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Bolts in Midst of Crucial Week with Free Agency and Combine Looming

With the Los Angeles Chargers picking seventh in the 2017 NFL Draft, here are the 25 most recent players selected with the number seven overall pick.

For many fans, the Scouting Combine is the official kickoff for draft season.

However, in NFL front offices, it signals a finish line rapidly approaching for what is a grueling, 12-month process leading up to the draft.

When the football world descends upon Indianapolis next week for the Combine, all 32 teams look to put the finishing touches on their draft boards, confirming what they've seen on tape and with their own two eyes during the college football season.

The entire Los Angeles Chargers scouting department will be in closed-door meetings all week as they analyze hundreds, if not thousands, of prospects ahead of the Combine.  Only three or four times all year does every Charger scout from around the country convene together in the same place.

Although not giving much besides a sideways glance when asked what goes on inside those meetings, General Manager Tom Telesco and President of Football Operations John Spanos still explained the role the meetings in conjunction with the Combine play in the draft process.

For Telesco, there is nothing like seeing one of his scouts passionately go to bat for a prospect he strongly believes in.

"All our scouts come in, and we do some heavy draft meetings," he said.  "We talk about what guys did in the fall, and I love it.  It's one thing to read reports on players, but it's another to hear it from the scout. You can see how strong his convictions are.  You see how demonstrative he is in explaining a player, or maybe how unenthusiastic he may be.  A big part of it is seeing how the scout puts together his case.  I used to love doing it when I was a college scout (with the Colts).  The hardest part would be when you don't have a player, and you'd have to wait and listen.  It's like when you're a player.  I wanted to get in there and give my opinion!"

As if those draft meetings weren't enough, the Bolts are simultaneously hard at work preparing for free agency as well.  In the past, teams had a full week after the Combine to put the finishing touches on their free agency plan.  This year, with the Combine kicking off later than usual, teams only have 48 hours after leaving Lucas Oil Stadium until they can begin talking with agents for all available players.

Thus, when not evaluating prospects, the Chargers are getting their ducks in a row for the annual free agency frenzy.

"In prior years, when we had more time after the Combine (before free agency started), we would say once we get back to the offices we will have time to do X, Y and Z," Spanos explained. "Now, we have to do X, Y and Z this week as well because we don't really have any time once we get back. So we have to go into the Combine very prepared for free agency. The things we'd normally do after the Combine we're making sure to get done now."

So will the looming free agency period change the way the Bolts operate at the Combine?

"I guess we'll find out when we get there," Telesco said. "It does change things because the day or two after we get back from Indianapolis, the free agency window begins where we can talk to agents.  Really, it means we have to do more work before we leave for the Combine so we can go right into it.  At the Combine, the only thing we can do is talk to our own players.  We will probably have to meet internally on some free agency aspects as well.  But the thing about the Combine is we are with each other for 15 hours straight each day.  So, we'll have plenty of time to talk about things we'll need to discuss."

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