The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is four weeks away.
As the excitement builds (and outside speculation grows), the Chargers will begin to hone in on what they could do with the 21st overall pick.
The Bolts are slated to have their lowest pick since Chargers Head Coach Brandon took over. The Chargers picked Rashawn Slater at No. 13 in 2021 before going with guard Zion Johnson with the 17th pick a year ago.
Speaking at the 2023 Annual League Meeting in Phoenix earlier this week, Staley said he likes the options the Bolts could have at No. 21.
A key factor, Staley noted, is that if four (or more) quarterbacks go in the top half of the first round, that will push strong non-QB prospects down the board.
"This draft, to me, where we're picking is wide open," Staley said. "Certainly with where the quarterbacks are going and how many will go, will certainly push everybody back a little bit.
"Kind of like last year, the board opened up for us at 17. But hopefully we're picking in the late 20s for a long time … [in the] 30s … we just want to board to open up because it creates more options for you," Staley added. "I think this draft, sort of later in the first round or early second round, there will be a lot of good players to draft. I know [Chargers General Manager] Tom [Telesco] and I feel that way about this draft."
Telesco, who spoke to reporters later Monday in Phoenix, agreed with Staley's assessment and gave his own general thoughts on this draft class.
"I know where we are and traditionally where we are, it's a pretty good spot to be, you know if you're not in the Top 15," Telesco said. "But I'd heard a lot of things that this draft wasn't very strong, and to me I see the opposite.
"I've seen a lot of good players that I like," Telesco added. "I think those first 90 [to] 100 picks should be good."
The Chargers currently have three picks in the Top 100 in Nos. 21, 54 and 85.
One way the Bolts could possibly get more picks in that area? By trading back from No. 21 and getting an extra second or third rounder.
Telesco on Monday was asked about his thoughts on trading back in the first round.
"First of all, that's always a thought," Telesco said. "But certainly when you're in that late first [area], it's probably a little bit more of a thought.
"Typically, on average, [there are] 16 to 18 to 19 first-round graded players, so essentially at that point you're taking a player that you at least have graded as a second-round player," Telesco added. "That's all really subjective. If you can trade back a little bit, pick up a pick and still have maybe even the same player or close to the same player, then it's a pretty good deal to do."
And, Telesco said, if a potential trade includes a future pick instead one of this year, that wouldn't be a terrible scenario either.
"No, not necessarily," Telesco said when asked if he would value a pick this year more than a future pick.
The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft begins April 27 at 5 p.m. (PT). Rounds 2 and 3 start April 28 at 4 p.m. (PT) with the final four rounds kicking off Saturday at 9 a.m. (PT).
Click here for the Chargers latest Mock Draft Tracker.
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