The general consensus around the league and in the media is that Tom Telesco hit a home run orchestrating his first draft as general manager of the San Diego Chargers.
Time will tell just how successful this class turns out, but Telesco knows one thing for sure after finishing the 2013 Draft - he’s mightily impressed with his scouting department.
“What I’ll remember most about this draft is how this group worked so well together,” he said. “As you go through the process there are a couple things you’ll change and tweak, but all-in-all, the scouts and coaches worked so well together. It went as smooth as it could. There are some really great people in this organization. There was a good amount of change that went through this organization in January. Change isn’t easy to go through. It’s a credit to the organization that the people that are here worked so well together.”
What they were able to accomplish was add six players to the roster who figure to improve the all-around talent level of the team.
“We added six players that fit into the parameters of what we’re looking for in a football team,” Telesco said. “Not just how they fit on the field but how they fit intangibles wise. Every guy we drafted we have plans for what we think their role will be. Coming into OTA’s and really training camp, that’s when they start earning snaps basically. Show us what you can do. Show us that you can help us win. All these guys that we drafted, we say to ourselves, ‘When he comes in, this is what he’s going to do for us. We will hand him this role.’ We’re not just taking fliers on players and saying once he gets here we’ll just see how he does. So we’ll find out in training camp who can handle these roles and win jobs.”
All the draft choices are expected to contribute in their own way, but Telesco’s decision to move up to select linebacker Manti Te’o in the second round made the biggest waves in NFL circles. For someone who values the draft tremendously and treasures each pick, the fact that he gave up the team’s fourth round selection speaks volumes about how he regards Te’o.
“It’s always tough giving up a pick,” he said. “But for a guy like him, who can be a dynamic player for us, and the fact that we could secure him if we did it; it was something we felt we had to do. It was a total judgment call. You can sit back and wait and think he may get to you. But it’s hard, especially for a player like him. We felt by doing our research and seeing who was in front of us and who was behind us, the best way to get him was to go up and get him. That’s what we ended up doing.”
While many around the league are quick to call the Bolts one of the big winners of the 2013 NFL Draft, Telesco doesn’t pay that much mind. Instead, he is focused on winning just one thing.
“We just worry about winning on Sundays in the regular season,” he said. “That’s our big thing. We don’t worry about winning the draft or winning free agency or any of that stuff. We just want to win on Sundays, and the way to do that is to draft the best players we can. That was our goal. We’re just trying to get better.”
The Chargers certainly appear to have taken a big step in that direction these past three days.