be on the slate for 2014.  I’m also anxious to see what primetime games we have on the schedule.  What home stretches do we have?  Will we open up with the late Monday night game for the third year in a row?  What types of back-to-back road trips have the NFL planned for us?  So to me, all of these questions are more interesting than who we play at this point.

Q: What do you think Tom Telesco's draft strategy will be this year? – Anthony Kane

A: This is always a popular question, and I asked Tom himself that question back in February.    Whenever anyone asks me, I always refer back to this quote:

“In the best of both worlds, you have players up on the board that are from positions you want to add to and they are the highest guys on your board.  But I have to tell you, every round is unique and different.  It really is.  And for us, there is no one set philosophy that it is always best player or always need.  We try to marry them up the best we can and see where it goes.  Last year receiver wasn’t a huge need for us but we felt Keenan Allen was the best fit for us so we took him.”

Personally, I agree with this mindset.  You can’t be set in stone one way or the other.  I think being stubborn is the number one way to shoot yourself in the foot come draft day.  You have to be flexible, and having an open mind allows you to come out of a draft with studs such as D.J. Fluker, Manti Te’o and Keenan Allen in the first three rounds like the team did in 2013.

Q: I’m a little embarrassed to say I’m confused about the phases of the offseason program.  Can you break it down into simple terms? – Carl Rondell

A: A few asked about this, and I want to point out that the biggest misconception about the offseason program is that most people think they are regular practices.  They are far from it.  Phase One starts Tuesday and it is led by Strength and Conditioning Coach Kent Johnston.  It is basically a two week program focused on cardio, lifting and rehab to ease the players back into things.  Phase Two which is three weeks long follows Phase One and incorporates some actual on field football action.  Players can get individual instruction during drills and practice as an offense and defense.  Still, there is no live contact or offense vs. defense drills.  Phase Three is the final portion of the program and lasts for a month.  These are the organized team activities, also known as “OTAs”.  Live contact is still not allowed but 7-on-7, 9-on-9 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted. In addition, the Bolts will have a three day minicamp from June 17-19, and this three day stretch contains the types of practices you will usually see in training camp. You can check out this primer on the offseason program for more information

Q: Can’t wait for the season to start.  It feels like the offseason goes on forever.  What does Ricky Henne miss about the season the most? – Hector Simmons

A: What a tough question!  There is so much it is impossible to name just one.  I can’t wait to be on the sideline before the game and hear D.J. Fluker pump up his teammates. Then of course there’s the euphoria in the moments after a win.  There really is nothing like the team celebrating on the sideline, running into the locker room and congratulating each other.   I miss Philip Rivers’ weekly Wednesday press conference and the way he gets so excited talking about the game he loves. I can’t wait to get back to Qualcomm Stadium and hear it rocking like it did down the stretch last season.   I also miss being in the press box during games.   I always sit near Director of Public Relations Bill Johnston, Assistant Director of Public Relations Scott Yoffe, Director of Digital Media Nicoletta Ruhl and Corporate Communications Coordinator Jen Rojas, and while we all respect the professional nature of the press box, I miss the fist bumps we slyly give each other after a big play.  I really can go on and on because there is nothing at all like the NFL season.  Just thinking about all these things is making me more pumped for 2014 season to start!


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