Despite challenges that come with conducting the 2020 NFL Draft from one's living room, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said he and his staff "feel pretty good" about their plan, which gets put into action starting this Thursday at No. 6 overall.
Telesco held a Zoom press conference with the media on Friday, detailing how the organization has adjusted to preparing for the draft during a pandemic that has a majority of the country working from home. What initially started as a "challenge," has quickly turned into the new normal.
"Our meeting structure has been different, but we've gone through the same process as far as meeting with the scouts, meeting with the coaches," Telesco said. "We've done that remotely by video conference. It's actually gone very smoothly. That's been fine. The end result is, we feel like — I think everybody does — that we have enough information to make the picks that we need to make."
Telesco credits Chargers Executive Vice President — Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer Jeanne Bonk for making sure the team was prepared to conduct the draft remotely back on March 17. He said his house is equipped with a couple of extra landlines and stronger internet capabilities.
For someone who prefers face-to-face communication, Zoom has been the next best thing for Telesco — as long as the camera is on.
"I do like to see faces when I ask questions to see how they answer," he said. "It's not a substitute for being in the same room, but it's the best that we can get."
On Monday, Telesco said the Chargers will run through an NFL-sponsored mock draft that all 32 teams will participate in. He anticipates adjustments will be made on Tuesday and Wednesday in an effort to be even sharper come Thursday's first round.
Telesco admits that the team doesn't have complete workout numbers on players who didn't participate — or partially participated — in the NFL Scouting Combine. A majority of schools were forced to cancel pro days in March and April, leaving NFL teams with a puzzle piece or two missing from their full evaluations.
But with close to 50 people who are involved in the draft process, Telesco and Co. have already put in the work. There won't be many surprises — especially with picks No. 6 and No. 37.
"We have a lot of really detailed scouts, coaches, doctors, trainers — they're all part of this — security with all this information," Telesco said. "Now, the first round, we've discussed these things out already. There's not a lot of discussion on the clock in the first round and probably not in the second round either. We pick so high in the second round that we'll be able to talk overnight about what our plan is.
"Very rarely are you actually on the clock and you're like, 'Hey, let's talk about what you want to do.' We've had these discussions already. We've already set the board of how we like them. Not only in that position, but how one position could relate to another. How this running back in the fifth round compares to this corner in the fifth round and where we kind of see them. We do all that beforehand."
Like most Americans, the lines between work and family time have been blurred for Telesco. He said he enjoys working from his large dining room table and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with his wife and three children.
As for disclosing whom the team will draft on Thursday, not even family gets a heads up.
"I don't think they know what's going on," he said. "They better not. We kind of keep things close. We don't do our business in public. As of right now, I guess I don't do it in private either."