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Telesco Welcomes Draft Input from Chargers New Coordinators 

FTP 04.24

Below are three takeaways from Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco's annual pre-draft press conference on Monday:

Moore, Ansley impacting draft process

The Chargers have a pair of new coordinators that have been getting in on the action in the lead up to the 2023 NFL Draft.

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco held his annual pre-draft press conference on Monday and hit on a variety of topics throughout, including the draft process with two new coordinators in Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore and Defensive Coordinator Derrick Ansley.

Moore, who joined the Bolts in January, and Ansley, who was elevated to defensive coordinator in February, are both integral to the Chargers draft and how they approach it.

Telesco described what the process has been like with the two new coordinators for this year's draft, as their direct nature has made it easier for the Bolts general manager to talk about possible player fits.

"It's both Kellen [Moore] and [Defensive Coordinator] Derrick [Ansley] ... our new [defensive] coordinator," Telesco said. "Both of those guys, a lot [of input].

"What is great about them is that they are very direct," Telesco added. "There's not a lot of grey area, which makes my job a lot easier, as far as if a player fits, if he doesn't fit, what characteristics they like about him, which characteristics they may not like about a player."

After months of preparation, Day 1 of the draft begins is almost 48 hours away.

The talks with the coaching staff have been good, as the Bolts wait and see how the board will shake up by the time they are on the clock at pick No. 21.

"The conversations have been really good," Telesco said. "Those two coordinators, plus the special teams coordinator [Ryan Ficken], plus the head coach, it's a big part of the process to tie everything in together. Those conversations have been great."

Guyton and WR draft class

The Chargers announced last Monday that they had signed wide receiver Jalen Guyton, adding the speedy receiver back in the position room.

Guyton has played in 38 games for the Bolts in his career and will look to bounce back after suffering a knee injury in Week 3 that cut his 2022 season short. The 25-year-old receiver has been a deep threat throughout his time with the team, and Telesco hopes he can return to form.

"Hopefully, where he was pre-injury," Telesco said. "Jalen has been a really productive vertical threat for us.

"The production has been there, as far as yards per catch. He's a bigger receiver that really runs very well."

Telesco noted that Guyton is still recovering from his injury.

"He's still in his rehab process," Telesco said. "He won't be full-go in OTAs, but as we get closer to training camp, hopefully, he is ready to go when he comes in and, hopefully, he can bring that same element."

In terms of what that means for the approach to the draft, Telesco was straightforward.

"When the season ended last year, we were hoping to bring him back, so nothing changed there," Telesco said.

When asked about this year's receiver draft class, Telesco believes there are a couple of factors as to why a lot come into the NFL ready to play from Day 1.

This draft class specifically is a bit smaller in size than other years, but nonetheless still talented, according to Telesco.

"The receiver group — there are so many receivers that come out of college nowadays," Telesco said. "I think a lot of it has to do with the amount of 7-on-7 work in the summer, the amount of passing that they do at the high school level, the amount of passing they do at the college level. There are a lot more receivers that come into the league ready to play.

"That being said, this group is probably similar to some others," Telesco added. "Maybe not some of the size that other groups have had. There's probably a good amount of — actually corners and receivers that are a little smaller than what you typically have coming into the league — but they have a lot of other characteristics that make up for it. We'll see how it plays out."

A lot of why some come into the league ready to play according to Telesco is because of the route running — something this draft has a lot of.

"I think a lot of the technical skills — there are receivers in this draft that are outstanding route-runners," Telesco said. "A lot of that comes from really good coaching and players being coachable, both at the high school level and the college level."

The draft's unpredictable nature

A given each spring is just how unpredictable the draft is. As sure as one can be about who is going where, it's impossible to be 100 percent certain until the pick is announced.

Telesco explained the challenge of trying to forecast picks before the team selects.

"It's hard. I mean, I try, but if I did a mock draft, there's nothing saying that mine would know more than yours, to be honest with you," Telesco said. "I don't know what other people are going to do. Everyone thinks they do, but I just don't know. Nobody gives out information, so you make educated guesses based on where their roster is, where their depth charts are, the style of players they like, the schemes they play.

"In the end, it's hard to tell," Telesco added. "I still go through the whole process trying to figure it out.

Every year, there is a player or multiple players that may not go as high as people expected and others who may go lower than expected.

With the Chargers being in the bottom third of the first round, it's a bit harder to predict and map out the picks ahead of them.

"Obviously, the farther you're down in the draft, the harder it is to project who is going to be there," Telesco said. "Where we are this year, we'll have to have a bigger pool of players available to us. Then, also account for if you have to trade up or trade down and kind of take it from there.

"I go through the same forecasting to try and figure it out," Telesco added. "It's sometimes a lost cause."

And while the Chargers might not be able to know exactly how things will shake out by the time they are on the clock, it's important to be prepared for whatever situation may come up.

"You try to be prepared for everything. Not necessarily when people fall," Telesco said. "That's where that player was rated on other people's boards. You have to be prepared for everything. You just don't know. There are 32 teams. Their draft boards are all different. It's normal, it's a very subjective process.

"It makes it kind of exciting if you're going to watch the draft. You just don't know what's going to happen," Telesco added. "The biggest part of the draft the last month or so is preparation of what could happen and being prepared for it."

And one of the ways to prepare can be the use of something that has become more prevalent around draft time — mock draft simulators. These simulators have grown in popularity among both draft analysts and fans.

Telesco is also a fan of these simulators and has found some positive use for them, as they can serve as sort of mental exercises in preparation for the draft.

"These mock draft simulators online have been great," Telesco said. "I've probably gone through it 25 or 30 times, just going through different scenarios to see if something could pop up that we're not prepared for."

"I've used a couple of different ones. What I like is they're quick. You can kind of scroll through fast. You can kind of change different settings," Telesco later added. "It's all mental exercises. Obviously, you're making decisions with a clock over your head. You really can't wait until you're on the clock and then start talking to people and decide what you want to do. You kind of have a plan laid out of what could happen and kind of take it from there."

Check out some photos of the Chargers during the second week of the 2023 off-season program at Hoag Performance Center

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